In the debate on migrants in Germany and Austria, no other term is used more often than “integration.” But the institution that is most important for many Muslim migrants does not generally contribute much to this effort — and often actively fights it: the mosque. That is the finding of an official Austrian study as well as private research conducted by a German journalist.
In late September, the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), a department of the foreign ministry published a study, “The role of the mosque in the integration process”. For the purposes of the study, employees of the ÖIF visited 16 mosques in Vienna, attended several Friday sermons and spoke with the individual imams — that is, if the imams were willing to have a conversation, which was often not the case. The result of this, according to the ÖIF, is that only two of the mosque associations foster the integration of their members. The report applauds a Bosnian mosque association that also runs a soccer club. During the discussion, its imam said: “Every country, as with Austria, has its rules and laws and — something I always stress — it is our religious duty to comply with these standards and to integrate accordingly.”
With regard to gender roles, in all of the mosques they visited, the authors were struck by the almost complete absence of women at Friday prayers: