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Austrian Trade Union Questions Whether Muslims Deserve Christmas Bonuses

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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An Austrian trade union ignited a heated debate in Austria after questioning whether Muslim workers should be entitled to Christmas bonuses if they are against Christian holidays.

Free Workers of Upper Austria, a trade union with close ties to the populist FPÖ party, created a Facebook poll to ask followers if Muslims should be entitled to the 100 euro ($107) bonus given to every retiree in Austria during Christmas.

“Soon new Christmas bonuses will come into force. Muslims will also be eligible, who deny Christian festivals and traditions. What do you think of this?” the title of the poll the read.

A majority of people voted to exclude Muslims from the bonuses when the poll was deleted from the site. Gerhard Knoll, the national chair of the union, said the poll was solely created to start a discussion on the bonuses.

“We wanted to open a discussion, pointing out a double standard: many Muslims have a problem with the word Christmas and there was a discussion about whether to rename winter markets because it annoyed them,” Knoll told der Standard. “With the Christmas bonus, suddenly Muslims have no problem with the word Christmas. But we are not demanding that the government denies them payments, that would be really discriminatory.”

Austria will elect a new president Sunday when FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer goes up against former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

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Tags : austria
Jacob Bojesson