”A day will come where we will have to ask all women to wear the headscarf”.
Alexander Van der Bellen, the Green Party backed Austrian president, is a politician most people will not have heard of since last December. The former economist made international headlines and allowed the global establishment to breathe a sigh of relief when he prevented ‘far right’ nationalist candidate, Norbert Hofer, of Austria’s Freedom Party, from winning the presidency.
Mr. Van der Bellen is again making headlines beyond Austria for a segment broadcast on state television on Tuesday, looking back at his first 100 days in office.
A clip used in the piece shows the Austrian president speaking with students during a roundtable discussion, commenting on proposals to ban the full Islamic face veil in the country, which he opposes.
Speaking of ‘’rampant Islamophobia’’, the president clearly emphasizes the word ‘’all’’ when suggesting that every woman would be asked to wear the veil, ‘’ in solidarity with those who do it for religious reasons.’’
The bizarre comments, made weeks ago but only aired this week have caused uproar on social media but drawn surprisingly little reaction from feminists.
Austria, like several other European countries, is debating a law to ban the burqa and full face veil, a government move intended to take votes away from the nationalist Freedom Party, during what is likely to be an election year.
The Islamification of the land-locked Alpine country, already pronounced, has intensified since German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, opened wide the doors to her country in 2015 intensifying the recent wave of migrants from Islamic Africa and the Middle East into Europe.
The country, home to classical music and high culture, once the epicenter of the Habsburg dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is transforming like much of the continent at the behest of the ruling political class.
The ensuing crime wave and anti-social behavior fueled by migrants have added to the rise in popularity of the Freedom Party and other nationalist movements in recent years.
Whilst Mr. Van der Bellen defeated the populist party in last year’s presidential election, the role of the presidency in Austria is largely symbolic. More important are the upcoming legislative elections, likely to be held later this year, in which the nationalist Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ, in German) hopes to be victorious. The newly elected Austrian president is earning them a few extra votes, it would appear.
Austria – A long way from ”The Sound of Music”.
Photo Credit: tvthek.orf.at