Whose Austria?

Muslim Youth Challenge Nativist and Closed Notions of Austrian Identity

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 University of Salzburg farid.hafez@sbg.ac.at
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Abstract

The Austrian Muslim Youth was founded in 1996 by young Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and has become the largest multi-ethnic, co-educational, German-speaking youth organization in Austria today. Since its inception, it has presented the concept of an ‘Austrian Muslim identity’ as a key philosophy. In this article, I ask how the idea of this identity was negotiated. I suggest that this concept is not reinforcing nativist notions. Rather, the formation of an Austrian Muslim identity can be seen as an attempt to create safe spaces to empower young Muslims to live their religion while fully participating in Austrian society. Hence, this concept speaks to two audiences simultaneously, challenging nativist notions and offering young Muslims ways to see themselves as possessing multiple and hybrid identities.

Contributor Notes

Farid Hafez, PhD, is a researcher in the Department of Political Science at the University of Salzburg. He currently resides as Fulbright-Botstiber Visiting Professor of Austrian-American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the founder and editor of Islamophobia Studies Yearbook and the co-editor of European Islamophobia Report. He received the Bruno Kreisky Award for the political book of the year for Islamophobie in Österreich (Studienverlag, 2009) co-edited with John Bunzl. His most recent publication is an anthology on young Muslims in Austria, Jung, Muslimisch, Österreichisch: 20 Jahre Muslimische Jugend Österreich (New Academic Press, 2016). E-mail: farid.hafez@sbg.ac.at

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