Press Release: 22 May 2015
Austria’s Continued Efforts Against Intolerance, Racism and Anti-Semitism
In the wake of the murderous Paris attacks earlier this year, Federal President Heinz Fischer and the representatives of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths in Austria stood in unison to reject violence as a substitution for political discourse: “There is no matter in the world, even less a religious matter, that can benefit from murder and manslaughter”, their joint declaration warned, also pointing to the necessity of a credible “education and integration policy” as a preventive measure.
“Austria without Jews would not be the same Austria we know and cherish”, Minister for the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner stated at a recent visit at the Vienna City Temple where she attended a Friday service. “My objective is that our Jewish citizens feel secure in Austria and, first and foremost, at home. Jewish life in Europe has to be a life without fear”, she added. Working together to that end, the President of the Jewish community in Vienna attested that “this cooperation is a best-practice model in Europe”. In the same vein, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz declared that “Jewish life is an inseparable part of Austrian history and culture, past and present. Instead of pondering on emigration, European and Austrian Jewish communities must thrive again”.
“The commemoration of the end of World War II and the liberation of the infamous death camps 70 years ago reminds us that the freedom and liberties we enjoy in our open societies not only came at a huge human cost, but that they seem to be threatened again today by radical and extremist views even from within”, Austrian Ambassador in Washington D.C. Hans Peter Manz stated. “I therefore wish to commend the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and its President Katarina Lantos Swett for their timely initiative #SolidaritySabbath culminating today, as a visible sign of hope, tolerance and mutual understanding”.
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