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Austrian EU Lawmaker Apologizes For Racist Facebook Post Calling For A Complete Ban On Immigration From Africa

European Parliament (photo by David Iliff. CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)


Austrian EU lawmaker Claudia Schmidt has apologized for publishing a racist Facebook post claiming that "African and Muslim culture" are incompatible with European culture, and calling for a complete ban on African immigrants. Schmidt is a member of the ruling Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei; ÖVP) and a lawmaker in the European Union parliament. 

In the controversial post, which has now been deleted, Schmidt wrote: "One can read it daily in the press, and I have experienced it myself in refugee camps and while monitoring elections. Neither African nor Muslim culture are compatible with our culture."

Schmidt argued that "Africans" and "Muslims" cannot be integrated into European societies and their immigration must be stopped altogether. "I view arbitrary mass migration from places that have alien cultures (kulturfremden Regionen) to Europe as a great threat to our society," she wrote. 

"Migration leads to a worsening situation in Europe and to stagnation in Africa itself," she continued. "Only individuals who have received an invitation should be allowed to come to Europe ... If we want to preserve our society the way it is, we cannot allow migration from Africa. It is childish and naive to believe that exactly those people whose cultures have produced nothing but suffering, persecution, oppression and hopelessness could make a positive contribution in Europe. Africans do not want to think and work like Europeans, but they would like to live like us. If they really wanted our society and our achievements, they would realize them in Africa."







Schmidt's statements were criticized by political opponents as well as members of her own coalition party. Karl Nehammer, General Secretary of the Austrian People's Party, urged the EU lawmaker to apologize.

Jörg Leichtfried, a spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party of Austria, called the post "racist" and urged Schmidt to apologize. Members of the liberal NEOS demanded Schmidt's resignation. 

On August 17 Schmidt wrote another Facebook post apologizing for her remarks. "I am shocked that something like that could happen to me and that I am not immune to prejudice," she wrote. "I do not and did not intend to hurt anyone or to racially offend anyone."

A recent study by Harvard's Project Implicit shows the persistence of racial bias in Europe. According to the survey, the majority of white Europeans associate black faces with negative ideas.

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