Austria has up to 500,000 Muslims and 200 mosques. Three of them – in Vienna, Bad Vöslau, and Telfs – have minarets. Accordingly, Austria's far right Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache, and Gerhard Kurzmann, the party's candidate in the province of Styria, have released a video game called Moschee Baba (Bye Bye Mosque). Moschee Baba encourages you to shoot – excuse me, stop the building of – minarets and Muslims. Since one doesn't really stop the building of people, and the targeting circle looks pretty much like, well, a target, it's easy to understand why I was confused when I first saw it. That, and the red Stop sign that follows when you pull the trigger kinda makes you think of blood.
Speaking of blut und ehre, the right-wing party's new election campaign poster series calls for "Mehr Mut für unser 'Wiener Blut' - Zu viel Fremdes tut niemandem gut," meaning "More Courage for our 'Viennese Blood' – too many foreigners does no one any good." This apparently rhymes pretty well, and is not racist or xenophobic at all, no sirree bob. It's simply a shout out to Johann Strauss' music for Wiener Blut, or for the less culturally sophisticated amongst us (i.e. me), Falco (+2 for the fish ties, Der Kommissar). Because really, there's nothing more authentically Austrian than Strauss and Falco. (BTW, despite the Nazi overtones of racial purity, I can't stop snickering at the phrase "Weiner Blut.")
Quite a while back, the FPÖ used the slogan "Daham statt Islam," which translates as "(at) Home, no Islam." Over one-fifth of the Muslims in Austria are Turks, so the slogan efficiently mixes racism and Islamophobia. Charming bunch of folks, the FPÖ. They are well-practiced demagogues who are predicted to gain much more than their 2005 showing of 14.8% in the October 10 Vienna election.
Vienna is a city of migrants, so in reality, Weiner Blut has been salmagundi for hundreds of years. It's said that every other household has at least one member of a migrant background. But just like the much-loved fictions of race and racial purity, the fiction of Wiener Blut holds strong. And why shouldn't it? Thinking somehow you're different and special lets you blame others for your own shortcomings, and once you get rid of those thieving, scheming Turks / Muslims / Jews / Blacks / Gypsies / Catholics / Hmong / Mormons / Hatfields / McCoys / etc., all will return to Utopia once again.
There's a lot of outrage around the now-offline game. The Moschee Baba site now has a still of a frightened cartoon Muslim, followed by a Get Ready graphic where the sun symbolically rises over the dark night in (presumably) Styria. Just when you think you can lock and load, a note comes up to let you know, dear visitor, that interference by political opponents resulted in the banning of the game, but you can decide on September 26. There are quite a view YouTube videos showing "walkthroughs" of the game; don't ask me to explain the soundtracks.
At the end of the 60 seconds of "play" a message pops up stating "Game Over. Styria is now full of minarets and mosques! So that this does not happen, on September 26 choose Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann and the FPO!" It's not all politics; they do tell you your score. But clearly you cannot win without voting for the gut doktor.