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.