I: Islamic Religious Education in Europe – Country Reports

Islamic Religious Education in Austria

Michael Kramer

State-Church Relations and the Muslim

Communities in Austria

State and Church in Austria

In Austria, the relationship between the state and religion was mainly shaped by the relationship with the Catholic Church during the Habsburg monarchy. In the process of secularising and liberalising laws, the state enacted the State Basic Act of 1867 on the General Rights and Duties of Citizens (StGG - Staatsgrundgesetz}, which grants ‘legally recognised churches and religious communities’ a broad area of autonomy in religious affairs. While Article 14 StGG provides religious freedom for individuals, Article 15 StGG states that ‘[e]very church and religious community regulates and administers its internal affairs independently and remains in the possession and enjoyment of its institutions, foundations, and funds intended for worship, education, and charity, but, like any other society, is subject to general state laws’.

Through legal recognition, churches and religious communities receive the status of public body sui generis, which allows them “to perform duties of public interest, including social, cultural and political duties” (Jaggle and Klutz, 2015, 39). To date there exist 16 churches and religious communities,1 including two Islamic religious communities.

The Muslim Communities in Austria

With the occupation of the two former Turkish provinces Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and their annexation in 1908, around half a million Muslims came under Austrian-Hungarian administration (Rustemovic, 2019, 20). In 1912 the Islam Act granted public religious freedom in all Austrian territories for Muslims by recognising devotees of Islam according to the Hanafi rite as a religious community (Potz, 2010, 392). In addition, this act, which had no practical effect after the First World War and the breakdown of the Habsburg monarchy, guaranteed institutional self-government and administration of ‘Islamic’ affairs, including pious foundations and school matters. After the loss of Bosnia and Herzegovina with their Islamic community, the organisation of the few remaining Muslims in Austria was not developed at all.

During the 1960s, the Association of Muslim Social Service was established for the legal integration of the Muslim community in Austria. Between the 1960s and early 1970s, the number of Muslims in Austria increased due to labour migration from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey (Hadzic, 2019). In 1979, the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IRCA) had been legally recognised as a religious community and had gained rights and duties similar to those of other recognised churches and religious communities. These included the accommodation of religious needs and the representation of the interests of its members, the establishment, maintenance, and management of its institutions, the proclamation and preservation of its doctrine, and the provision of religious education (RE) in the educational system.'2

Between 2001 and 2016, the Muslim proportion of the Austrian population grew from 4% to 8% (Goujon, 2017, 11), which is more or less in line with the Pew Research Center’s estimated 6.9% of Muslims in 2016 (Pew Research Center, 2017). Most Muslims in Austria have a Turkish migration background, but there are also large groups of Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina and from other parts of the former Yugoslavia (Aslan, Kolb and Yildiz, 2017). In 2015 and 2016, the Muslim population grew as a result of increased asylum seeking, mainly from Arabic countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but also from African countries such as Nigeria and Somalia.3

Since the repeal of the words “according to the Hanafi rite” in the Islam Act of 1912 by the Constitutional Court in 1987,1 IRCA has claimed official representation for all Muslims living in Austria despite their heterogeneity (Bauer, 2016, 16). The latter has become more apparent since Islamic religious groups such as Alevis and Shiites have increased and sought recognition as well. In 2010, the ‘Islamic-Alevi Religious Community in Austria’ was registered as a state-registered religious denominational community,5 and three years later it was legally recognised as a religious community (Hammer, 2018). This combination of Islam and Alevi was, however, not taken for granted by all Alevi members, and as a result, the Federation of Alevis, which rejects an Islamic connotation, is still - now at the ECtHR - fighting for the status of a denominational community (APA-OTS, 2019). Shiites have held the rank of a denominational community since 2013, with the ambition to become an ‘official’ religious community with a clearly differentiated doctrine in contrast to those of IRCA and Alevi and the required number of two per thousand of the total population.

In 2015, a new Islam Act was enacted by the Parliament. The act1’ applies to both recognised Islamic organisations, that is, IRCA and the

Islamic-Alevi Religious Community in Austria. The latter, although an Islamic religious community in a legal sense, refused identification with Islam in 2015 and changed its name to Alevite Religious Community (ALEVI) (Hammer, 2018). In a constructive way, the act led to increased legal certainty about the practice of Islam in Austria with new legal bases for previously unregulated areas, such as the naming of religious holidays, regulations on Islamic cemeteries, or the establishment of Islamic theological studies.' Nonetheless, the act also triggered harsh criticisms, especially with regard to the prohibition of foreign financing (IRCA, 2015).

