Austrian Anti-Muslim Video Game: 'We'd Rather Have Sarrazin than a Muezzin'
Austrian police are investigating a video game released by the right-wing Freedom Party, the former political home of the late Jörg Haider, that invites players to stop the construction of minarets and mosques. But the politician behind the campaign answers his critics with: "We'd rather have Sarrazin than a muezzin."
The immigration debate in Germany may have fallen to a new low with the publication of Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin's assertions about the supposed shortcomings of Muslim immigrants and his claim that Jews share a specific gene, but the tone here is generally still less shrill than in neighboring Austria.
'Styria Is Full of Minarets and Mosques'
At the end of the "Bye Bye Mosque" game, which has been online since Monday, players are told: "Styria is full of minarets and mosques. So vote for Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann and the Freedom Party on September 26 so that this doesn't happen."
Members of the Green Party in the state filed a legal complaint over the game. But Kurzmann remained unmoved, saying that the game was intended to raise awareness among youth in the state about the supposed problem of minarets and mosques. At a press conference on Wednesday, Kurzmann described the controversy as a "tempest in a teapot" and, riffing off the debate in Germany, said: "We'd rather have Sarrazin than a muezzin."
The president of an organization representing Muslims in Austria, Anas Shakfeh, also filed a legal complaint on Wednesday. "This is unparalleled animosity towards a religion and foreigners," he said, according to the Die Presse newspaper. The bishop of the Catholic diocese in Styria also criticized the game, saying it violated respect between religions and that it represented a danger to understanding between different faiths in society.
The game itself is actually recycled from a 2009 campaign for a referendum to ban minarets in Switzerland. So far, at least, no Ground Zero version of the game has been released.
dsl -- with wires
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