Our enemy Islamic extremism targets our values and constitution -Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’

Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’ speech on the terror attack on 2 November 2020

Date:  2nd Nov 2020

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with deep consternation that I address you in this dark hour for our Republic. Yesterday, the Republic of Austria and our citizens became the target of a brutal terror attack.

Four defenceless civilians were cold-bloodedly killed at close range. The lives of an elderly man, an elderly lady, a young pedestrian and a waitress were suddenly and unexpectedly snatched away. A police officer, who courageously confronted the assassin, was shot and wounded. Another 14* people were partly severely injured, and some are still fighting for their lives.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of the victims and to all those innocent people, who suffer from severe physical and psychological wounds because of this attack.

We often see Austria as an “isle of the blessed”, where violence and terror are only known from foreign countries. The sad truth is: Even if we are lucky to live in a country which is safe in principal, we unfortunately do not live in a safe world.

It has been confirmed in the meantime that the assault definitely was an Islamic terror attack. It was an assault driven by hatred. Hatred for our basic values. Hatred for our way of life. Hatred for our democracy, where all humans are equal in rights and dignity.

Last night will therefore tragically go down in our history. As a night in which some of our fellow human beings fell victim to a brutal attack. An attack, which in truth was targeted at all of us. An attack against our free society.

To us, it is clear: 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 great determination and without any compromises. We will investigate, hunt down and bring the assassins, perpetrators and their like-minded to justice. We will pursue everybody who is involved in this crime with all available means.

But there is one thing, we will not do: We will not fall into their trap. We will counter terrorism with great determination. But we must not lose sight of the most important issue.

Our enemy, Islamic extremism, that targets all our values and our constitution, does not only intend to cause death and pain – it also intends to divide our society. And this, we will not allow. We will not give room for their hatred. Our enemies never are the members of an entire religion. Our enemies never are all people coming from one certain country. No, our enemies are extremists and terrorists. There is definitely no place for them in our society. Because in our free society, there is no tolerance for intolerance.

We shall always be aware that this is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants.

No, this is a fight between the many who believe in peace and the few who long for war. This is a fight between civilisation and barbarism, which we will always wage with determination.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As much as we are troubled about last night’s events, as grateful we can be for the solidarity and the togetherness which emerged in these difficult hours.

Our gratitude goes out to the security forces and the paramedics who risked their lives last night to provide help and safety. Our gratitude also goes out to those people who showed courage by helping others – often injured persons – in this difficult situation. Our gratitude also goes out to all of you who uploaded videos on the police platform, and hence supported investigative work.

Our gratitude goes out to our international partners who immediately assured us of their solidarity and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. From Emmanuel Macron from France to Jacinda Ardern from New Zealand, countless European and international partners expressed their solidarity late last night. We are in contact with all of them to wage this fight against extremism together. United by the rule of law and our liberal democracy we are fighting side by side to defend our freedom and our security. In Austria, in the EU and all over the entire world.

I have requested the Minister of the Interior to investigate this attack with all available resources. The Austrian Armed Forces have taken full charge of property protection, so that the police can focus their resources on the investigation.

We have also summoned the National Security Council with all relevant authorities of the Republic in order to consult about the current situation and next steps. Together with the Federal President and representatives of all parties in the Austrian Parliament, we will commemorate the victims of this assault. And I invite you to join us at 12 noon in a minute of silent remembrance all over Austria.

Our commemoration of the victims shall remind us of the dignity of every human being which we will jointly defend.

Thank you.

*by now 22 victims

The Austrian Federal Chancellor is the head of government.

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