Austrian Synagogue Attacker has Asylum Status Removed

A policewoman patrols over a Christmas market in Salzburg on December 20, 2016, as security measures are taken after a deadly rampage by a lorry driver at a Berlin Christmas market. / AFP / APA / BARBARA GINDL / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read BARBARA GINDL/AFP/Getty Images)

A Syrian asylum seeker believed to be behind the vandalism of a synagogue in the city of Graz has been stripped of his asylum status and is being investigated as a member of a terrorist group.

The 31-year-old Syrian migrant confessed to several crimes while in police custody, including attacks on the Graz synagogue and attacking the president of the local Jewish community Elie Rosen with a chair leg.

He also explained his motivation to investigators saying that he hated Jews, homosexuality and claimed that homosexual acts are against his Islamic faith, newspaper OE24 reports.

The man is also alleged to have attacked a local gay and lesbian club in the city, throwing rocks at it.

As a result of the charges against him, the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs has begun the procedure to remove his asylum status.

Investigators have also raided the man’s apartment and confiscated various electronic devices and suspect that the Syrian may be tied to radical Islamic terrorist groups, according to Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.

The attack on the Graz synagogue took place earlier this month and saw the historic place of worship, which had been rebuilt after being demolished by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938, defaced with pro-Palestinian graffiti.

“The situation has deteriorated considerably over the last five years, especially in the last two or three, the situation has deteriorated very much,” Mr Rosen commented earlier this year.

Graz has been a “stronghold” for radical Islam for years, and according to a 2017 report, over half of the mosques in the city were linked to the preaching of radical Islamic theology.

Antisemitic attacks have surged in recent years across Europe, which some have blamed on the high levels of mass migration since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.

Hungarian MEP Balázs Hidvéghi made this point earlier this year saying, “While all such attacks must be firmly condemned and rejected, it must also be talked about that the emergence and spread of radical Muslim antisemitism in Europe contributes to the rise of anti-Semitic attacks.”

“Attacks against Western European Jewry are therefore another reason for taking decisive action against illegal migration,” he added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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