A Muslim baby born in Vienna on New Year’s Day was met with a wave of racist abuse online after she was declared the Austrian capital’s “New Year’s Baby”.
Baby Asel was born 47 minutes into 2018 shortly before she was crowned Vienna’s “New Year’s Baby.”
However, instead of warm wishes from the citizens who read her birth announcement, baby Asel and her parents instead faced a tirade of racist abuse.
Online anti-hate monitoring and refugee support groups have said they had never seen a coordinated wave of hatred directed at a new-born baby like the one experienced by Asel and her parents.
Klaus Schwertner, secretary-general of the Vienna chapter of the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, wrote on his Facebook page:
“In the first hours of her life, this sweet girl was already the target of an unbelievable wave of violent, hateful online commentary.
“It is a completely new dimension of online hate, targeting an innocent new-born.”
Many of the hate-filled comments on the social media pages of Austrian media outlets also targeted baby Asel’s mother, who wears a hijab.
“I’m hoping for a crib death,” wrote one user. “Deport the scum immediately,” read another posting to Heute’s Facebook page.
Mr Schwertner wanted to counter the toxic sentiments by calling on his followers to stand up for the Muslim family in an outpouring of social media support.
By last Thursday, more than 10,000 people had shared his message and more than 17,000 people posted words of congratulations, support and encouragement for Asel and her parents.