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News > World

Austria Rejects Gay Afghan for Asylum on Grounds He Isn't Gay Enough

  • Migrants walk to cross the border with Austria in Hegyeshalom, Hungary.

    Migrants walk to cross the border with Austria in Hegyeshalom, Hungary. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 August 2018

“The way he walks behaves and dresses do not demonstrate any tendency of him being homosexual,” Austrian immigration officials noted.

An 18-year-old Afghan asylum seeker in Austria had his application denied by authorities because he didn't “appear to be sufficiently gay.”

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Though his asylum request was based on an Afghan law, which condemns gay people to death, Austrian authorities who denied his application stated that “the way he walks, behaves and dresses does not demonstrate any tendency of him being homosexual.”

They also noted that the asylum seeker was timid, had few friends and was previously involved in a fight. Such behavior, according to Austrian immigration authorities, “is not to be expected of a homosexual.”

The Afghan youth arrived in Austria in 2016 and was placed in a refugee camp, according to Deutsche Welle. His first asylum application was based on the fact that he is a member of the Hazara, a minority ethnic group that is persecuted in Afghanistan.

His legal counsel argued that he did not make his initial appeal based on his sexual orientation because he was afraid.

Austria's far-right-wing coalition government came to power in December and is led by 31-year-old Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Since then, Austria's security apparatus has come under the control of the anti-refugee, anti-Islan Freedom Party, (FPO) which was founded by former Nazis in the 1950s. Each year party members have been expelled for neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic comments.

More than half a million Muslims, many of whom are Turkish or of Turkish origin, live in Austria, which is home to nearly nine million people.

Both Kurz and Strache have warned of Muslim “parallel societies” they say are emerging in Austria, despite there being few obvious signs of sectarian tension.

Kurz has warned of Muslim “parallel societies” emerging in Austria.

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