‘Muhajirun’ from Austria. Why they left to join ISIS and why they don’t return.


  • Veronika Hofinger Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology
  • Thomas Schmidinger University of Vienna


Foreign Fighters, ISIS, Islamic State, Austria, Syria, Radicalisation


After the proclamation of the so-called Islamic State in June 2014 thousands of Europeans, including hundreds of Austrian residents, went to fight and live with ISIS or other extremist groups in Syria or Iraq. Austria is one of the European countries with the highest per-capita share of foreign fighters. The article gives a broad overview of the situation in Austria: Who are the different groups relevant in this field? How did young people who grew up in Austria become radicalised, and what is their current status? The data from two Austrian commissioned research projects and one EU-funded project are supplemented by the findings of recent research in northern Syria focusing on the current situation of Austrian foreign fighters and their families and supporters in the region.


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