Additional measures taken in Austria to protect synagogues and other Jewish institutions – European Jewish Press

Posted By on August 31, 2020

Last weeks incidents in Graz are shocking and not acceptable. In Austria, there is no place for antisemitism, declared Austrian Minister of Interior Karl Nehammer after police arrest a 31-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of attacking a Jewish community leader as well as a synagogue in Graz, the countrys second largest city.

The leader of Grazs Jewish community, Elie Rosen, was assaulted by a man with a wooden object resembling a baseball bat. The incident followed two attacks on the Graz synagogue in which windows were broken with chunks of concrete. The incidents prompted condemnation by political leaders including Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and President Alexander Van der Bellen.

It is not solely a matter of criminal law with property damage and attempted personal injury, but first and foremost an absolutely unacceptable attack on fundamental rights and freedoms. It was an attack on the freedom of religion and the diversity of lifestyles in our society, Nehammer said during a press conference in Vienna together with Karoline Edtstadler, Minister for EU and Constitutional Affairs, and Oskar Deutsch, President of the Jewish community of Vienna.

The offender is a 31 years old Syrian citizen, who lives and holds a refugee status in Austria since the year 2013. I want to thank all the police officers who were involved in the arrest for their efforts. The Minister added that according to the current investigations the attacks were due to Islamist motives. The man was questioned until early morning and admitted the crimes. Corresponding evidence was found and secured In the perpetrators flat, the minister said.

Austria stands for freedom as well as a diverse society and is aware of its historic responsibility, the Interior Minister stressed. The security of the Jewish community in Austria is especially important to us. Our police work in close collaboration with the security staff of the Jewish community to ensure their safety.

The minister added: I have in the meantime ordered further measures so that synagogues and other Jewish institutions will be protected by uniformed and civil police officers around the clock in the coming weeks.

He stressed that it is our joint concern that Jewish people can live in peace and security in Austria: The Austrian government will do everything in order to guarantee the safety of our Jewish citizens, he added.

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Additional measures taken in Austria to protect synagogues and other Jewish institutions - European Jewish Press

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