Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speaking about Austria

In my previous post I jokingly mentioned that we shouldn't be surprised if Austria follows the Swiss lead on banning the minarets. I don't claim to know much about Austria, but it turns out I wasn't exactly wrong here. Farid Hafez has an article (Google English translation) in Austrian Der Standard on 30. Nov which argues, very reasonably, that the Swiss ban is only a manifestation of a much more serious phenomenon of widespread paneuropean islamophobia. He also mentions that whereas in Switzerland it looks like an absurd paradox, a very controversial decision with no unified majority behind it, in Austria the support for such hypothetical measures has much more of a consensus behind it. An in fact, an Austrian land has approved exactly such a ban a minarets, although more covertly, two years ago in 2007:

In fact, Austria was the first country where such a ban was implemented. While a resolution of the FPÖ in the first half of 2007 was soundly defeated in the National Assembly still took advantage of the Carinthian governor a chance, a mosque and minarets of launching. Such however, could not use the votes of his own party alone prevail. Thus, the Austrian People's Party agreed with Carinthia.
But what's even more worrying is true is the fact that a party of the "center" in another state, this law still half a year earlier decided. While in Carinthia, the law on 18 December was implemented in 2008, was in Vorarlberg ÖVP under a majority, 20 June 2008, the first mosque in Europe and Minarettbauverbot blessing. All these laws were in Austrian style of course less clear and direct than in Switzerland (change of Ortsbildpflege Act and the Building and Regional Planning Act formulated). It turns out that even in this part of the political elite of the "middle" such a ban is supported. A consensus of the parties, churches and civil society against such a ban in Switzerland can not be found. On the contrary, the Feldkircher diocesan bishop at that time supported such a mosque and Minarettbauverbot. Even members of the Federal Government appropriate arguments were heard.
Sorry about the automatic translation -- maybe Greg can provide a better one.

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