The Austrian Supreme Administrative Court is set to issue a ruling on a petition by the Austrian Federation of Alevi Unions to have their religion officially recognized as separate from Islam — and not part of the updated version of the 1912 Islam Law, which went into effect in 2015. The new law recognizes two “Islamic religious societies” — the Islamic Community in Austria, which represents Islam’s Sunni sects, and the Islamic Alevi Community in Austria, which is defined as an “Islamic sect.”
Austrian Federation of Alevi Unions president, Özgür Turak, told Gatestone about the legal struggle for official recognition of Alevism as distinct from Islam:
“The 1912 law granted the ‘Islamic Community of Austria’ the right to teach courses at schools and to choose their own teachers, whose salaries would be paid by the state. In 2007, researchers discovered that the ‘Islamic Community’ teachers who came to Austria from abroad supported sharia law and opposed the European values of human rights and democracy. The Austrian public was outraged by this, and the Austrian Office of Religious Affairs took it upon itself to amend the country’s Islam law.
“During that period, our federation was already trying to get official recognition by many European countries, including Austria, of Alevism as an authentic faith. To this end, we reached out to the Austrian Office of Religious Affairs, which told us that if we Alevis were to agree to be included in the new Islam law, we would immediately be recognized as a faith.