It is about time that the rising tide of anti-Semitism, encouraged and fuelled by the arrival of people in the country who do not always share the same values, be finally addressed, and I for one welcome the initiative by the Interior Ministry.
Wherever you stand on religion, everybody in our society needs to accept the right to freely practice the religion of one’s own choosing as long as it does not impact on the religion of others.
Too often, we have had the crazy situation that new arrivals are allowed to be blatantly anti-Semitic or indeed anti-Christian because of their perceived rights pertaining to their freedom of expression regarding their own religion, and this is simply not acceptable.
You end up with a crazy situation, with for example hotels refusing to accept guest from Israel in case it offends Arab visitors. A failure to integrate is a failure of society, and it is a cancer that spreads.
Before long you have people who cannot only be blatantly anti-Semitic, arguing that it is their religious freedom to be so, but the next thing you know, you have men who refuse to shake hands with women because of religious freedom, or women who refuse to be seen by male doctors because of religious freedom.
We should welcome everybody to Austria who wants to make their new home a part of their life, regardless of religion or land of origin, but with that we need to make sure that it comes with tolerance and acceptance of the right of others to do the same.
This new initiative is a sign that Austria recognises it needs to address the issue of Holocaust denial in its own population, but also among new arrivals where a lack of tolerance for other religions or even different denominations within their own religion is already well documented