Religion and Education in Austria: General Overview

Historically, the state acquired the right of supreme authority and the supervision of the entire educational system over the Catholic Church in 1867, except for RE. As a matter of power sharing and cooperation, each church or religious community is in charge of the provision, direction, supervision, and inspection of RE, the training and employment of RE teachers, and the preparation of curricula and textbooks. On the other hand, the state finances RE, the school principals are responsible for the practical organisation of RE (e.g., creating the timetable), and the school authorities can supervise RE teachers as government employees after meeting specific criteria (duration, qualification, etc.) (Potz and Schinkele, 2016, 211ff). RE in Austria can be understood as confessional education with the aim of nurturing pupils in their religion. With respect to Islamic religious education (IRE) organised by IRCA, Muslim teachers instruct pupils in the Islamic religion and tradition in a non-Islamic society, which is why IRE is also “the place of learning of ‘self-positioning’, identity and inner home of Muslim children” so they can acquire skills to face society with confidence, trust, and certainty, especially in situations that are perceived as threatening and uncertain (Aslan, 2008, 5).

According to the Religious Education Act of 1949 (RUG -Religionsunterrichtsgesetz}, RE is, with a few exceptions, ensured throughout almost the entire educational system for both governmental and non-governmental schools (§1). The latter are either secular or confessional when established by churches or religious communities. According to the Private School Act of 1962 (Privatschulgesetz), faith-based schools are provided with subsidies for their personnel costs if they are established under public law and refer to the regular state curriculum (§17ff). In contrast, non-governmental secular schools do not have the same privileges and must meet additional requirements in order to receive state subsidies (§21). In the school year 2017-18, about 12% of over 6,000 schools were non-governmental schools, in which approximately 10% of the pupils were enrolled. Of these schools, 43.5% were under the patronage of churches and religious communities (Statistik Austria, 2019, 30). All over Austria, there are only 13 non-governmental Islamic schools, which are all located in Vienna: seven compulsory schools, five secondary higher schools, and one evening school.8 In general, IRE in these schools is similar to IRE in governmental schools, but with the essential difference of autonomous practical organisation, such as the creation of the timetable.

The Place of Islam Within National Life and Education

Austria was always known as an immigration country and a safe haven for refugees, such as during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s (Mattes and Rosenberger, 2015, 131) and also during the conflict in Syria and Iraq. In 2015, the 50-Points-Plan for the Integration of Recognised Refugees and Beneficiaries of Subsidiary Protection in Austria' was published by the state. It includes obligatory value and orientation courses and the promotion of an understanding of an ‘Islam of a European character’, by which the state means a progressive, that is, modern and liberal Islam, which allows an interpretation of religious scriptures following the primacy of state laws over religious norms and the separation of state and religious institutions. Central components include the basic principles of the Austrian Constitution such as equal rights for men and women, human dignity and democracy. In order to promote such a concept, the programme highlights the need for an academic Islamic theological discourse from the professorships at Austrian universities.

A closer look at the consequences of the debates about Muslims in Austria shows, as in many other European countries, that Muslim women have primarily been the focus of political discourses about freedom of religion on the one hand and other liberal democratic values on the other. In October 2017, the Anti-Face-Covering Act (Anti-Gesichtsverhüllungsgesetz} was enacted, which prohibits the full-face veil in public areas (§2) and aims to promote integration by strengthening participation in social life (§1). In November 2018 and in May 2019, bans on headscarves for girls in kindergarten10 and in primary schools were enacted. The latter became part of the School Education Act (§ 43a SchuG - SchulunterrichtsgesetA and aimed to encourage the social integration of children in line with local customs and traditions, the safeguarding of the fundamental constitutional values and educational objectives of the Constitution, and the equality of men and women.11 Notwithstanding these intentions, heavy criticisms followed from churches and religious communities, intellectuals, and the opposition because the law would create rather than solve problems and would oppose rather than stimulate integration. IRCA (2019) also accused the state of discrimination, since the intention of the legislature can be found in a non-binding statement that male Sikhs and Jewish boys are excluded.12 In December 2020 the Constitutional Court finally repealed the ban due to reasons of equality and state neutrality.13 This decision hinders further plans of the current government to extend the prohibition of wearing headscarves for girls until they reach the age of fourteen.14

