Farid Hafez

Political Scientist, Visiting Professor of International Studies at Williams College, Senior Fellow at Bridge Initiative/Georgetown University

Austria, the champion of institutionalized Islamophobia

The current Austrian government has been in place for nearly one year now, and it has made good on most of the claims it had presented in the coalition’s program for government. In a super rapid way, the coalition, which was formed by the Christian-democratic conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the radical right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), implemented one piece of legislation after the other to combat what it calls “political Islam.” While the term political Islam has generally not been used in the past by the Austrian authorities, such as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, which uses the term Islamism, the government has deliberately introduced this term in its coalition program to threaten not extremist and violent threats, but common Muslims, representing the weakest part of Austrian society. Read full op-ed here