1,061 Islamophobic attacks reported in Austria last year

Over 1,000 Islamophobic incidents were reported in Austria in 2021, according to a new report released on Thursday.

According to the 2021 Report on Anti-Muslim Racism released by the Austrian Documentation and Counseling Center for Muslims (Dokustelle Osterreich), the majority of 1,061 attacks took place on digital platforms as more social interaction was on the internet due to the COVID-19 restrictions .

The report said that 69% of those exposed to anti-Muslim racism, and verbal and physical attacks, were women and 26% were men.

In many incidents, women wearing headscarves were verbally harassed, and in some cases, they were subjected to physical assaults.

While 65.4% of the attacks against Muslims were carried out on online platforms, 34.6% of them happened in various areas of social life.

The report also said that men carried out 77% of the racist attacks, while 22% were carried out by women.

The report said hate speech and incitement toward Muslims contributed to 78.5% of the total incidents.

While insults constituted 9.1% of the reported cases of anti-Muslim racism, physical damage to property belonging to Muslims constituted 2.4%.

Some 4% of the reported cases were discriminatory practices and racist behavior against Muslims in various areas of social life.

It was also reported that other racist incidents, including ill-treatment by the police, threats, psychological violence and physical harassment represented 6.2% of the total cases.

Attacks against Muslims rapidly increased after the Austrian government released its controversial National Map of Islam in 2021 and placed signs across the country warning of nearby mosques that may constitute a threat. The Council of Europe demanded Austria withdraw the controversial “Islam map.” The publication of the map is hostile to Muslims and potentially counterproductive, the European human rights body said in a statement.

Muslims across Austria feel threatened by the publication of appeals and other details amid growing Islamophobia in the country, especially after the deadly attack in Vienna in November 2020. The Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGOE), which represents the interests of roughly 800,000 Muslims in Austria, warned against stigmatizing Muslims living in the country “as a potential danger to society and the democratic legal order in the country.”

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