the legal opposition of this campaign which the Austrian authorities rely on

the legal opposition of this campaign which the Austrian authorities rely on

1.What is the legal opposition of this campaign which the Austrian authorities rely on? What is the role of the Parliament, or the General Prosecutor?

For the time being, there is no indictment but only judicial investigations. The orders of sequestrations and freezing of bank accounts have, however, been justified by something that might be close to the prosecutor’s indictment. The disproportion between the mediation-concerned parties, the military-style raid, the massive and long preparations have shown that there has been not a single person arrested on the other side, as it shows very clearly how weak the judicial composition is.

Regarding the prosecution, we can say that it is a very aggressive and political attack on basic political rights which had been guaranteed by our constitution as well as the relationship of forces within society. The prosecutor tries to accuse Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood Movement as a terrorist organisations, then attempts to connect them with a range of humanitarian associations and individuals. Eventually, no evidence for any money laundering has been detected. It is very phoney and under earlier circumstances would have led most probably to acquittals. But given the vicious anti-Muslim campaign of the government the outcome is not clear.

Formally, the judicial case does not concern the parliament. But at the same time the government is trying to radicalise what they call anti-terrorist laws which is being designed on the patterns of 9/11 events. The Christian-conservative chancellor of the leading OeVP wanted to impose a law banning what they call "Political Islam” but is unable and unwilling to define. The way they campaign is de facto targeting Muslims as such. The Green coalition partner did not object the content of the law but removed only explicitly singling out Muslims. So it is now called law against religious extremism and will most probably passed next month.

The opposition parties do not much oppose the legislative project either.

We, as part of the extra parliamentary opposition and Palestine Solidarity movement, however, are planning to stage a street protest.

2.What are the expected impacts of this campaign inside the Austrian territories?

It is part of a general identity campaign which has been going on for more than two decades trying to construct Muslims as enemies. This will go on especially under chancellor Kurz who has been operating this campaign to take over votes from the far right.

But there is some specific and very dangerous reasons to be understood. The political space to defend the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation is being more and more suffocated. We are on the edge of being criminalised.

And: all this is a political gift to the Egyptian dictator Abdul Fatah Al Sisi. Kurz does so to please his close US and Israeli friends.

3.Do you believe that Austrian authorities will hold back or they will continue?

I do not believe that they can continue on this specific court case as the composition is extremely weak and they might face even judicial defeat. Actually the mediation impact has been already earned and that might be enough for them.

Furthermore some of the persons accused are very close to the authorities and have been their supporters for decades. By going against their friends the government risks to destroy their network to control the Muslim community in Austria.

4.Do you believe that states of the EU will do the same thing or the European Court of Human Rights will prevent that?

Regarding the identity campaign against Muslims, I fear that there is something quite similar going on across Europe relatively across states.

With regard to the judicial procedures and the legislative radicalisation, I believe that it is specific to Austria and this government. Only France is even more aggressive.

The court procedure could last for years so the possibility to concern the European Court for Human Rights lays in the distant future.

5.Do you consider that the development of Austrian extreme right wing will destroy civil and democratic life?

No, not the extreme right wing is doing so. It is the neo-liberal centre. The right would have encountered massive troubles in doing so. The Greens to join the ruling coalition and to even control the ministry of justice the resistance to the liberticidal jurisdiction and legislation will be minor. Many voted Green to avoid such a scenario. Eventually they have been instrumental to let it pass.

6.I would like to listen to your own recommendations.

The anti-Muslim identity campaign is ravaging Western societies. It is a highly dangerous instrument in the hands of the neo-liberal elites to split the lower classes and operate the rollback of social and democratic right.

We have been used to that for decades as being the opposites of the extreme right wing. But what makes it so acutely dangerous it that the campaign is being led from the heads of government offices with the support of forces which call themselves leftists.

We will stand for the defence of Muslims as integral parts of our societies as democratic and communist forces did in the 30’s with Jewish people.

But this is not enough. We need to understand that the anti-Muslim campaign at large and the specific judicial operation now is directed against Palestine and in favour of the Israel power dispositive. Our government is moving more and more towards full support not only for Israeli interests but also their colonial narrative describing Western aggression as self-defence and popular resistance against imperialism as barbaric (and Anti-Semitic).

So we call upon our Muslim friends here in Austria not to back down but to join hands in defending the just resistance of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation.