Austria has seen its fair share of Islamophobia and xenophobia, but Austria’s president, Heinz Fischer gives a very important message:
“Islam was officially recognized by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1912, shortly after Bosnia and Herzegovina had been incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Austria is very proud of its early recognition of its Muslim citizens,” President of Austria Heinz Fischer has said. In an interview with Today’s Zaman, Fischer praised Austria’s Muslim community for its contributions to the development of Austria.
He also shared his comments on the state of Turkish-Austrian relations, saying they are “excellent.”
“I am very much against right-wing extremism and am clearly for democracy, human rights and freedom of religion and expression. Populist nationalism or nationalist populism is a phenomenon that has occupied the discourse in Europe for several years and must not be associated with the French elections, the outcome of which was pleasing to me. I am convinced that right-wing extremism has no chance in Europe. Populism is a common side effect of democracy that has to be opposed by clear, firm positions,” he said.
President Fischer, who was in Turkey last week and also visited Ephesus on June 17, shared his opinions with us on a variety of subjects from the right-wing extremist threat in Europe to the prospects for eurozone economies and the crisis in Syria.