Austria: Majority of Turks want Sharia personal law incorporated into legal system

Austria: Majority of Turks want Sharia personal law incorporated into legal system

A new study shows alarming results.  More than half of Austrian Turks want to see Sharia law implemented.  The study, commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and carried out by Gfk Austria on "integartion in Austria" shows that Turkish immigrants differ from immigrants from other countries. 

More than half of the approx. 220,000 Turkish immigrants - 2.65% of the 8.3 million people in Austria - want Islamic law introduced into the Austrian legal system.  Asked whether some parts of Islamic law (e.g. marriage, family and inheritance laws) should be incorporated into Austrian law, 50% agreed, 16% said it depended on which elements were incorporated and 22% were against it.  Responses varied by education level and German language skills, but religion was the most decisive factor.  Close to 62% of religious-political Muslims agreed Sharia should be incorporated, compared to 41% of secular Muslims.  In both groups, an additional 16% said it depends on what elements were to be incorporated.

72% says that following religious commandments is more important than democratic ones.  For 57% of the Turks, the laws and regulations of Islam are more important than that of Austria.  And almost half of the Turkish immigrants say that crime in Austria is caused by democracy.

The study also shows that young Turks are developing a strong tendency towards a sub-culture.  They feel more committed to Islam than to the society in which they live, though most were born and raised in Austria.  45% of Turks say they lack understanding of Austrian society, it's way of life and it's dominating values.  About half feel more committed to their original homeland than to Austria and 55% oppose their daughter or son marrying a non-Turk.

More than half of the Turks feel that Muslims are discriminated by the Austrian authorities.  Researcher Peter Ulram says that this might be due to the impression he has that there are few of them in the civil service and they lack a contact-partner with the government.

Those with a low level of education and housewives (80%!) feel most strongly attached to Islam.  Ulram says these people should be brought together with the majority population, and that Austrian lack the willingness to approach these people.

The study also shows that other immigrants - Austria has 1.4 million foreigners - have much less problems with integration.  Just 26% of Turks feel integrated, compared with 53% of Poles.  This might be linked to media-consumption, as 76% of Turks watch Turkish TV almost every day, compared with 30% who watch the Austrian national broadcaster ORF.

Apart from the attitude of many Turks, the study paints a positive picture of integration in Austria.  The great majority of immigrants (83%) feel integrated, more than 75% think it's very important that immigrants be forced to learn German.  85% say that the most important thing is that their children will receive good education.   

Immigrant feel safe in Austria - safer than the majority population.  This is remarkable, since immigrants tend to be more affected by crime.  Ulram explains that Austrians have a lower tolerance threshold for crime.

Regarding further immigration, immigrants want to restrict it as much as the Austrians.  Almost two thirds think there should be no further immigration.  Ulram says that one reason is that many immigrants fear they would lose their job to newer immigrants.  Close to 75% agree with the values and goals of Austrian society - about the same as the majority population.

Bayernkurier points out that it appears that Austria does not have a 'foreigner problem', but rather a problem with Turkish immigrants.  It also points to a a recent study of Turkish attitudes in Turkey, which shows that 40% of Turks don't want to live next to a Jew, a third don't want Christian neighbors.  More than half of Muslim Turks oppose having non-Muslims employed in the legal system, army, police or the security services.  More than 40% opposed having Jews or Christians in important positions in the sciences or health services.  57% did not want atheists as neighbors, 20% were principally opposed to having foreigners as neighbors.  Deputy Prime Minister said the results of the poll were appalling.  'Moderate' PM Erdogan did not comment.

Sources: Bayernkurier, Kurier, Gfk study PDF (German), h/t PI

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