Muslim school in Austria targeted

- Five pigs' heads were left at the construction of the Eyup Imam Hatip School in Austria's capital during the Ramadan holiday celebration

By M. Bilal Kenasari

ANKARA (AA) -  The placement of five pigs' heads on a construction site of a Muslim school during the Ramadan holiday between 28th to 30th July has drawn attention to the targeting of ethnic and religious minorities in Vienna. 

Five pigs' heads were left at the construction site of an Eyup Imam Hatip School  - a Muslim school designed to train religious functionaries, in Austria's capital during the Ramadan holiday, an official informed Anadolu Agency (AA). 

Kazim Parlak, President of Vienna Eyup Sultan community, told AA so far "the suspects have not been identified by local officers."

The investigation is still ongoing in the country which has a population of 250,000 Turks, and which is seeing a rise in ultra conservative elements with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) winning 20.5 percent of the popular vote in last year’s election. 

"This could be a racial attack on our community here in Vienna, they want to create trouble, but we will not be provoked and will carry on regardless."

Eyup Sultan Imam Hatip School will be the first of it is kind in Austria, where nearly 600,000 muslims live.

Metin Kulunk, Turkish MP and deputy chairman of the AK Party foreign relations, told AA: "We condemn this act which represents Islamophobia."

"We are expecting an answer from the Austrian FM as he has previously said of the Turks living in Austria, that “Turks are essential part of this society and should be respected.”

Kulunk also criticised Austrian officials saying "it looks like Austrian officials are not concerned with the rise of the ultra right-wing discourse in their country."

The Imam-Hatip schools were founded in 1925 by the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to train religious functionaries just one year after the Turkish Republic came into being. In the past 80 years, many Turkish statesmen have studied there, among them Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

www.aa.com.tr/en

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