Terror in Vienna: Austria Wants EU to Do More to Fight ‘Political Islam’

Written by | Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

The man who killed four people and injured 23 others in a shooting rampage in central Vienna on Monday (2 November) had sought to join the so-called Islamic State (IS) and most likely acted alone, Austrian authorities have said. The gunman, who was carrying an assault rifle and a fake suicide vest and was eventually shot dead by police, was identified as 20-year old Austrian-North Macedonian dual national Kujtim Fejzula. He had previously served time in prison following an April 2019 conviction for an attempt to travel to Syria to join IS before being granted early release from his 22-month jail term in December under juvenile law, authorities said. But the IS-supporting gunman deliberately “deceived” his mentors in a deradicalisation programme to feign a renunciation of jihadism, Austria’s interior minister has said. A minute of silence was held across the country on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate all the victims.
His victims were “an elderly man, an elderly woman, a young male passerby and a waitress”, according to Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who praised the bravery of a police officer shot in the attack and who is in a critical but stable condition. In a separate but related development, two Austrian men of Turkish descent said they helped save a police officer and two women during the deadly attack, actions the Turkish government described as heroic. The men’s actions drew praise from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country’s relations with Austria have been strained in recent years but who offered condolences to Austria. Both men had been in Vienna city centre when they heard gunshots, headed in the direction of the noise, and saw a gunman shooting a passer-by. “Last night there were two heroes in Vienna. Recep Tayyip and Mikail did what a true Turk and Muslim is expected to do! Thank you young men. We are proud of you!” Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on the European Union on Tuesday to do more to fight “political Islam”, which he said represented a grave threat to European values. “The EU must focus much more strongly on the problem of political Islam in the future,” Kurz told the media in an interview.“I hope we will see an end to this misunderstood tolerance and that all countries in Europe will finally realise how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is for our freedom and the European way of life.” The Austrian leader also stressed that the EU “must, with utmost determination and unity, wage a war against Islamist terror, but particularly against its political base, that is to say political Islam.” Austria would put the issue on the agenda of upcoming EU summits, he added.

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