Shortly before Christmas, a hate poster at St. Pölten’s town hall attacked the Islamic religious community. Troublemakers had hung it up during the night, and in the morning Vice Mayor Harald Ludwig took it off. Like the SP politician, the Islamic Faith Community under Aziz Pek condemns the action in the strongest possible terms: “A climate poisoned by racism endangers everyone.” Therefore, one has to stand up to such attitudes: “In this world it is about the effort for good”, says the chairman of the Islamic Faith Community of Lower Austria.
Such a counterattack was offered by a former student of Pek with a YouTube video. 19-year-old Yasin said it was a message of peace. “With the video we just wanted to show you that racism doesn’t deserve any kind of respect. But you should never react to hatred with hatred either. The more love you show, the more love you get back, ”says the video description.
“This world is about the effort for good.” Aziz Pek, chairman of the Lower Austrian Islamic Faith Community
In the recording, the St. Pöltener emphasizes that no discrimination weakens his charity: “Even if some throw hatred at me, I will rain roses on them.” Pek is pleased with this reaction: “Of course, that gives me hope for the future because these students have learned to respond to hatred with love. “
Vice Mayor Ludwig perceives an atmosphere of tolerance in the city: “We can be proud of our togetherness and the people of St.Pölten are responsible for that.” A few outliers would not represent the overall social picture. In addition, it is not clear whether the troublemakers were St.Pöltner at all. Because: On the poster was the symbol of the right-wing extremist group of identities.
“We can be proud of our cooperation and that is what the people of St.Pölten are responsible for.”
But St. Pölten does not have an active identity group, according to sociologist Johannes Mayerhofer, who researched the group. There was too little interest in the city, and during his field research he heard several failed attempts by the group to gain a foothold in St. Pölten. The identitarians have generally been losing ground for some time. Individual splinter groups who profess their ideas are hardly to be taken seriously in terms of numbers.
Nevertheless, Mayerhofer thinks it is good that the identities are observed by the protection of the constitution. Because even when the group is small, it manages to effectively bring its radical ideas to the center of society. That is why reporting on the identities is difficult. For this article, too, the identities were contacted by the NÖN, but no response was given. Mayerhofer recommends: As little publicity as possible, but as much as necessary.
Radicalization is a problem on both sides, says Pek: “On the one hand, we suffer from the hate campaigns of the right-wing extremists, on the other hand, some Muslims who slip into the radical scene are desecrating everyone’s reputation.”