Unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim racism in Austria, new report reveals

The “Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Racism Documentation Centre” in Austria recorded 1,522 cases of racist attacks against Muslims in 2023, the highest number since documentation began in 2015, according to the center’s president, Remisa Quidder.

The Austrian news agency (APA) reported that the number of reported cases has seen a significant increase since the escalation of violence in the Middle East, with many incidents recorded between October and December compared to the first nine months of the year.

Dunya Khalil, head of legal consultations at the center, explained that schools were the first place where an increase in racist incidents was reported, with many incidents being reported by parents, students, and teachers.

The center witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of reported cases, receiving 507 cases from victims and witnesses in 2023, double the number from the previous year, while the center’s monitoring team documented 1,015 cases online.

The report indicated that two-thirds of the documented cases occurred online, while the remaining third occurred in the real world. The majority of the cases involved discrimination at 40.8% and insults at 19.5%. Hate speech accounted for 8.9% of the documented cases, and 2.6% involved physical assaults.

The report confirmed that women were the most vulnerable to this racism, with 50.1% of documented cases involving Muslim women compared to 19.5% for Muslim men, while the gender of the rest was unknown.

The center also witnessed a significant increase in the number of reported cases in May due to a study conducted by the University of Vienna among Muslim school students and its media coverage.

The centre warned that its statistics are just a snapshot and that the actual number of racist incidents is much higher, emphasizing that this alarming development contributes to social division and called for more attention to be given to anti-Muslim racism.

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