Austria’s Muslims fright being forged as chance to security


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Islam changed into as soon as mentioned a total of 21 events within the Austrian coalition’s new governmental programme, titled « Collectively. For our Austria ».

By manner of home security, the programme obsessed with « political Islam » and « Islamist extremism ».

Yet, no topic a dramatic enlarge within the substitute of upright-fly assaults in most contemporary years in Austria, there changed into as soon as no mention of upright-fly exercise or fascism within the doc published in gradual December by chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz’s centre-upright People’s Celebration (OVP) and the far-upright-fly Freedom Celebration of Austria (FPO).

In accordance with Austria’s home intelligence service (BVT), authorities pressed charges in about 1,690 cases linked to upright-fly exercise in 2015 – the very most practical quantity in a single 365 days and an enlarge from 1,200 in 2014.

Austria is the valid nation in Western Europe with a far-upright authorities since Kurz obtained Austria’s national elections remaining October. The OVP will govern the nation for the next 5 years in coalition with the FPO, a celebration founded by ragged Nazis, at point out led by Heinz-Christian Strache.

The coalition authorities’s rhetoric has insecure some Austrian Muslims who fright they’ve been forged as a chance to society.

Professor Farid Hafez, a fellow at Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, acknowledged the authorities’s address Islam of their programme changed into as soon as unprecedented « within the ancient past of the second republic of Austria ».

« In itself, or no longer it is something very new, » Hafez told Al Jazeera. « I have confidence what we are going to seek within the next 5 years is something that now we hold never considered old to in Austria. »

‘Combating political Islam’

Many Austrians hold been tantalizing that whereas « political Islam » changed into as soon as on the entire mentioned, it changed into as soon as no longer clearly outlined and really, it changed into as soon as overall Austrian Muslims that hold been being focused within the authorities’s programme. 

Below the heading of « Combating political Islam », the coalition authorities called for « closer monitoring » of Islamic preschools and Islamic private faculties and for his or her closure « the place upright requirements aren’t met ».

Undoubtedly one of their objectives changed into as soon as to quit « international impact, significantly within the self-discipline of education » and to implement a « ban on in a international nation funding ». Nonetheless, the prohibition applied ideally obedient to Muslims; no other non secular community changed into as soon as mentioned within the document.

The authorities’s rhetoric has insecure some Austrian Muslims [Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images]

« Whenever you bring [political Islam] into the discussion that it is most likely you’ll mean something or nothing by it; that is precisely the chance of it. More than likely – and that is the reason my ideally obedient fright – any political opposition and NGOs would maybe presumably be focused within the kill by something called political Islam, » Hafez acknowledged.

« Whenever you seek at the programme in part, the manner they hold been framing political Islam changed into as soon as very noteworthy in a technique the place you may presumably presumably goal many substitute groups. »

Prevention and de-radicalisation measures within the document also focused completely on Muslims; dangers posed by other groups hold been no longer neatly-known.

Islam is a faith that propagates peace and is in no manner a chance for any state or society. Unfortunately, when we seek at the authorities programme, Islam is being keep into that very corner.

Ibrahim Olgun, president of the Islamic Community in Austria

Their manifesto also called for an accepted German translation of the Quran to be oldschool and for Muslims to distance themselves from clear passages of the Quran.

« [Kruz’s Freedom Party] has shifted their heart of attention entirely and they build no longer seek Muslims to any extent extra as partners in Austrian society, but pretty as a chance to Austrian society, » Hafez explained.

Ibrahim Olgun, president of the Islamic Community in Austria, agreed that Islam changed into as soon as wrongly linked with « political Islam ».

« We completely disagree with this, for the reason that religion of Islam is no longer a political tool and desires to be handled equally with the dominant religions in Austria, » Olgun acknowledged. « Islam is a faith that propagates peace and is in no manner a chance for any state or society. »

« Unfortunately, when we seek at the authorities programme, Islam is being keep into that very corner. »

The Austrian authorities failed to acknowledge to Al Jazeera for comment.

Rising non secular intolerance

Verbal and bodily abuse of Muslims in Austria has risen, in accordance with Dokustelle, an organisation that paperwork cases of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism. Between 2015 and 2016 – the most most contemporary 365 days that statistics are on hand – Islamophobic assaults elevated by 62 p.c to 253 incidents.

In a most contemporary example marking the originate of the new 365 days, Asel Tamga, « the first Viennese toddler » born in 2018, made worldwide headlines after she changed into as soon as self-discipline to a wave of Islamophobic and racist feedback.

The toddler changed into as soon as featured on the newspaper Heute’s Fb page, photographed within the palms of her headband-wearing mother. The publish changed into as soon as quick bombarded with feedback equivalent to: « Deport the scum in an instant » and « I’m hoping for a crib loss of life ».

The feedback escalated to such an extent that Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen intervened, writing on Fb: « Self belief and cohesion are bigger than hatred and incitement. Welcome, dear Asel! »

Security of non secular minorities are mentioned within the authorities programme, but ideally obedient with regard to struggling with the « persecution of non secular minorities – significantly Christian minorities » who needs to be pleasant in opposition to « extremist non secular ideologies (e.g. political Islam) ».

In the meantime, trained Austrian Muslim ladies fright that a ban on the veil, or hijab, would maybe presumably ensue after Austria’s newly-appointed Training Minister Heinz Fassman no longer too long within the past told a local paper that « academics will hold to never keep on a scarf ».

« This could maybe also hold an affect on other sectors and hold a destructive affect on the employment self-discipline which is precarious for visible Muslim ladies already, » acknowledged Dudu Kucukgol, a PhD pupil and researcher on sexism, racism and Islamophobia.

« Kurz changed into as soon as welcomed by the Muslim community when he started as state secretary in 2011. He made sure statements and really regarded as if it would bring a shift in paradigm.

« He changed into as soon as in opposition to headband debates, he strongly insisted that Muslims are a sure segment of the Austrian society. Nonetheless, after a few years his language and politics changed. »

Husein Veladzic, an imam of a mosque within the Austrian metropolis of Linz, alternatively, believes that the Islamophobic discourse would maybe presumably draw an opposite make in some aspects.

He has seen that as the far upright becomes more prevalent, more non-Muslim Austrians hold been visiting his mosque to hunt down out about Islam.

« The assaults [against Islam and Muslims] are heavy, clearly. But it also spurs an hobby for Islam. People originate asking themselves, ‘What’s [Islam]? Is it really savor this?’ Persons are informing themselves, » Veladzic acknowledged.

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