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The Institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the Diyanet The Case of Austria

The management of religious diversity has become one of the most significant issues facing European societies in the last few decades. The increasing use of religion as an instrument of immigration policies in Europe since the late 1980s has led to various trajectories of institutionalization of Islam in European countries. In an increasing number of cases, institutionalization of Islam entails, among other things, the establishment of Muslim representative institutions. On the other hand, as it has transformed itself, since the early 1980s, from a domestic instrument of control over religion to an external instrument to consolidate national unity among indigenous or immigrant Turkish communities beyond its borders, the organizations linked to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (the Diyanet) has become an important actor in various Muslim representative institutions in Europe. This article examines the case of the institutionalization of Islam in Austria with a particular focus on the role of the Diyanet in the Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in ÖsterreichIGGiÖ (Islamic Religious Community in Austria). An analysis of the Diyanet’s role in and its perception of the institutionalization of Islam in Austria demonstrates both the advantages and difficulties that the Diyanet faces in promoting ‘Turkish Islam’ in Europe