Jewish man walks by Star of David
Jewish man walks by Star of DavidIsrael news photo: Flash 90 (illustrative)

The archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, has expressed opposition to suggestions of adding Jewish and Muslim high holidays to the list of official Austrian holidays.

“Both the Jewish and the Muslim community are not big enough in Austria that their holidays should be holidays for the entire population,” he said in interview with the state-owned broadcaster ORF.

Schonborn said it was "necessary to take into account the views of the majority of the people in the country," as about 80 percent of the country’s population is Christian, mostly Catholic.  

The religious leader was responding to calls by Muslim leaders to declare one day during Ramadan as non-working days for Muslims.

The secretary general of the Jewish Community of Vienna, Raymond Fastenbauer, told the newspaper Kleine Zeitung that the community supported making Jewish holidays national holidays, but that this idea was rejected due to objections by a number of individuals in commerce.

From a population of approximately 8.5 million, about 15,000 are Jewish and approximately 400,000 to 500,000 are Muslim.