Anti-Muslim attacks on the rise after publication of Austrian ‘map of Islam’
After the Austrian government released its controversial national map of Islam last month and placed signs across the country warning of nearby mosques that could pose a threat, attacks on Muslims increased rapidly, highlighting new wave of hatred towards the minority group in the European Union. -member country.
Racist attacks and labeling have increased dramatically since Austria released its “map of Islam” last month, the leader of a Muslim community group said on Saturday.
“Attacks against Muslims have increased after this incident. Horrible posters were hung on our mosques, ”said Ümit Vural, president of the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGO). “We had said that this website had to be taken offline as soon as possible – that it could be dangerous,” Vural told Anadolu (AA) agency. “I’m sorry, but all of our concerns turned out to be true.”
After the unveiling of the digital map identifying the location of more than 600 mosques and associations in Austria on May 27, racist attacks against Muslims have increased, especially against mosques, which have become the target of racist groups. Anti-Muslim incendiary signs have reportedly been hung in mosques in various cities, particularly in the capital Vienna, over the past two days. The signs depict an “angry Muslim” and a warning of the dangers of political Islam below. “Be careful! Political Islam nearby”, we can read.
Vural said that while the map was not a new phenomenon, the government’s continued support for the project through its political Islam documentation center had taken the issue to a new level. He noted that the map, which could be seen as showing that “all Muslims are dangerous,” was prepared using one-sided data, with officials appointing any Muslim they choose a representative of “political Islam.” Requests to correct information on the map, meanwhile, were ignored by the team that conducted the study, Vural said.
He stressed that his group has not been able to explain to authorities why various policies, such as the headscarf ban in primary schools and the establishment of the Documentation Center on Political Islam, are wrong.
“We see very clearly that Muslims are treated differently. If we are an officially recognized religion here, we want the same treatment as the other 15 religious communities. We don’t want different or special treatment,” he said. . Vural also stressed that Muslims are part of Austria and any problem could be resolved through dialogue.
Focus on identity politics
Martin Weinberger, an activist in Austria, said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his administration prioritized identity politics and ignored certain elements of society in favor of a specific identity, which he said culminated with the publication. from the menu.
Weinberger said that by using the term “political Islam,” the government tries to present Muslims as potential suspects, while Muslims face various “intent reading” measures to prove that they are not. supporters of “political Islam”.
“The Islamic map was not supported by the University of Vienna because it is contrary to science,” Weinberger said, adding that the headscarf ban in primary schools and the placement of Israeli flags in buildings in the state are manifestations of identity politics.
“It is also against the law, we have a constitution, and this constitution must be respected. For this reason, we must raise our voice very strongly to prevent this policy which endangers Muslims and divides the country.”
Austrian officials have defended the map, launched online by Austria’s Integration Ministry, amid growing criticism within the country’s Muslim community. “This is by no means a general suspicion of Muslims. It is a question of the common struggle against political Islam as a fertile ground for extremism,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday. Integration Susanne Raab in the German newspaper WELT.
The IGGO, which represents the interests of approximately 800,000 Muslims, warned against stigmatizing all Muslims living in this country “as a potential danger to society and the democratic legal order of the country.”
While major media agencies were silent about human rights violations in Austria, activists took to social media to denounce the current Islamophobic stance of Austrian politicians. Miqdaad Versi, management consultant and spokesperson for the Muslim Council, wrote on Twitter that the Austrian state is failing in its duty to treat Muslims fairly.
“His ‘map of Islam’ was outrageous and appears to have facilitated the demonization of Muslims under the rubric of targeting only ‘political Islam’,” he said, adding that the banners are an “example of the dangers of state sponsored Islamophobia in Austria.
“The far-right government has released a map of all mosques and now signs are installed near ordinary mosques.”
Another prominent voice against anti-Muslim hatred, Farid Hafez claimed that the map of Islam was launched by the Documentation Center 4, an Austrian public fund of numerous anti-Muslim authors.
“I cannot imagine that a similar register of names and organizations would be produced for other faith groups. Local police have been helpful and present, but it’s not enough when senior government officials effectively mark mosques like ours for targeting, “he said on Twitter on Saturday, referring to the national map. Islam providing details of the 620 mosques and Islamic associations in the country, with location, address and names of those responsible. “The targeting of Muslims is the latest step in the government’s racist policies and follows to the raids of Operation Luxor in November 2020. These raids targeted 60 homes of prominent Muslims. “
Kurz – who is at the center of a corruption scandal, with the resignation of his center-right party following the publication of a series of text messages containing sexist and racist language – could face another trial as the Austrian Muslim Youth group is considering filing a complaint for unveiling the controversial map.
“The publication of all the names, functions and addresses of Muslim institutions and institutions that have been read as Muslim represents an unprecedented border crossing,” the group said.