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Danish neo-Nazi jailed in Austria for Islam insults

A 32-year-old Danish student was convicted in Austria for Nazi-driven incitement and denigration of religious teachings on Monday, and was sentenced to two years in custody.

Danish neo-Nazi jailed in Austria for Islam insults
Vienna Regional Court. Photo: Panoramio
A Danish man living in Vienna is said to have made Facebook postings which compared the prophet Muhammad to a pig, as well as calling for glorification of Nazi ideas.  The 32-yer-old is a student of chemistry and history who has been living in Austria since 2010, according to a report from the Austrian Press Agency (APA).  
 
Judge George Olschak decided that the insult to Islam was deeply offensive, as well as illegal religious incitement, and merited the two year sentence.  State prosecutor Stefanie Schön said that the partly-suspended sentence was too lenient, and said that she would register an appeal calling for a longer prison term.
 
The trial of the Danish student was the result of investigations by anti-Fascist Uwe Seiler, who has been combating far-right propaganda and neo-Nazi rhetoric on the Internet for several years.  Seiler had used data forensics to show that the student had posted a series of offensive comments, including racist and Islamophobic statements, as well as writing "It's time to fight on behalf of the Nazis."
 
In his defense, the Dane said that it was "an absurd accusation and a violation of [my] human rights."  He pointed out that he had written most of the postings in his own language, saying "If I had wanted to speak to an Austrian audience, I would have written it in Turkish. Of course, in the past I would have used German."
 
He further protested that the court process was unrealistic, adding that "it makes no sense to give half answers to questions [from the prosecutor] without preparation."  To properly assess his views was "a matter for historians, and not for the court."
 
Because the accused did not recognize the validity of the court, he protested by remaining seated when the jury was being sworn in, and when the verdict was being read out.
 
During pre-trial custody, the man defaced prison property with swastikas, and wrote the slogan "Freedom for Gottfried Küssel".  These actions may lead to additional charges, according to the prosecutor.  Küssel is a far-right extremist and holocaust denier who is currently in Austrian prison for nine years for neo-Nazi activities.

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First woman fined in Denmark for wearing full-face veil

A 28-year-old woman wearing a niqab on Friday became the first person in Denmark to be fined for violating a new controversial law banning full-face Islamic veils in public places, media reported.

First woman fined in Denmark for wearing full-face veil
Photo: AFP

Police were called to a shopping centre in Horsholm, in the northeastern region of Nordsjaelland, where the woman had become involved in a scuffle with another woman who had tried to tear her niqab off, police duty officer David Borchersen told the Ritzau news agency.

“During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again,” Borchersen said.

Police took a photograph of the woman wearing the niqab, and obtained security camera footage from the shopping centre of the incident.

The woman was informed she would receive a fine of 1,000 kroner ($156, 134 euros) in the post, and was told to either remove her veil or leave the public space.

“She chose the latter,” Borchersen said. As of August 1, wearing a burqa, which covers a person's entire face, or
the niqab, which only shows the eyes, in public carries a fine of 1,000 kroner.

Repeated violations are fined up to 10,000 kroner.

The ban also targets other accessories that hide the face such as balaclavas, masks and false beards.

Human rights campaigners have slammed the ban as a violation of women's rights, while supporters argue it enables better integration of Muslim immigrants into Danish society.

The full-face veil is a hot-button issue across Europe. Belgium, France, Germany and Austria have already imposed bans or partial bans.