Austrian President Steps in After Photo of Country's New Year Baby Elicits Islamophobic Responses

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Austrian President Alexander Van Der Bellen in Vienna, December 18, 2017
Austrian President Alexander Van Der Bellen in Vienna, December 18, 2017Credit: Ronald Zak/AP

A baby born to a Muslim couple in Austria elicited racist and Islamophobic comments after the infant was named "the first Viennese baby" of 2018, reported the Telegraph.

According to the report, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen stepped in, responding to these comments, and welcomed the baby on Facebook, reminding readers that "all men are born free and equal in dignity and rights," further condemning "hatred and agitation."

Newborn Asel Tamaga appeared in a picture in Austrian news outlets with her mother, who is seen wearing a hijab.

Comments on Facebook included "I'm hoping for a crib death" and "deport the scum immediately."

Other members of the newly-formed Austrian government — which includes members of the far-right Freedom Party, which has a Nazi-rooted past — remained silent.

Some Austrians, meanwhile, expressed solidarity with the infant, including by raising money to support her family and launching a Facebook page for Asel to "show that love is stronger than hate, on Facebook just as in real life." The post garnered over 33,000 likes and 15,000 shares.

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