Austria politician gets threats for anti-Islam rant

Such people should be killed, says mass email


A far-right Austrian politician has received death threats from an Islamic group after she made several inflammatory remarks about Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the interior ministry said Tuesday.

The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) sent e-mails to several media outlets in which it called for the death of Susanne Winter, after she denounced the prophet and Muslim men in general as "child molesters", ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told AFP.

"We take any such threats very seriously," Gollia said, adding that Winter had been offered personal protection in the wake of the threats.

The Austrian news agency APA quoted GIMF as saying on its website that it would issue a statement "within the next few days" responding to the remarks made by Winter, a little-known politician of the populist far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

GIMF also criticized the Austrian Islamic community's integration spokesman Omar Al-Rawi for being too soft on Winter after he described the FPO's "Islam-bashing ... (as) nauseating".

GIMF was quoted as saying that Al-Rawi's "duty as a representative of Muslims should have been to declare the Islamic judgment on people like Susanne Winter, namely that such people should be killed".

YouTube threat

Meanwhile, APA news agency said GIMF had denied authorship of a YouTube video containing an unspecified threat against Austria and Winter, who is the far-right party's candidate for the upcoming municipal elections in the southern city of Graz.

The video showed pictures of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, and warned: "Look, Susanne, something like this could happen to your country and you are responsible."

"It was a mistake for you to take on ... Allah's warriors," the video said in German. "We, the Muslims, are those warriors with whom you now have a problem."

And it continued: "This video is not only for Susanne Winter but for all infidels who have no respect for Allah and for Islam. The day will come when you will be punished."

The video ended with the words "Made by Bilal and Jasko."

Hate crime?

Winter, hitherto little-known outside Graz, made national headlines for her comments on Sunday, which provoked outrage among politicians, Muslims and church leaders nationwide.

She had described Muhammad as a "child molester" who wrote the Quran "during epileptic fits".

In a separate interview with the tabloid daily Oesterreich on Monday, Winter continued her tirade, speaking of a "tsunami of Muslim immigration" that threatened to engulf Western Europe.

And she alleged that "child abuse by Islamic men is widespread."

The comments are currently being investigated by public prosecutors to ascertain whether they constitute incitement to racial hatred, a crime punishable with up to two years in prison in Austria.

A spokeswoman for the Islamic community's religious organization, IGGIO, Carla Amina Baghajati, told AFP that it had now filed a suit against Winter for making comments that "debased and mocked religious teachings".

"Not only we, but also a number of private individuals have filed complaints," she told AFP.