Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has cautioned against a backlash towards Muslims and migrants following a deadly terrorist attack in Vienna, saying the struggle is between those who believe in peace and those who want war.
The shooting in Vienna was an “Islamist terrorist attack,” driven by the “the hatred for our way of life, the hatred for our democracy, in which people have equal rights and dignity,” Kurz wrote on social media.
“We will not be intimidated by terrorists. We will defend our basic values, our way of life and our democracy with all our might. With full determination and without compromise,” the chancellor stated, promising that authorities will find those responsible for the terrorist attack and bring them to justice.
At the same time, Kurz cautioned against the possible backlash directed at Austria’s migrant community.
We must always be aware that this is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims, or between Austrians and migrants. This is a struggle between the many who believe in peace and the few who want war.
Kurz earlier relayed the same sentiment to reporters in Vienna, stressing that Austria was faced with a “struggle between civilization and barbarity,” rather than a conflict between locals and migrants.
Four people were killed and 14 wounded after gunmen opened fire at bystanders in multiple locations in central Vienna on Monday evening. One of the attackers was shot dead by police, while at least one of his accomplices is believed to be at large. Two people were arrested on Tuesday in the town of St. Poelten, as police conducted house raids looking for those linked to the shooting.
Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said that the terrorist who had been killed was a 20-year-old man whose parents had arrived from North Macedonia. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison in 2019 for trying to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISISL) militants in Syria, but he was released early the same year.
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