A top official from a right-wing Austrian political party has come under fire for attacking Islam and insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), press reports said Sunday.
Susanne Winter, the top candidate from the Freedom Party (FP) in the upcoming city elections in Graz – Austria's second-largest city – made disparaging remarks about the Prophet during the party's New Year conference, Austrian news agency APA reported.
Her political rivals were quick to condemn her statements, calling them "the lowest of the low", and cut all ties with Winters, who they said was beyond help.
During her speech, Winter said the prophet "would in today's system be a child-abuser" because he had married a six-year-old girl – an erroneous claim according to most Islamic scholars.
Winter also said the prophet had written the Quran during "epileptic fits" -- another claim rejected by scholars -- and called Islam "a totalitarian system of rule" that should be "thrown back where it came from, behind the Mediterranean".
She warned of the "creeping Islamization" of Graz as a result of "a Muslim immigration tsunami".
According to APA, Winter made the remarks in front of 3,000 party supporters and there was "frequent applause" from delegates.
A spokesman for the Islamic Community, Omar Al-Rawi, said the FP's "Islam-bashing" had reached a "nauseating" level, and said the remarks contained "untruths and lack of respect".
The leading Greens candidate in Graz, Lisa Ruecker, said that Winter was "beyond salvation", the agency reported.
And local Social Democrat (SP) official, Karl-Heinz Herper said Winter's remarks about the prophet were the lowest of the low, vowing that there would be no cooperation between his party and the right-wingers. He also called for an inquiry by the public prosecution for unlawful "incitement".
Winter's remarks reflected some common myths and allegations used to attack Islam.
While the exact age of Ayesha, the prophet's wife, at the time of her marriage cannot be known for certain, most Islamic scholars deduce she was at least 14 years old, with some even suggesting she was in her twenties.
Muslims recognize the Quran as the exact word of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the spoken word via Archangel Gabriel, and later committed to writing by scribes.
Islam is the largest minority religion in Austria with 4.22% of the population in the 2001 census. Most Muslims came to Austria after 1960 as "guestworkers" from Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. There are also communities of Arab and Pakistani origin.