Overall, a negative sentiment towards immigrants (Hajek and Siegl,

  • 2017) and especially towards Islam and Muslims can be observed. The results of the Social Survey Austria (SSO) among the majority population on the social position of Muslims in Austria show that 87% call for Muslims to adapt to Austrian culture, 79% want to observe Islamic communities more closely, and around half of the interviewees believe that Muslims should be restricted in their religious practice (Aschauer,
  • 2018) . A few examples of this trend are the anti-Muslim racism displayed by certain political actors, such as the far-right Freedom Party (SOS Mitmensch, 2019; Zara, 2018); the Islamist propaganda from terrorist organisations or political movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood or the Turkish Mill! Gdru$ (Scholz and Heinisch, 2019); and the media reporting on the thinking of society in general (Hajek, Siegl and Schwaiger, 2012). Also noteworthy in this context is the book Kulturkampf im Klassenzimmer {Culture Clash in the Classroom}, a controversial book written by the teacher Susanne Wiesinger and the journalist Jan Thies in 2018. Notwithstanding its controversial nature, headmasters have confirmed some problematic developments mentioned in the book (Der Standard, 2019), such as the effort of young people to put religious practice (e.g., fasting, prayer, clothing) above everything else and to boycott everything that is haram. With regard to IRE, it has been reported in the book and confirmed by headmasters that the teaching is reminiscent of the Catholic RE of the 1920s, aiming only to strengthen faith (Wiesinger and Thies, 2018, 58).

Religious Education and Islamic Religious Education in Austria: The Current Situation

Each church or religious community in Austria has the right to offer publicly funded RE within the country’s educational system in governmental as well as in non-governmental schools. RE is currently provided by 15 of the 16 churches and religious communities15 (Jaggle and Klutz, 2015). Since two Islamic religious communities are officially recognised, there are two types of IRE: IRCA-RE and ALEVI-RE. The former was introduced in the school year 1982-83, which is three years after the foundation of IRCA. From this time on, the number of pupils who attend IRCA-RE has been steadily increasing, as Table 1.1 shows.

The ALEVI, with approximately 80,000 adherents, introduced ALEVI-RE in the school year 2014-15. In this year, 2,028 pupils received

Table 1.1 IRCA-RE in Austria

Number of

IRCA-IRE students

Number of IRCA-IRE teachers

Number of schools with IRCA-IRE









ALEVI-RE in 140 schools, and 51 teachers were appointed for this task (Erdogan, 2017, 202). In the following sections, IRE will only be understood as IRE organised by IRCA, although much information also applies to ALEVI, especially in the legal sense.

‘Compulsory’ Subject with Opt-Out Possibility

In governmental and non-governmental schools, every pupil who belongs to a recognised church or religious community must attend RE of the respective church or community. However, in spite of this formal legislation, opting out within the first five days of each school year is possible in the context of human rights law - no one can be forced to join confessional RE; cf. Termperman’s contribution in this volume (Potz, 2018, 407). In the province of Tyrol, 41% of the students were exempted from IRE in the school year 2013-14, mainly because IRE is often scheduled in the afternoon and is perceived by parents and pupils as having marginal value. Besides, ethnicity, ideology, and the teacher’s qualifications are often decisive factors for parents to either deregister their children from IRE or to apply for it (Tuna, 2014, 43). In faith-based schools, the situation is different. In these schools, RE in the respective religion is organised as a compulsory subject without the possibility of opting out (Jaggle and Klutz, 2015, 52). In general, RE is scheduled for two hours a week, but if the number of students is too low, a reduction to one hour is permitted. No IRE will be provided for fewer than three pupils (§7a RUG).

Border: Citizenship Education

One of the main legal requirements for RE is that the subject must not contradict citizenship education (§2 RUG). This implies that the IRE content should, in accordance with the Islam Act of 2015, not oppose the educational aims of the state. Instead, IRE should orient itself to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the StGG 1867 and the ECHR.18 Furthermore, in Article 14, §5a of the Austrian Constitution, the following explicit educational aims are mentioned:

Democracy, humanity, solidarity, peace and justice, as well as openness and tolerance towards people, are basic values of the school, on the

Islamic Religious Education in Austria 23 basis of which it ensures the highest possible level of education for the entire population, regardless of origin, social situation and financial background, under constant assurance and further development of the best possible quality. In a spirit of partnership between pupils, parents and teachers, children and young people must be given the best possible mental, spiritual and physical development so that they can become healthy, self-confident, happy, performance-oriented, committed, artistic and creative people who are capable of assuming responsibility for themselves, their fellow human beings, the environment and future generations in accordance with social, religious and moral values. [...]

