Study proven: Mosque association radicalised young people in Austria

In autumn 2018, the so-called Ummet Mosque in Feldkirch in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, which had attracted attention due to controversial Koran distributions among other things, was closed down. Now a comprehensive study proves that the association had actually contributed to the jihadist radicalisation of young people in Germany and Austria with its actions. Some of the teenagers also became involved in terrorist organizations, such as the Isalmic State. The Ummet Mosque in particular was described by the study authors as “politically Salafistic”, the mosque operators also refused to talk to the authors. The mosque community was the starting point for activities in Vorarlberg as part of the ” Read! campaign “, during which translations of the Koran were distributed at information stands in Vorarlberg’s cities. According to the study, this campaign had contributed greatly to the jihadist radicalisation of young people in Germany and Austria.Some of the young people addressed in this way had ended up in Syria in 2014/2015 with the Islamic State or with other jihadist organisations. In the small prayer room, suitable for about 50 people, mainly young Salafi Vorarlbergers with Chechen, Dagestani, Bosniac, Turkish, Kurdish and Afghan migration backgrounds had gathered until autumn 2018. The Vorarlberg Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the security authorities have monitored the association, even after the closure of the mosque this applies to the active members who remained in Vorarlberg. In Vorarlberg there were 37 Islamic prayer houses at the time of the study (including the Ummet Mosque), about 12,900 people – not quite 25 percent of the Muslim population of the country – had and have a membership in mosque associations. 32 mosque associations are supported by five supra-regional umbrella organisations: AIF (Austrian Islamic Federation), ATF (Austrian Turkish Federation), ATİB (Turkish-Islamic Union in Austria), VIKZ (Association of Islamic Cultural Centres) and IZBA (Association of Bosniac Islamic Associations in Austria). The other five were or are individual associations.

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