In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
The incident will not have much influence on the public opinion, pastor in Austria tells Evangelical Focus.
The news about an asylum seeker who attacked a woman that was reading the Bible has had much international echo. But it should not be described as a religiously motivated attack, an evangelical pastor in Austria said.
The police report of December 29 described what happened the day before.
“A 50-year-old woman was attacked with a butter knife by an Afghan asylum seeker. The 22-year-old is now detained in the justice institution in Wels”, the text says.
The woman and his husband visited the accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Vöcklamarkt to read the Bible to people temporarily living in the place.
“At 6p.m., the Afghan asylum seeker entered the kitchen and attacked the woman with a butter knife. He stabbed the woman in the chest. The woman was wearing a winter coat and was not injured. But she fell from the chair and injured her left ear”.
“When the attacker was detained and questioned, he said he had personal problems. He also explained he had not seen the woman before”, the police adds in the report.
PROBABLY NOT A RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED ATTACK
Should the attack be described as anti-Christian? “I would be careful to say that this was an attack out of religious motivation by a Muslim radical. The police report doesn’t hint this direction at all”, Frank Hinkelmann worker of Operation Mobilisation in Austria and council member of the Austrian Evangelical Alliance told Evangelical Focus.
He also explains that the incident has not had much echo on national Austrian media. The theologian believes it “will not have influence on the public opinion” in the country.
HOW DO AUSTRIAN CHRISTIANS SEE REFUGEES?
In a previous interview on the growth of anti-refugee feelings in Austria, Hinkelmann explained: “I believe that the evangelical church mirrors the general feeling in society. We have a number of churches which are really reaching out to refugees, both in helping them in practical ways but also sharing the love of Christ”.
“On the other hand, there are also many evangelicals who are afraid of Austria turning Muslim”.
He added: “My experience is, the more people get to know refugees personally the less fearful they are”.