Muslims and black people discriminated against in Austria, new report reveals

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Muslims and black people discriminated against in Austria, new report reveals
(Photo by Anton on Unsplash)

Austrian anti-racism NGO Zara released its Racism Report 2022, documenting discrimination cases in the Alpine country.


The Austrian non-government organisation Zara receives complaints and assists victims of racism and discrimination in the country. Every year, they deal with cases which involve attacks on Muslims, black mothers and their children being harassed and more. In 2022, they received 1,479 reports of racist incidents, according to a recent Rassismus Report.

For the first time, the numbers have decreased slightly in Austria. In 2021, the organisation documented and handled 1,977 reports of racism. Most of the incidents occurred online (68 percent). Still, many happened in the public sphere, in places for goods & services, involving public authorities and institutions, in employment, in the police institution or within politics & media.


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One case mentioned within the police happened when a police officer was called to check on an apartment party and allegedly asked only black people to show their identification, according to the report. 

Often, little comes of trying to defend oneself against such police assaults, Zara consultant Matthias Flug told Der Standard. Investigations are mostly dropped, he said. "One reason for this is that there is still no independent body outside the police structures that investigates these complaints," he criticised.

Austria's Interior Ministry only recently announced it would open a complaints body to look into police violence, the report added. 

Legal action was taken in two out of ten reports; otherwise, the Zara team reported posts to online platforms or intervened with the actors.

In most cases, victims and witnesses reported islamophobia, followed by complaints of racism. 

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'Omnipresent racism'

"It's important to be aware of the pervasiveness of racism in our society," said Zara counsellor Rakhi Schmuck. Affected people could be confronted with it at any time, he added.

"They could experience racism just as much when receiving medical treatment as when shopping at the supermarket. They will never have an effortless reality of life", Schmuck said.


The report clarifies people's rights when they suffer from racist encounters. For example, in Austria, racist insults are prohibited by law and, in contrast to simple insults, can be reported to the police. The person affected can authorise the initiation of criminal proceedings. Associations such as ZARA can offer support and legal assistance.


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