SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – VIENNA – Ahead of first anti-Islam march in the Austrian capital, vandals sprayed several swastikas on a Vienna mosque, in the latest incident in a series of anti-Islam attacks across Europe.
The graffiti, found on Sunday morning, were being “investigated by the national security agency,” a police spokesperson told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Monday, February 2.
The attack came ahead of the country’s first anti-Islam protest planned on Monday evening.
The protest is organized by an offshoot of PEGIDA group, which has drawn thousands of supporters on the streets of the German city of Dresden is recent months.
Small “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” offshoots have also sprung up in other German cities and in European countries including Denmark, Switzerland and Spain.
The Vienna march in the city center was expected to attract fewer than 300 people. A counter-demo was also planned, with 1,200 extra police on duty in case of trouble.
The mosque attack is the last in a series which kicked off last December.
In one attack, unknown culprits left a pig’s head and intestines in front of the door of another mosque in the capital. A street sign was changed to read “Shari`ah Street” in September.
This weekend four swastikas and the word “Hitler” were found drawn and etched on walls on the former Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen.
On Saturday night two men were assaulted in central Vienna by four others shouting anti-Semitic slogans such as “Scheissjuden” (“shitty Jews”), media reports said.
Austrian Muslims are estimated at about half a million or nearly 6 percent of the European country’s 8 million population.
In Vienna, Islam is the second-largest religious grouping, after Roman Catholicism.
Rise of Hate
Concerned with the rising anti-Islam and anti-semitism attacks, a senior European Union official warned about rising levels of extremism and intolerance across the 28-nation bloc.
“There is rising anti-Semitism, there is rising Islamophobia, there is rising homophobia,” Frans Timmermans, deputy to European Commission President Jean-Claude told parliamentarians from EU states meeting in Latvia’s capital Riga.
“There are people who are actually challenging the position of women in European society,” said Timmermans, who was visiting the Baltic state in connection with the six-month rotating EU presidency which Latvia has assumed.
“This cannot happen. We need to put the rule of law front and center in our European discussions because if we don’t have that, we have nothing.
“If Jews in this Europe cannot feel at home, Europe is finished. If Jews believe their future is not in Europe, Europe has no future. And this applies to Muslims alike – and to other minorities. If gay people think they have to go back into the closet, we have no future for Europe,” he added.
Muslims in Europe have been facing an increasing resentment after Paris attacks that left 17 killed, including two Muslims.
The National Observatory Against Islamophobia said over one hundred incidents have been reported to the police since Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 7-9.
The rise in attacks over the last two weeks represents an increase of 110 percent over the whole of January 2014, the organization said on Monday.
Moreover, a Muslim father was stabbed to death in his own home in southern France this week by a neighbor who claimed to be avenging Charlie Hebdo.
Another Eritrean immigrant has been murdered in Germany’s Dresden.
Mosques in Sweden and Germany were also attacked following the attacks.