On Monday, the Austrian interior ministry issued a report finding that xenophobic and racist crimes committed by far-right sympathizers have spiked by more than 50% in the past year with Muslims and Jews the primary targets.I've had a chance to visit Austria in a different life and found that to be one of the most welcoming countries in Europe. Everywhere I went people went out of their way to explain the sights, to provide directions etc. Being a six foot two black male didn't cause a bit of an issue and the only thing I sensed was a bit of amusement at my accent.
Ministry reports state that 1,156 such crimes were registered in 2015 compared to 750 in 2014, an increase of 54%. In contrast, the report found that politically motivated crimes committed by left-wing extremists dropped sharply, from 371 in 2014 to 186 in 2015.
The report also found that 259 individuals had traveled either to Syria or to Iraq in 2015, to aid Daesh extremists, or expressed the intention to do so before being apprehended by authorities.
Of the 259 individuals, the report found that 75 Daesh militants returned to Austria in 2015 and 43 others are believed to have been killed in the region.
The reported figures on right wing crimes, as well as terrorist activity within the region, includes only those instances that were officially reported.
To see this kind of thing makes me wonder if we're not seeing those countries fundamentally changed.
I don't think Europe will ever be the same. This immigration crisis will affect at least a couple of generations of Europeans. That could be ominous. Worse, we're talking about Austria. Those people were friendlier than even the Brits.