Austrian President defends 2018’s ‘first Viennese baby’ from Islamophobic abuse
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 08 January 2018| 20 Rabi ul Aakhir 1439
A Catholic charity on Friday protested that Facebook had removed a page for Vienna’s first baby of 2018, born of Muslim parents, which had garnered 20,000 messages of support after a rash of racist comments.
The birth of Asel, hailed in the press as “the first Viennese baby” of the year, sparked a wave of racist comments on the internet as the mother was seen wearing an Islamic veil.
In response, the Catholic charity Caritas, which works with migrants and refugees, launched a campaign of support for the infant and her parents, Naime and Alper Tamga.
“It is a completely new dimension of online hate, targeting an innocent newborn,” said Klaus Schwertner, head of Caritas in Vienna. “That crosses a red line.”
Schwertner said the Facebook page was probably targeted in a concerted campaign to get it taken down and called on Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to reinstate access.
“We want to show that love is stronger than hate, on Facebook just as in real life,” he said.
The hateful messages come amid tensions in Austrian society over the migrant influx to Europe and Islam.
Austria’s President intervenes
Austria’s president was forced to intervene after the first baby born in the country in 2018 was subjected to online abuse when it emerged the new-born’s parents were Muslim.
President Alexander Van der Bellen on Saturday welcomed baby girl, Asel, when she was born in the early hours of New Year’s Day in Vienna.
“Welcome, Dear Asel!” Van der Bellen wrote in a Facebook post, adding to those who left abusive messages that “all men are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and speaking out against “hatred and agitation.”
After being named “the first Viennese baby” of the year, with her photo appearing in local media — her mother, who was wearing a hijab, alongside her father, baby Asel Tamga received hundreds of Islamophobic comments on social media.
“I’m hoping for a cot death,” one user wrote on Heute news’ Facebook page, it reported.
Source – Arab news