The curricula and textbooks for (DRE must meet the standards of modern pedagogy and the dimension of citizenship. In the IRCA curricula of each grade, the following common points related to citizenship can be found: human rights, human dignity, pluralism, freedom of expression, freedom of faith, interreligious dialogue, democracy, integration, and belonging (Sejdini, 2015, 79). In the event of non-compliance with these requirements and a lack of willingness to cooperate on the part of the responsible churches or religious communities, the measure of last resort could be to withdraw its official body status under public law (Potz, 2018, 408).

Islamic Religious Education Teachers

In Austria, there are two different types of employment for RE teachers, all of whom are paid by the province or the federal state. At the very beginning, every RE teacher is - based upon a religious teaching authorisation19 - employed by the respective church or religious community for all levels of teaching. At the request of the school board of IRCA and the approval of qualifications, IRE teachers usually are supervised either by one of the nine provinces for compulsory schools or by the federal state for higher school levels.20 However, in both types of employment, the withdrawal of the authorisation by IRCA constitutes a reason for termination of employment (Potz and Schinkele, 2016, 213 f).

In 2009, Mouhanad Khorchide examined the attitudes of IRE teachers. Sometimes the results were shocking and stimulated political debate. For instance, 70% of IRE teachers considered IRE to be an opportunity for preaching, in which rituals and fiqh have the highest priority, while only 42% of them prioritised the task of enlightenment and critical reflection on traditional Islamic theology within a European society. Twenty-eight percent saw a contradiction between being Muslim and being European, 22% rejected democracy due to incompatibility with Islam, and about 14% rejected the Austrian Constitution (Khorchide, 2009b, 59).

For the sake of fairness, it is important to mention that the majority of IRE teachers were and are generally democracy friendly and have apositive attitude towards the Austrian state, its population, and other religions. Nevertheless, criticism must be made where it is relevant. In 2019, a dozen IRE teachers in Vienna were suspected of being associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Turkish nationalist Islamic association Milli Gdrü§, and/or the Turkish president Erdogan (Addendum, 2019b). These and other conservative attitudes have been criticised by Ednan Aslan, who condemns the fact that the appointment of IRE teachers is generally based on their theological and ideological views rather than on their pedagogical skills. This policy is facilitated by IRCA’s autonomy over IRE, but it should, according to Aslan, be replaced by a more Eurooriented and progressive policy (Kurier, 2017).

In order to improve the situation, Khorchide (2009b) demanded stronger cooperation between the state and I RCA, the development of an IRE that contributes to a European-Islamic identity, the establishment of an institution to promote dialogue between the state and Muslims, and the establishment of further training institutions for IRE teachers. Provoked by Khorchide’s study and his recommendations, a ‘5-Point-Programme’ was developed jointly by the Ministry of Education and IRCA. The first two points stated that (1) all IRE teachers have to sign a new contract of employment starting from the school year 2009-10, emphasising the fundamental commitment to democracy, human rights, tolerance, and the promotion of citizenship education. In addition (2), IRCA takes on the responsibility to suspend teachers who demonstrate against democratic values or human rights (Khorchide, 2009b, 34).

Islamic Religious Education in Austria: Curricula, Textbooks, Teacher Training and Inspection

IRCA bears the responsibility not only for the appointment of its IRE teachers, but also for the preparation of curricula and textbooks and the inspection of IRE through its appointed inspectors. In the third point of the abovementioned 5-Point-Programme, (3) IRCA had to take responsibility to create new curricula for IRE based on modern quality criteria and teaching objectives. In addition - and this is the fourth point- (4) all textbooks and teaching materials had to be reviewed by IRCA and by an independent scientific advisory board. Finally, (5) IRE inspectors had to send activity reports about IRE teachers to the Ministry of Education twice a year (Khorchide, 2009b, 34).

