Islam in Austria

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The interior of a mosque in Salzburg

Islam is a minority religion in Austria with 4.22% of the population in the 2001 census. Most Muslims came to Austria after 1960. They were migrant workers from Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. There are also communities of Arab and Pakistani origin.

The westernmost Bundesland Vorarlberg has the highest share of Muslims in the country with 8.36%. There is a lot of industry there. It is followed by the capital Vienna with 7.82%. The central Bundesländer Salzburg, Upper Austria, Tyrol and Lower Austria have an average Muslim population. The south-eastern states of Styria, Carinthia as well as Burgenland in the east have fewer Muslims than the average.

Austria is unique among Western European countries. It is until now the only country that has granted Muslims the status of a recognized religious community. They were first recognised after Austria-Hungary's annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878. Austria has regulated the religious freedoms of the Muslim community with the so called "Anerkennungsgesetz" ("Act of Recognition"). This law was reactivated in 1979 when the Community of Muslim Believers in Austria (Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich) was founded. This organization has the right to give lessons of religious education in state schools. It could also collect "church tax", but so far it has not exercised this privilege. It does not build, finance or administer mosques in Austria.

Parallel structures exist within the Islamic religious group. The religious life takes place in mosques belonging to organisations. These organisations represent one of the currents of Turkish, Bosnian and Arab Muslims. Among the Turkish organisations, the "Federation of Turkish-Islamic Associations" is controlled by the Directorate for Religious Affairs, whereas the other groups, such as the Süleymancıs and Milli Görüş can be seen as branches of the pan-European organisation centered in Germany.

Muslims in Austria according to their ethnic groups[change | edit source]

Nationality Population Year
Turks 109,700 [source?]
Bosniaks 85,200 [source?]
Afghans 31,300 [source?]
Kurds 26,770 [source?]
Albanians 20,520 [source?]
Iranians 12,452 [source?]
Arabs 12,100 [source?]
Indo-Pakistanis 8,490 [source?]
Serbians 3,045 [source?]

Further reading[change | edit source]