Right-wing populist European leaders ousted

10/20/2021 9:44 AM
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz

Two populist European leaders, who have expressed anti-Muslim views in the past, have been ousted from their positions in recent days.

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stepped down following corruption allegations. Kurz is being investigated for using government funds to buy favourable media coverage but he denies wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis admitted defeat following the weekend's general election, which saw two opposition alliances narrowly beat the incumbent. The billionaire prime minister, dubbed the 'Czech Donald Trump', is under investigation for misuse of EU subsidies, which he also denies.

Austria's 'Islam Map'

Kurz and his government has been accused of targeting Muslim and immigrant communities in Austria.

In June, a Muslim youth group said it planned to sue the government over its controversial ‘Islam Map’. The map identified the locations of mosques and Muslim institutions and associations across the country.

Austria's seen a sharp rise in Islamophobic incidents after a shooting attack in Vienna last November resulted in the death of four people with 23 others wounded.

The government has been condemned for using the guise of "political Islam" to demonise Muslims. Recently, signs started appearing across the country with the image of an angry-looking Muslim and a warning: “Beware! Political Islam nearby."

Babiš's Islamophobic rhetoric

Babiš triggered a row when he wrote an opinion piece in June saying that immigration would lead Netherlands and Sweden to become Muslim majority countries, which he based on misleading figures.

The inflammatory comments were widely seen as feeding into far-right narratives about the “Great Replacement”- a nationalist conspiracy theory about how the white population is being replaced by non-European immigrants.