Cover photo: A military police officer stands guard near the scene of a terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 4, 2020. www.voanews.com
D3.1 Country Report | April 2021
Authors: Miriam Haselbacher, Astrid Mattes, Ursula Reeger – Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Violent extremism and terrorist attacks have been rare in Austria particularly compared to other countries. Nonetheless, certain tendencies towards radicalisation and alienation have been increasing and observable in recent years. The first Jihadist terror attack in Vienna in November 2020 was exceptional and a caesura in a country with a very low number of casualties related to extremism. Still, hate speech and anti-Muslim as well as anti-immigrant sentiments are rather pronounced and, in recent years, new kinds and unseen levels of hatred in the far-right spectrum were directed primarily at Austria’s Muslims and at refugees. This can be related to anti-Muslim discourses across the globe that gained strength in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the political repercussions of the summer of migration in 2015. Populist rhetoric by the political elite, most notably the Austrian Freedom Party and the Austrian People’s Party, is steering this process. A wide range of de-radicalization programmes aims at tackling the issue of radicalization in bottom-up and top-down approaches with a strong networking component.