Majority approve debate following Sarrazin’s claims

A majority of Austrians regard Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial ideas a “justified approach” to re-discuss integration issues, a poll has shown.Viennese researchers Karmasin found 51 per cent of Austrians said the outgoing Deutsche Bundesbank executive board member’s statements were a good starting point to kick off a discussion about Austrian immigration and integration issues. Only 39 per cent said they did not agree, magazine profil reports today (Mon).German pollsters said recently six in 10 Germans consider the German Social Democrat’s (SPD) remarks – made in his new book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany Abolishes Itself) – a justified bid to start a fresh debate about immigration and integration of Muslims and other ethnic groups.Another result of Karmasin’s survey is that 48 per cent of Austrians said Deutsche Bundesbank’s decision to dismiss Sarrazin over his claims were unjustified. Thirty-four per cent said the bank made the right decision.Sarrazin sparked a Europe-wide debate by claiming willingness to work and intelligence quotient partly depended on people’s ethnic origin. Germany’s Muslim community was especially angered by his statements.He said: “I don’t have to accept anyone who lives on social benefits, rejects the state (of Germany), does not care properly for the education of his children and permanently produces new headscarf-girls.”Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache controversially said Sarrazin would deserve asylum in Austria. Strache called on the “Sarrazin hunters” to face reality. “They have no idea what’s going on and dream of an ideal world,” he said.Strache also advised Social Democratic (SPÖ) Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl to “read Sarrazin’s book carefully”, adding that his party, the FPÖ, has been pilloried as well by pointing out where bad developments occur.The FPÖ boss claimed the Viennese department has become an “Islamist party”. Häupl hit back by calling Strache “a stupid person”.The Vienna FP֒s poster campaign features slogans such as the SPÖ “protects men who force their women to wear headscarves”.The right-wing party is tipped to improve its share in the 10 October Vienna city election. It garnered 14.8 per cent in 2005. Pollsters OGM also said the FP֒s Styrian branch has the potential to double its share in the provincial ballot of 26 September (2005: 4.6 per cent).Meanwhile, public opinion research firm IMAS said 42 per cent of Austrians thought foreigners, asylum seekers and immigrants were treated better by authorities than themselves.