Paradigm shift in Austria’s security politics vis-à-vis Islam

Austrian Interior Ministry’s security agency closes the chapter of cooperating with the country’s Islamic Religious Community, adopting the right-wing agenda of criminalizing Muslim actors

By Dr. Farid Hafez- a political scientist and Senior Research Scholar at The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University.

Austria was known to its Muslim population for a very long time as one of the most open and progressively accommodating countries in terms of Muslim life and practice.

With the Islam Act of 1912, which goes back to the Habsburg monarchy, it was one of the very few countries to legally recognize Islam as a religion.

In more recent times, however, Austria has become infamous for the anti-Muslim propaganda in its party politics, spearheaded by the right-wing extreme Freedom Party, which previously governed the country together with Sebastian Kurz’s new branded Conservatives (OVP).

The OVP, led by Kurz, has of late been the main champion of anti-Muslim legislation.

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