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ISLAM

Muslim leader ‘appalled’ by suspected jihadists

The president of the Austrian Islamic Community (IGGiÖ), Fuat Sanac, says he is surprised and appalled about the nine suspected jihadists who were arrested in Austria on the weekend.

Muslim leader 'appalled' by suspected jihadists
Sunni muslim leader Fuat Senac. Photo: APA (Archiv/Fohringer)

In an interview with the Austrian national Ö1 radio on Sunday, quoted by the Austrian ÖRF television teletext, Sanac said he was shocked that, according to the interior ministry, another 130 jihadists lived in Austria. The number seemed too high, he said. He would not have assumed that there were more than five.

The IGGiÖ president also said he condemned the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (Isis) jihadist group. "That has nothing to do with Islam," he said.

The Islamic Community said that it feared the number of attacks on Muslims in Austria was increasing.  On Thursday last week, an 84-year-old woman wearing a hijab was injured by a man in his thirties. The IGGiÖ said that the man, who swore at the woman in a Viennese dialect, kicked her over and knocked another woman down. The police were still looking for the man on the weekend.  The 84-year-old was taken to hospital.

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CRIME

Case dropped against second Swiss man over Vienna attack ‘links’

Swiss prosecutors said Thursday they had dropped the case against a second Swiss man over alleged links to a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna due to a lack of evidence.

Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which last month decided to drop the case against one suspect, told AFP it had issued a discontinuation order in the case against a second man.

On November 2, 2020, convicted Islamic State sympathiser Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people in Vienna before being shot dead by police.

It was the first major attack in Austria in decades and the first blamed on a jihadist.

Two Swiss citizens who knew Fejzulai were arrested in the northeastern Swiss town of Winterthur just a day after the attack on suspicion they may have helped in its preparation.

‘How was it possible?’ Austrians left asking painful questions after Vienna terror shootings

The two, who were aged 18 and 24 at the time, were known to the police and were the targets of prior criminal cases over terror-linked offences.

The OAG acknowledged Thursday that no evidence had emerged that either man had participated in any way or had prior knowledge of the attack.

The older of the two men was meanwhile hit with a penalty in a separate case with no links to the Vienna file, the OAG said.

The penalty order, seen by Swiss media, indicated that he had been found guilty of violating Switzerland’s law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and related organisations and of being in possession of “depictions of violence”.

According to the ATS news agency, an IS group video was found on his phone depicting people being executed and decapitated.

He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,100, 950 euros), and three years’ probation, ATS said.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

In light of this penalty, he would not be compensated for the 176 days he spent behind bars after his arrest following the Vienna attack, it added.

The OAG said a separate case was still pending against the younger of the two men, also on suspicion he breached the Swiss law banning Al-Qaeda, IS and related organisations, and over “allegations of depictions of violence”. “The presumption of innocence applies,” it stressed.

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