Teacher Training

Before the establishment of teacher training programmes in Austria, IRE teachers were recruited from abroad. Between 1983 and 1998, IRCA employed a vast number of so-called imported IRE teachers who lacked not only language,

but also pedagogical and theological skills. The first Islamic teaching programme was made possible through the establishment of the Islamic Religious Pedagogical Academy (IRPA) in 1998. The theological subjects of this programme were exclusively delivered in Arabic, mainly by professors recruited from Arabic countries, who lacked knowledge and experience of the social conditions in Europe. (Khorchide, 2009a, 61)

The students had to attend a two-semester Arabic course in order to be able to follow the theological subjects. Due to the subordination of pedagogy, IRE teachers were trained pedagogically at the Federal Pedagogical Academy in Vienna (Aslan, 2013, 147).

In accordance with the 5-Point-Programme, some efforts have been made to improve teacher training programmes: study programmes in Islamic religious pedagogy were implemented at the Institute for Islamic Theology and Religious Pedagogy at the University of Innsbruck (from 2011), at the Ecclesiastical College of Pedagogy in Vienna and Krems/Donau (from 2015), and at the Institute for Islamic Theological Studies at the University of Vienna (since 2017). In addition, a four-semester course at the University of Graz, aiming at further education and skill enhancement, was organised for one time in 2018 for IRE teachers in Styria and Carinthia.

Despite these important initiatives, a recent quantitative study in Styria and Carinthia showed, among other things, that 80% of the IRE teachers involved had an academic degree, but only 25% had subjectspecific teacher training according to Austrian standards. The study also indicated that, due to the fact that IRE teachers (like other RE teachers) often have to work in many schools, these teachers are in general less integrated into school life and might miss parent-teacher evenings or school conferences (Weirer and Gmoser, 2018, 18ff).


New IRE curricula were prepared by an appointed commission of IRCA and were published in 2011 for the different school types and levels. For both primary and secondary schools, the new curricula include the following teaching principles: consensus-oriented, holistic, pupil-oriented, gender equal, educating for autonomy, individualised, promoting a sense of identity, empowering to critical thinking and acting, interdisciplinary, and interreligious.

In general, the IRE curricula emphasise pupils’ responsibility to themselves, to God, to other people, and to all of creation based on the values of respect, peace, and justice. Furthermore, IRE curricula state that the confessional character of IRE leads to the clear orientation of pupils and enables them to take a personal point of view and to respect the opinions of pupils from other religions or philosophies.

With regard to citizenship education, the curricula postulate the compatibility of Islam with the values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and pluralism. IRE should promote an Austrian-Muslim identity for a responsible, unbiased, tolerant, and self-determined lifestyle in a pluralistic society by enabling pupils to strengthen their bonds to Allah and the Republic of Austria.21

A closer look at the curricula, however, reveals that the Alevis are not mentioned once, and Shiites also play a subordinate role. With its Sunni orientation, IRCA is challenged to represent all Muslims on the one hand and the diversity in Islam on the other; this is only expressed in abstract terms in the curricula.


Until 2013, the content of IRE textbooks was either taken from Turkish IRE textbooks or translated from books about classical Islamic theology, such as Permitted and Forbidden in Islam byjusuf al-Qaradawi (1994) or Islam in My Lifeyy Nebi Uysal (1996). Even though textbooks for RE do not require state approval, they must follow the principle of citizenship education. Hence, IRE textbooks could hardly meet the requirements of local conditions in Austria, which is why new books called Islamstunde were published in 2013 for primary and lower secondary education. However, the first and second editions (2015) have been criticised by experts. The criticism focused on the Arabisation of Islam as an obstacle for an Islam of a European character, the representation of a particular way of life as the only right way of life, and the separation between believers and non-believers. Further criticism was directed at a belief system that works with fear in the sense of a poisonous pedagogy (i.e., a pedagogy characterised by a picture of God as a punishing God who disempowers and threatens the children), the lack of promoting critical thinking, the sole portrayal of Muslims as victims in a majority society, the importance of the headscarf as a sign of desirable piety, and the uncritical handling of primary religious sources regardless of their contexts (Addendum, 2019a).


