Muslim graves desecrated as Austria swings to the right

Police are blaming far-Right extremists for desecrating a Muslim cemetery in Austria, in the same weekend that the political parties of the far-Right made huge gains in the country’s general election. More than 90 graves were severely damaged at the cemetery in Traun, near Linz, some time between Friday night and this morning, in what police believe was an organised action. The offenders sprayed Jewish symbols such as the Star of David over some of the graves, but detectives believe that this may have been a bid to disguise the motives of extremists driven by a hatred of Muslim immigrants. It is not clear whether the incident was in any way related to the elections. A spokesman for the local Islamic Community said that they were deeply shocked at the news of the desecration, which comes as the Muslim religious month of Ramadan nears its end. Austria is meanwhile embarking on a round of soul-searching following its swing to the right in yesterday’s parliamentary elections. The two far-Right parties that captured almost 30 percent of the vote, the Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria, have campaigned on an vehemently anti-immigration ticket and some of their slogans were deemed xenophobic by critics. Bojan Pancevski reports.

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