The institutionalization of Islam in a non-Muslim state: The case of Austria-Hungary and the Republic of Austria
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The presence of a significant Muslim minority in Europe is an irreversible fact. However, constantly growing Muslim immigrant community in Western European states, that have no tradition of Muslim presence within their borders, creates problems of integrating the newcomers into the European state system. Immigrants from Muslim states bring with them a tradition of the state model that differs from the European secular law state. In Muslim countries Islam is integrated into the state structures, though the degree of this integration varies from country to country. When Muslims live in a non-Muslim state their religious life encounters many difficulties. However, experience shows that Islam can function within an European state, though some modifications and acceptance of the religious freedom principle are necessary. Legal form of Islam does not exclude such a possibility which is crucial for the integration of Muslims into the European structures. A consolidated and significant Muslim minority appeared twice in the history of the Austrian state. For the first time in 1878 after the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and then during the second half of the 20th century with the influx of guest workers from Turkey and Bosnia. The state authorities made moves that allowed for the integration of Muslims into the European state structures in both cases. Official recognition of Islam (promulgated twice) in Austria places this country among these few that successfully managed to solve the problem in the way fruitful both for the state and for the Muslims.
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