At present, 13 inspectors are appointed by IRCA for the different school types in the Austrian provinces. While the organisational and disciplinary aspects of school inspection are the responsibility of the state school authorities (Federal Ministry and Directorates of Education), IRCA inspectors are responsible for the direct supervision and inspection of IRE teachers, as well as teaching content and methods (Potz, 2018, 402). On the issue of disregard for citizenship education, for example

Islamic Religious Education in Austria 27 through Salafi indoctrination, IRE teachers are under the direct supervision of IRCA only. Although headmasters are permitted to observe IRE lessons, they cannot fire IRE teachers (and RE teachers in general). If (I)RE teachers who are employed by the provinces or by the federal state (cf. supra) infringe their general duties as teachers, if there is a possibility of objection, or if there is a serious violation, the school authorities may terminate them (Schwendenwein, 2009, 91). However, if RE teachers are employed by a church or religious community, [t]he administration in public schools cannot impose disciplinary measures on them. According to the Constitutional Court, the public school administration can only inform the respective confessional school authority of any infringements of school rules. It would be at the discretion of the respective church or religious community to take disciplinary sanctions with respect to such teachers. However, state school authorities could ban a teacher from classes, if necessary, in order to maintain general school discipline and a controlled process of instruction (Potz and Schinkele, 2016, 214).

Improving Islamic Religious Education in Austria: Recent Trends, Initiatives, and Future Prospects

Despite a long tradition of IRE in Austria, the subject still needs improvement. To encourage the preparation of more qualified IRE teachers, more education facilities are needed. More care should also be taken at the time of appointment and better control and inspection practised during employment. Besides, there is a strong demand that the state takes more responsibility (Gmoser and Weirer, 2019, 188) to protect pupils from dangerous and exclusive doctrines that threaten social integration and cohesion. In this sense, intensive cooperation between the state and IRCA, in which the appointed inspectors of IRCA can act as bridge-builders between school authorities, parents, and pupils, would be desirable (Rayachi, 2018, 582). Hence the initiation in 2015 (by the then State Secretary for Integration Sebastian Kurz) of an institutionalised dialogue between federal government expert consultants and IRCA. Additionally, textbooks need to be revised and adapted in order to promote an Austrian-Muslim identity and to establish an Islam of a European character. The same applies to curricula; at present, IRCA has insufficiently dealt with the diversity in Islam and other Islamic denominations such as Shi’a and Alevi.

In addition to these improvements of IRE in a strict sense, it is also important to have a look at more general RE trends and initiatives, as they also have repercussions for IRE. The Catholic Church, for instance, has initiated several alternative teaching concepts, such as the intra-religious project Confessional-Cooperative RE (Danner, 2015)

with other Christian churches, or the current interdisciplinary (but due its compulsory character highly controversial) project ‘Values -Intercultural Learning - Religions’, including all churches and religious communities (Erzbischöfliches Amt für Schule und Bildung Wien, 2019). Another alternative is currently being implemented within the state-funded research project Integration through Inter-Religious Education,22 which examines and conducts interreligious learning through team teaching with pupils and teachers from the Catholic Church and IRCA on a pre-defined topic over three to four weeks in six schools of different education levels.23

Finally, after more than 20 years of school trials, ethics will be introduced in the school year 2020-21 as a compulsory subject in upper secondary schools for those pupils who do not attend RE.24 This can facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to alternative RE projects linking (DRE and ethics, in which the entire class could be taught together instead of being divided into different classes of RE and ethics.


Guided by the legal framework of RE in Austria, IRCA has made improvements in IRE in recent years, but some problems remain, and the exclusionary treatment of Muslims by the state on the one hand and inadequate improvements of IRE by IRCA on the other complicate the relationship between these two actors. Despite the challenges to this relationship, IRE has enormous potential for the formation of an Austrian-Muslim identity and for the integration of Muslim pupils into the European context (cf. Aslan, 2008). Healthy cooperation between the state and IRCA is needed to realise the ideal integration of IRE.


