4 Criminalising Critical Scholarship: Austria’s Inteligence Service and Islamophobia Studies

Published on 04 Dec 2023

This article was written by Bridge Initiative Senior Researcher Farid Hafez and appears in the book Disentangling Jihad, Political Violence and Media, published by Edinburgh University Press in 2023.

In the article “Criminalising Critical Scholarship: Austria’s Intelligence Service and Islamophobia Studies,” Prof. Farid Hafez discusses the criminalization of academic opposition using the example of Islamophobia Studies. Hafez traces how the production of knowledge close to the state made it possible to influence politics and authorities to then take police action against critics of Austrian Islam policy and ultimately to reinterpret Islamophobia Studies and criticism of power structures as an act of terrorism. As part of the infamous Operation Luxor, this criminalization illustrates how political leaders managed to expand the notion of extremism from actual violence to potential violence and thought.

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