Austria leader brands political Islam ‘threat to European way of life’ after Macron backed Mohammed cartoon


AUSTRIA’S Chancellor has branded political Islam a “danger” to the European way of life and called for an “end to misconceived tolerance” after the deadly Vienna terror attack.

Sebastian Kurz has urged EU leaders to join forces against political Islam as Austrian security services investigate the Vienna attacker’s suspected links with extremists across Europe.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has branded political Islam a "danger"

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has branded political Islam a “danger”Credit: AFP or licensors
Terrorist Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, killed four people in his deadly spree in Vienna on Monday evening

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Terrorist Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, killed four people in his deadly spree in Vienna on Monday eveningCredit: Reuters

The chancellor has been in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss joint initiatives to tackle terrorism, following the devastating terror killings in Vienna on Monday night and in Paris and Nice last month.

“I expect an end to the misconceived tolerance and for all the nations of Europe to finally realise how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is for our freedom and the European way of life,” Kurz told Die Welt, a German newspaper.

The chancellor’s comments come after it was revealed the Vienna gunman Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, had been jailed in April 2019 after attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

The terror killer was granted early release in December under juvenile law.

Fejzulai convinced ‘de-radicalisation’ officials he had renounced ISIS and his extremist ideas as part of a parole deal.

That decision was proved misjudged on Monday evening when the cold-blooded terrorist went on a rampage through the Austrian capital, armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and a machete, killing four people in his deadly wake.

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been in talks with French President Emmanuel MacronCredit: Reuters
Victim Nexhip Vrenezi, 21, was one of four people who died in the devastating attack in Vienna

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Victim Nexhip Vrenezi, 21, was one of four people who died in the devastating attack in Vienna
21-year-old Muslim Nexhip Vrenezi was described as "good-hearted" and "loyal" by friends

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21-year-old Muslim Nexhip Vrenezi was described as “good-hearted” and “loyal” by friends
Tributes have been paid to the tragic victims of Monday night's terror attack in Vienna, Austria

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Tributes have been paid to the tragic victims of Monday night’s terror attack in Vienna, AustriaCredit: AFP

The first victim of the Vienna shootings was yesterday named as 21-year-old Nexhip Vrenezi.

The Albanian Muslim described as “good-hearted”, “loyal” and “funny” by friends was one of four people killed by ISIS gunman Fejzulai in the terrifying attacks.

A 44-year-old woman died from a gunshot wound in hospital, while a 24-year-old German waitress, and a 39-year-old man were also fatally shot.

Austrian chancellor Kurz has described the decision to release Fejzulai- who was shot dead by police on Monday evening – as “definitely wrong”.

“If he had not been released then the terror attack would not have been possible,” Kurz told public broadcaster ORF on Tuesday.             

A further failure was revealed by Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer yesterday, as it emerged that neighbouring Slovakia’s intelligence service had raised the alarm about the attacker in July, when he tried to buy ammunition there.

“Before the terror attack began, according to the information currently available, some things also went wrong,” Nehammer told a news conference, as he called for the formation of an independent commission to examine the errors made.

“In the next steps evidently something went wrong here with communications.”

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It is also claimed that convicted jihadi Fejzulai had sent videos of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre to suspected accomplices before he launched his own assault on the streets of Vienna.

Fejzulai sent clips of the slaughter, which saw 12 journalists killed by two jihadis at the French magazine’s office in Paris, to two unnamed associates as cops are reportedly investigating whether this may have been a call to arms.

The terror killer posted a sick picture on his Instagram account before the deadly attack, showing him holding the weapons he would use and pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

The terrorist began his attack at 8pm near the central synagogue and prowled the streets wearing a fake explosives belt as he fired at random.

He was shot dead by police at 8.09pm.

Kurz has pledged that everything possible would be done to bring to justice those responsible for terrorism and condemned the “barbarity” of the shocking killings on innocent citizens.

“The enemy, the Islamist terror, wants to split our society, but we will give no space to this hatred,” he has said.

“Our enemies are not the members of a religious community, these are terrorists. This is not a fight between Christians and Muslims, or Austrians and migrants, but a fight between civilisation and barbarity.”

But some leaders and countries have warned the stance taken by political leaders such as Austria’s Kurz and France’s Macron could fan the flames of unrest, as rallies have taken place in countries including Bangladesh and Indonesia.

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More than 50,000 Muslims took part in the biggest demonstration yet on the streets of Bangladesh on Monday with some burning effigies of the French leader, after he supported the right of cartoonists to draw the Prophet Mohammed.

In Jakarta, more than 2,000 Indonesians wearing white Islamic robes gathered in front of the French embassy to express their outrage.

They chanted “No defamation of the Prophet Mohammed” and vented their anger about Macron.

The French president has repeatedly voiced his support of freedom of expression following the murder of teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb late last month.

Paty was attacked and beheaded after showing cartoons from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in a lesson about free speech.

President Erdogan of Turkey, who has championed Islamist causes including the Muslim Brotherhood, has criticised “rising Islamophobia” in the West.

Shops in Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan have announced boycotts of French products, while Islamic organisations have warned that law-abiding Muslims are being “excluded and criminalised”.

Members of the military patrol outside of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria

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Members of the military patrol outside of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, AustriaCredit: AFP
Tributes line the streets in Vienna after the killings on Monday night

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Tributes line the streets in Vienna after the killings on Monday nightCredit: AFP
Candles have been lit to honour the victims of the Vienna attacks

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Candles have been lit to honour the victims of the Vienna attacksCredit: AFP

 





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