After a study found one fifth of Austria’s Islamic religious education teachers to have anti-democratic views, politicians are voicing concerns, and far-right parties are calling for drastic measures.
In a dissertation project on Islamic religious education in Austria, 21.9 per cent of surveyed teachers said they were opposed to democracy because it is at odds with Islam. Some 27 percent opposed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the same reason, said Mouhanad Khorchide, the study’s author and a religious education researcher at the University of Vienna. “I think this gives cause for concern,” Khorchide said in a telephone interview.
The dissertation, which is to be published in the coming weeks in Germany, was made public Tuesday by the Vienna weekly Der Falter. The Education Ministry reacted swiftly, demanding that the Muslim community’s teaching inspectors by February 12 should explain “how the goals of the community’s Islamic education and its compliance with the goals of civic education … are safeguarded.” The inspectors supervise Austria’s 350 to 400 Islamic religious educators. Staying true to their anti-Islamic stance, Austria’s far-right parties showed less patience or rhetorical restraint. “Religious education teachers who take pride in their radical position must be immediately deported, as they are not compatible with our set of values,” said Monika Muehlwerth, education spokeswoman of Austria’s Freedom Party.