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August 23, 2022 1:59 pm
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TikTok Video of Jewish Flag Vandalized at Interfaith Site in Vienna Draws Condemnation From Local Officials

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The Austrian Federal Chancellery raised the Israeli flag (Up L) as a sign of solidarity, in Vienna on May 14, 2021. Photo: HELMUT FOHRINGER / APA / AFP

The Jewish community in Vienna and local officials condemned an act of vandalism in which youths tore down a flag representing Jewish faith this past weekend.

The incident, which was shared widely on social media, was filmed at the construction site of the “Campus of Religions,” an interfaith center in the Austrian capital. The video, posted on the social media service TikTok, shows three youths climbing on a flagpole and dragging the flag with a Star of David down until it is completely destroyed.

Local law enforcement authorities have opened an investigation against three unknown perpetrators on suspicion of defamation of religious teachings and damage to property, according to press reports.

“The act of vandalism that occurred on the construction site of the campus of religions is intolerable,” stated Vienna’s mayor Michael Ludwig, confirming that local authorities have been informed and are investigating the incident.

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Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community of Vienna, tweeted that he was “disturbed” by the “antisemitic” vandalism on the campus of religions.

The Campus of Religions site is being built as an interfaith meeting place for the Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox churches, as well as Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and members of the New Apostolic Church.

In a joint statement, the eight religions in the Vienna peace project condemned the act of vandalism at the site and expressed their dismay, announcing that they will not “tolerate such abuse and degradation.”

“When one religion among us is attacked, all are attacked,” the statement read. “We condemn any form of antisemitism – in word or symbolic deed.”

Ümit Vural, president of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGO), also lamented that in recent weeks mosques have been targets of repeated vandalism and property damage in Vienna, which are accompanied by threatening hate messages.

“Vienna is a city in which the most diverse religions and faith communities are in peaceful dialogue with one another,” said Ludwig. “In the future, the campus of religions in Seestadt Aspern should stand for this peaceful coexistence and emphasize Vienna’s role as a city of peace.”

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