A baby girl in Austria was subjected to extreme racism as soon as she entered the world.
Baby Asel Tamga was named “the first Viennese baby” of the Year 2018. Her photo, surrounded by her adoring parents, was featured on local news media. However, she did not quite get the welcome she deserved. Incidentally, Asel’s parents are Muslims and her Vietnamese mother was shown wearing a headscarf as she held the slumbering baby.
In a shocking twist of events, the baby was greeted with an extreme dose of Islamophobic comments on social media.
“I’m hoping for a cot death,” one user wrote on Facebook. Another one said, “Does the woman have cancer? Or why does she otherwise wear a headscarf?”
It’s unthinkable that such a little baby can garner the hate of the masses for absolutely nothing.
The comments got so vicious that Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen had to issue the baby girl a congratulatory message to stop the trolls.
“All people are born free and equal to dignity and rights. Confidence and cohesion are greater than hatred and incitement. Welcome, dear Asel!” Van der Bellen said in a Facebook post.
“In the first hours of her life, this sweet girl was already the target of an unbelievable wave of violent, hateful online commentary,” Klaus Schwertner, secretary general of the Vienna chapter of the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, also stated on Facebook.
Schwertner also called upon his followers to stand up for the family and by Thursday, more than 10,000 people shared his message on social media and 17,000 people posted messages of love to the Tamgas.
Fortunately, not everyone viewed the little girl’s birth with such hatred.
Spewing hate is always wrong. Spewing hate at a newborn baby? Sick, sick, sick.— Kristen Zayon (@AKLibraryChick) January 7, 2018
Blessings and prosperity to little Asel and her family. Shame on the bigots of Vienna.
Vienna ‘New Year’s Baby’ Greeted First With Hate, Then Hearts https://t.co/Pn3H1CawHk
Little Asel was Vienna’s “New Year’s Baby.” But instead of good wishes, the little girl and her family were greeted with a wave of racism, disgust and hate. https://t.co/0EigqZ3U27— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 4, 2018
In #Austria, the baby Asel, the first baby born in 2018 in #Vienna, received hundreds of hate messages because his mother is veiled: "I hope that this "Dirt" will die quickly"— Algerian_PalestineV (@AlgerianPalest) January 6, 2018
A few days later, her mother received 17,000 messages of support and "❤" for her daughter 👶 https://t.co/ra562zHMZf
The inundation of abuse comes a fortnight after the far-right, anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPO) struck a coalition deal that will significantly toughen Vienna’s stance against asylum seekers — and in essence made Austria the only western European state with a far-right presence in the government.
The decision raised concerns across Europe about the revival of far-right populism and resulted in thousands of Viennese protesting against the coalition government, led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz of the Austria People’s Party.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha