• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Vienna 'a hub for European jihadists'

The Local · 25 Aug 2014, 12:22

Published: 25 Aug 2014 12:22 GMT+02:00

Nine suspected Chechen jihadists who were arrested in Austria on Wednesday had planned to use this route.

"The conflict in Syria is attracting foreign fighters from all over Europe to Austria. The route to Syria is simple and safe,” a report from Austria’s Federal Agency for State Protection and Counter Terrorism (BAT) said.

The report stated that Austria is used as a place for recruiting and organising European jihadists who plan to travel through the Western Balkans to Syria.

Around a quarter of people travelling from Austria to Syria are Austrian nationals, "who have family members in Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans."

As many as 130 people from Austria are believed to be fighting as jihadists abroad. More than half of Austria's jihadists originally come from the Caucasus region and have a valid residence permit in Austria. The rest are mainly Bosnian and Turkish-born.

Turkey plays a significant role in Islamist networks - as it is relatively easy to cross the border into Syria, and has links to the controversial Millî Görüş movement, which is also active in Austria.

The BAT report notes that jihadists who return to Austria represent a particular threat: "After returning from the war zone with battle experience, having had traumatic experiences and associated behavioural changes, and having deepened their radical beliefs present a significant security risk for Austria."

The worry is that they will set up centres for recruiting new jihadists.

Der Standard writes that Austria has not been very successful in introducing a strategy for de-radicalising returning jihadists. A telephone hotline for people wanting to leave a terrorist organisation has been repeatedly postponed, and there is no social programme for jihadist ‘drop-outs’.

Story continues below…

John R. Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College, writes in a recent blog post that “for years, Vienna has served as the de facto base for Islamist extremists from Southeastern Europe, a place to recruit, raise and hide funds, and radicalize, thanks to Austria’s permissive laws and weak enforcement mechanisms. It’s an exceptional terrorist or Salafi radical in Bosnia who has not spent some time in Austria.”

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fresh attempt to seize Hitler's birth house
Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Murder-suicide in Braunau am Inn, birthplace of Hitler
Photo: Stadtamt Braunau am Inn

A small Upper Austrian town best known for being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler has apparently witnessed a murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.

Young Austrian millionaire dies after falling from window
Monaco, where the incident happened. Photo: Tobi 87/Wikimedia

The mysterious death of a 43-year-old Austrian millionaire is being investigated by authorities after he fell from a window of his luxury home in Monaco.

Weekend promises both hailstones and sunshine
Strandbad Alte Donau. Photo: Stadt Wien

Depending on where you are in Austria this weekend, expect either thunderstorms or 31 degree sunshine.

Austria's 'free sex' brothel owner arrested in tax dispute
Herman Pascha/Youtube

An Austrian brothel owner who made worldwide headlines in 2015 when he offered free sex to punters as a protest against paying tax has once again run into trouble with the taxman.

Austria's super rich are becoming 'poorer'
One of Austria's richest people Ferdinand Piëch. Stuart Mentiply/Wikimedia.

Austria’s richest people are not quite as rich as they used to be - although the country’s wealthiest family are still worth €35 billion.

Captain America inspiration behind Vienna Hyperloop
HTT

Anyone who still holds on to their childhood dream of being a superhero will be delighted by the name of the state-of-the-art technology behind a transport system planned for Vienna.

Brexit
Deadline for overseas Brexit voters looms
Jeff Djevdet/Creative Commons

British people living in Austria who are eligible to vote in the EU referendum have until Tuesday June 7th to apply for a proxy vote.

Gay doctor in Austria fired for arranging illegal surrogacy
AKH. Photo: Medical University of Vienna

A gay doctor who wanted a child with his partner was fired by a hospital in Austria after persuading a fellow doctor to carry their baby, despite surrogacy being illegal in the country.

Facebook on shaky ground after activist's latest victory
Manfred Werner/Wikimedia

Austrian data privacy activist achieves another legal victory in his bid to stop Facebook transferring European citizens’ data to the US.

Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
National
Lost on the way to sanctuary
2,478
jobs available