Right-wing extremist incidents rose by one-third in Austria last year
Manifestations of right-wing extremism rose in Austria by almost one-third last year, according to the Austrian Interior ministry. Deutsche-Presse Agentur (DPA) reports that 1 040 criminal charges related to right-wing extremism were filed, 31 % more than in 2009. However, the ministry continues to consider Islamic terrorism the country's greatest security threat. Seven incidents related to Islamists occurred in the country last year.
The Austrian Interior Ministry emphasizes that a large number of extreme-right agitators have radicalized on the internet. Roughly 80 % of them, however, do not belong to any organization. They are using Facebook and other internet sites to spread their ideas more frequently and to seek out persons with similar sensibilities. "More and more agitators who act alone are radicalizing on the internet," the Interior Ministry's report states. Through the use of foreign web servers and coded software, the operators of these radical websites are doing their best to avoid detection and prosecution.
Roughly one-fifth of those suspected of being right-wing extremists are, according to the ministry's report, members of neo-Nazi organizations. Those who are ultra-right partisans are mainly radicalized due to their general bitterness, personal frustration, racism, or because they are seeking out activities which they find "amusing".
Of the 1 040 incidents related to ultra-right radicals, roughly one-third can be considered serious incidents of committing physical assault, making threats, or committing vandalism. The number of cases of grievous bodily harm perpetrated by right-wing extremists rose in Austria from 14 in 2009 to 21 last year. Other cases include inciting hatred and other neo-Nazi activities. The Free Party of Austria (FPÖ) often incites radical right-wing posturing in Austria and has long profited politically from people's concerns over immigration and most recently, the eurozone crisis.
The report does not mention the Norwegian terrorist attacks committed last month by the self-described "defender of Europe", Anders Behring Breivik. However, according to Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the greatest danger comes from the Islamist scene, as proven by the low but growing number of contacts between some Austrian citizens and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.