  • 1. These are: Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Evangelical Church A.B. and H.B., United Methodist Church, Free Churches, Greek-Oriental (Orthodox) Church, The Church ofjesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism), Coptic Orthodox Church, New Apostolic Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Buddhist Religious Community, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Israelite Religious Community, Alevi Religious Community (ALEVI) and Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IRCA).
  • 2. See Article 2 of the IRCA Constitution, approved on 12 February 2020. Available from: http://www.derislam.at/iggo/quellen/Download/Verfassung_ IGGOe_12.02.2020.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 3. Federal Ministry of the Interior, Asylstatistik 2019. Available from: https:// www.bmi.gv.at/301/Statistiken/files/Jahresstatistiken/AsylJahresstatistik_ 2019.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 4. The Court’s decision of 10 December, 1987 is available from: https:// www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Vfgh/JFT_10128790_87G00146_00/ JFT_10128790_87G00146_00.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 5. Denominational Commmunities (Staatlich eingetragene religiose Bekenntnisgemeinschaften) are not official bodies under public law but enjoy legal personality, if they got statutes and at least 300 adherents. The status of denominational communities, which came into play with the Act of Denom-minational Communities in 1998 (Bekenntnisgemeinschaftengesetz), may be seen as an instrument to delay the application procedure for churches and religious communities, as the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses against Austria shows (ECtHR, Jehovas Zeugen in Österreich v. Austria, Appl. No. 27540/05).
  • 6. Summary of Islam Act 2015 in different languages. Available from: https:// www.bmeia.gv.at/integration/islamgesetz [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 7. Explanatory notes on the Islam Act 2015. Available from: https://www. pa ria men t. gv. at/PA KT/VHG/XXV/I/1 _00446/fn ame_377359.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020]).
  • 8. Many thanks to Dr. Aron Weigl for these data, which were collected in the context of the study 'The integration potential of non-governmental Islamic schools in Austria (2017-2019)’. Available from: http://educult. at/forschungsprojekte/integrationspotential-islamischer-schulen-in-oesterreich/ [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 9. Available from: https://www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Zentrale/ Integration/Publikationen/Integrationsplan_final.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 10. Parliamentary Correspondence Nr. 1311. from 21.11.2018. Available from: https://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/PR/JAHR_2018/PK1311/ [Accessed 14 cember 2020].
  • 11. §43a (1) SchUG. Available from: https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/ Bundesnormen/NOR40214446/NOR40214446.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 12. Parliamentary Correspondence Nr. 605. from 29.05.2019. Available from: https://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/PR/JAHR_2019/PK0605/index. shtml [Accessed30 April 2020].
  • 13. Constitutional Court Correspondence from 11.12.2020. Available from: https://www.vfgh.gv.at/medien/Verhuellungsverbot_an_Volksschulen_ ist_verfassungswid.de.php [Accessed 14 December 2020].
  • 14. Government Programme 2020-2024 (p. 104). Available from: https:// www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/dam/jcr:7b9e6755-2115-440c-b2ec-cbf64a931aa8/RegProgramm-lang.pdf [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 15. The community of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the only registered religious community that doesn't offer RE because it is, in their view, the responsibility of parents to instruct their children in religious matters (cf. Wachturm Online Bibliothek, Unterricht und Unterrichtsinhalte, 26. Available from: https:// wol.jw.org/de/wol/d/rl0/lp-x/1101983037 [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 16. Source: Khorchide, 2009a, 28.
  • 17. Source: Latest figures from the homepage of the school board of IRCA. Available from: http://www.derislam.at/schulamt/fAccessed 6 May 2020].
  • 18. Explanatory notes on the Islam Act 2015, see footnote 7.
  • 19. I.e., the so-called missió canònica for Catholic RE teachers or the vocatio for Protestant RE teachers.
  • 20. See § 3 (1) lit a, § 4 (2) and § 5 (1) RUG.
  • 21. Curricula for IRE are available from: https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Geltende Fassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=200 07378 [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 22. The project was initiated by the Catholic theological faculty at the University of Graz in cooperation with the Ecclesiastical College of Pedagogy Graz, the Catholic Church, IRCA and the city of Graz.
  • 23. Information available from: https://interreligioese-bildung.uni-graz.at/ de/unterrichten/ [Accessed 30 April 2020].
  • 24. Information available from: https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/ unterricht/ethik.html [Accessed 30 April 2020].


Addendum (2019a) .Islamstunde’: Propagandaheft für den politischen Islam? (Projekt 087_01 Islamlehrer). Available from: https://www.addendum.org/ islamlehrer/islamstunde-politischer-islam/ [Accessed 6 May 2020].

Addendum (2019b) Die Islamlehrer, die Muslimbruderschaft, Milli Gôrüç, Erdogan nahestehen (Projekt 087_02 Islamlehrer). Available from: https:// wvw.addendum.org/islamlehrer/lehrer/ [Accessed 6 May 2020].

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