The Islam map presented by Integration Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) in Vienna on Thursday also provided “‘ political dynamite” for the debate in the provincial parliament on the measures to be taken against the tendencies of religiously motivated extremism in Upper Austria.
For Upper Austrian People’s Party (OÖVP) regional manager Wolfgang Hattmannsdorfer and FPÖ club chairman Herwig Mahr, the annotations to the map – which lists more than 600 institutions of Muslim organisations and religious communities – “clearly show the potential danger posed by extremist Islamic structures that are hostile to integration”.
For example, there are Islamic associations “that see integration as a danger, that warn against participating in the everyday customs common in Upper Austria, that advise against education at an Austrian university, that continue to advocate state-Turkish training for imams working in this country, or that generally want to create a fault line with our Western values”, according to Mahr and Hattmannsdorfer, the “central pointers” in the study. It is all the more important to recognise these dangers and to take decisive countermeasures for the sake of integration.
“The results of the study strengthen our demands for consistent steps in the fight against the agitation of political Islam,” said the two MPs. In Upper Austria we do not want “social coexistence and certainly not against each other, but peaceful coexistence” – which is why the status of the consultations on the package of measures against Islamism is “only an intermediate stop and not the final destination”, Hattmannsdorfer and Mahr emphasised.
They are not dissatisfied with the interim conclusion of the sub-committee, which has now been submitted to the Upper Austrian Parliament, as 13 of the 26 measures proposed by the Integration Department in the fight against Islamism and radicalisation are being implemented or are outside the responsibility of the Upper Austrian government. Ultimately, eight of the 26 proposals for measures still had to be implemented.
The guiding principle for integration, which has been in place since 2018, must be the pivotal point “for all integration policy measures and for the allocation of integration funding”. According to Hattmannsdorfer and Mahr, the clear mandate for the Integration Office is to “set priorities in the fight against political Islam”.
This must include, in particular, an evaluation of associations and groups, a deliberate strengthening of liberal groups, a focus on stopping radical platforms on the internet and the training of migrants in the critical use of internet platforms, the two emphasise.