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Austrian minister with nazi ties wants to ‘concentrate’ asylum seekers


migrants austria solvenia
Migrants
are held at a holding camp in the village of Dobova before
boarding a train heading towards Austria on October 26,
2015.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Images


  • Austria’s interior minister, who is a member of
    the Nazi-linked Austrian Freedom Party, suggested
    “concentrating” refugees into special centers. 
  • Many were outraged that a member of a Nazi-linked party
    would invoke terminology used in the Holocaust.
  • Austria is the only western European country with a
    far-right party in government.

Austria’s Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, who is a member of
the Nazi-linked Austrian Freedom Party
(FPO), 
caused outrage on Thursday for
suggesting asylum seekers should be “concentrated” into special
centers, the BBC
reported

Kickl told reporters at a news conference that he supports
creating “basic services centers and suitable infrastructure that
enables us to concentrate people in the asylum process in one
place.”

Many were outraged that a member of a Nazi-linked party
would invoke terminology used in the Holocaust, where millions of
Austrian and European Jews were rounded up and killed in
concentration death camps.

When questioned by reporters on his questionable choice of
words, Kickl said there was no need create a “semantic
discussion,” and claimed he did not mean to provoke
anyone.

The Freedom Party was founded by former Nazis after WWII, and
still maintains right-wing nationalist views.

Members of Austria’s parliament were swift to criticize
Kickl’s statements,
Reuters reported
.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen pledged to work
against anti-Semitism in the country.

“I will work to ensure for the duration of my tenure that
destructive nationalism, xenophobia, right-wing extremism and
anti-Semitism have no place in Austria,” Van der Bellen said, in
response to a letter penned by Holocaust survivors concerned
about Kickl’s comments.

Austria’s ruling party
struck a coalition deal
 in December to share power with
the FPO, making it the only western European country with a
far-right party in government. The FPO now controls the foreign,
interior and defense ministries. 

Austria has been dealing with an
influx of asylum seekers
 since it received 90,000
applications in 2015. 

Austria’s new government
has pledged to cut benefits for refugees and create stricter
guidelines for new arrivals — including
taking their phones and money
.


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