Strache says ‘hunted’ Sarrazin would deserve asylum

Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache has vehemently defended controversial Deutsche Bundesbank executive board member Thilo Sarrazin.The German caused global outcry with various statements regarding immigration and the intelligence quotient of ethnic groups  made in his new book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany Abolishes Itself) which was published last week.The German Social Democrats (SPD) are now thinking of expelling Sarrazin over his claims, while most political movements in his home country have already strongly disassociated themselves from his points of view.Now Strache said Sarrazin would deserve asylum in Austria.The right-winger announced today (Tues): “In contrast to many others who apply for it, he would have deserved political asylum.”Strache – whose party is tipped to improve on its 2005 performance in the upcoming provincial elections in Styria (26 September) and Vienna (10 Vienna) – added: “The ‘Sarrazin hunters’ don’t face reality. They have no idea what’s going on and dream of an ideal world.”The FPÖ boss claimed Austria had the same problems as Germany. Strache also advised Social Democratic (SPÖ) Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl to “read Sarrazin’s book carefully”.Strache claimed his party was pilloried as well by pointing out where bad developments occur.Newspapers have it that the right-winger – who has headed the FPÖ since 2005 – recently started wearing a bulletproof vest at campaign events after having received death threats.The FP֒s Styrian branch is meanwhile under fire for taking a controversial online computer game off the web only after civil rights authorities ordered it to do so. Gamers were asked to stop mosques and minarets from sprouting in the game called “Moschee ba ba” (Bye, bye mosque).The FPÖ pointed out mosques and muezzins were only “stopped” but not shot at. Prosecutors however hope provincial party boss Gerhard Kurzmann loses his immunity so they can press agitation charges.The game, which went offline last week after it received more than 140,000 hits, emerged on a neo-Nazi propaganda homepage earlier this week before being removed once more.Strache criticised the Styrian FPÖ for setting up the game, but stressed that the branch was fully responsible for its campaign initiatives. He said: “I think games are inappropriate in an election campaign. I don’t need them myself.”The online shooter was a reaction to Austrian Islamic Denomination (IGGiÖ) chief Anas Schakfeh’s appeal there should be a “visible” mosque in all nine Austrian provincial capitals including minarets.While Schakfeh claimed he has been campaigning for the construction of more mosques for years, analysts warned the FPÖ and their right-wing rivals the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) might be the main benefiters of the debate.Viennese researchers Karmasin found 52 per cent of Austrians opposed calls for further mosques with the distinctive minarets, while 35 per cent back the idea.