Austria is a small, landlocked country the size of Maine nestled in the middle of Europe blessed with natural beauty and culture that attracted tourists and provided its population of 8.4 million with a high quality of life – the capital of Vienna was regularly named the city with the highest quality of living in the world – in a healthy economy.

And Austria shared those blessings, admitting refugees from Hungary’s Uprising in 1956, Czechoslovakia in the Praque Spring of 1968 and Yugoslavia in 1995.

Muslim Slavs, Catholics from Croatia and Orthodox Serbs were all welcomed.

Austria honored that tradition when the EU demanded that member countries take in millions of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East – but this time, things were different.

The refugees flooding into Austria over the past few years were not the families, the women and children, they had welcomed in the past.

Instead, they were primarily young men.

Data from Austria’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that of the 287 Islamic radicals it has identified in the country during the past five years, at least 40 percent came to Austria as a refugee claiming asylum.

The numbers were not provided voluntarily, but only in response to a request from the so-called “anti-migrant” Freedom Party that has made inroads in the country’s political landscape.

The ministry breaks down the identified Muslim radicals into four groups: 87 traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS and have returned to Austria; 50 were prevented from doing so; 44 were killed while in Syria; and the remainder, 106, are unaccounted for, but thought to be within Austria.

Following public acts of violence by Muslim refugees that shocked the welcoming Austrians, including the public gang rapes in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve, the country has committed to erecting fences along its borders and cutting the number of asylum-seekers to 37,500.

Even the Catholic bishop who has been most critical of the border fence has recently revised his stand slightly, warning that Austria – and Europe – “must not be too naïve” about the Muslim push to Islamize the continent.

That may be a message that at least some of the American public has grasped with the election of a president who promised to protect the border – and is anything but naïve.

 

 

 

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