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Alma Zadic new elected Austrian minster

Alma Zadic was born in Bosnia. In the 1990s - during the war in the former Yugoslavia - she fled to Austria with her parents. In early January 2020, she was named Austria's new justice minister - the first minister in Austria with migrant roots.

 

"This will make a difference: that for the first time Austria will have a minister who was not born in Austria," Alma Zadic said in her acceptance speech, as she appointed as justice minister in Austria's new Conservative Party-Green Party coalition government, which took over power at the beginning of 2020.

Although she had wanted intended to use her migrant background as a positive as she entered her new office, it unfortunately sparked a wave of internet hate speech in Austria instead, coming mostly from the far-right and so-called Identitarian movements. Comments such as "a criminal Muslim woman is becoming justice minister: sharia (Islamic) law is coming [to Austira] soon," were shared chiefly by followers of Austria"s far-right Freedom party, FPOe, (who shared power with Kurz’s Conservative OeVP Party until new elections in September 2019), as reported by the AFP news agency.

Online attacks and hate speech

While some sought to accuse Zadic of meeting Islamist groups in Austria, others simultaneously said she was gunning for the far-right and fascists in the country. These attacks against her person have already forced her to seek police protection; meanwhile Zadic has declared publicly that she didn't follow any particular religion or dogma.

"Already on day one, this could be an outlier of cracks in the [new] coalition. […] The Greens and Zadic will need strong nerves to weather this storm," wrote one commentator in an article about the hate campaign against her in Austria's Der standard newspaper.

 

 

Zadic does, however, indeed appear to have strong nerves. Following the attacks and accusations, the new minister is now riding high on a solidarity storm - so much so that it garnered its own hashtag in social media. On January 11, she posted a series of tweets thanking those who have supported her, saying that the "solidarity wave is overwhelming and has brought her the strength to push back against her dissenters