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Sigurd
Thursday, October 13th, 2005, 05:21 PM
I thought of this being of use to people who are "examining" the Austrian people ;) . This is originally in German, but translating it makes it also accessible to those of non-German mother tongue.

Religious Demography Austria

The country has a total area of 32,368 square miles, and its population is an estimated 8.0 million. The largest minority groups are Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and Roma. In the past several years, the country has experienced a rise in immigration from countries such as Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has increased the number of Muslims in the country.

According to the 2001 census, the memberships in major religions are as follows: Roman Catholic Church--74.0 percent; Lutheran Church (Augsburger and Helvetic Confessions)–-4.7 percent; Islamic Community–-4.2 percent; Jewish Community--0.1 percent; Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, and Bulgarian)–-2.2 percent; other Christian churches–-0.9 percent; other non-Christian religious groups–-0.2 percent. Atheists accounted for 12 percent; 2 percent did not indicate a religious affiliation.

The vast majority of groups termed "sects" by the Government are small organizations with less than 100 members. Among the larger groups are the Church of Scientology, with between 5,000 and 6,000 members, and the Unification Church, with approximately 700 adherents throughout the country. Other groups found in the country include: the Brahma Kumaris, Divine Light Mission, Divine Light Center, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, the Holosophic community, the Osho movement, Sahaja Yoga, Sai Baba, Sri Chinmoy, Transcendental Meditation, Landmark Education, the Center for Experimental Society Formation, Fiat Lux, Universal Life, and The Family.

The provinces of Carinthia and Burgenland have somewhat higher percentages of Protestants than the national average, as the Counter-Reformation was less successful in those areas. The number of Muslims is higher than the national average in Vienna and the province of Vorarlberg, due to the higher number of guestworkers from Turkey in these provinces.

Currently 13 religious groups are classified as religious communities, following the Recognition Act 1874: The Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelic/Protestand Church (A.B and H.B.), Islamic Faith Community, the Old Cathlic Church, the Jewish Faith Community, the Orthodox Churches (russian, Greek, Serbian, Rumanina, Bulgaria, the Mormons, the New Apostolic Church, the Syric-Orthodox Church, the Armenian-Apostolic Church, the Methodistic Church in Austria, the Buddhist Community and the Coptic Orthodox Church.

At the time of the passing of the law about the legal personality of communities of religious faiths in the year 1998, in Austria there existed 12 nationally recognised religious communities. The law made it possible for these societies to maintain their status, but simultaneously it mentioned new criteria for other religious Groups that stride for the status of a nationally recognised religious community. One of these criteria is that the group has existed for 20 years when they apply for the status. The group has to have had existed at least 10 of those 20 years as a religious faith community, after the 1998 Act.
Furthermore, the number of members of the group has to be at least 2 per thousand of the population (approx. 16 000 members). Jehova's Witnesses are the only not-recognised religious group which fulfill these criteria. Indeed this would only be the case for 4 of the 13 nationally recognised communities, also.

The 10 religious groups that have the status of a religious faith community, are: Jehova's Witnesses, the Ba'hai community, the Baptists, the Evangelic (Protestant) Alliance, the movement for religious renewal, the free community of Chrust ("Pfingstgemeinde"), the "Pfingstkriche Gemeinde Gottes", the chruch of Seventh Day Adventist. the Hindu religious society, the Menonnitic Free Church.

To receive the status of a faith community, a group has to prove it has at least 300 members, and show the government written Statutues, in which the aims, rights and responsiblities of the members are described, as well as the conditions of membership, the leaders of the group, and its financial funding.


Source (in German): Demokratie und Menschenrechte (http://www.usembassy.at/de/policy/rel_freedom_rep_austria.htm)
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SIDE NOTE: Where's us heathens????:~( :(