Hate attacks against Muslims including GBH and other physical violence have shot up by three quarters in a year – with 4 in 5 anti-Islam incidents targeting women.
During 2018, the organisation counted 540 anti-Islamic incidents including physical violence towards Austrian Muslims and discrimination in the workplace.
It is a 74 percent increase compared to the previous year, when 309 incidents were counted.
In four out of five cases, female Muslims were victimised. However, there is also a reported increase in anti-Muslim incidents against men, which rose sharply from two to 17 percent.
Of the overall 560 incidents, 46 percent were related to hate speech, incitement to hatred and anti-Islamic insults.
In 89 cases, 17 percent of the total, anti-Muslim graffiti was reported.
Discrimination was reported 34 times while hate crimes were counted on 11 occasions, according to the statement.
The statement was made by the Documentation and Counselling Centre for Muslims in Austria which collected data from residents who filed complaints of anti-Islamic abuse online or more serious crimes such as GBH.
According to the study, half of the incidents took place online as many racist commentators do not realise that some slurs are punishable under Austrian law.
The study cited an incident in January when Austria’s official ‘New Year’s baby’ was born to a Muslim family.
Two Austrian netizens were recently jailed on charges of racial incitement for calling the baby “dirt”, “parasitic” and “inferior” online.
The unnamed defendants received a two- and three-month jail sentence respectively.
Netizens’ comments like “the next terrorist is born” and “she is wearing a headscarf, does she have cancer?” were among the least hurtful remarks hurled at the Muslim family.
Austrian NGO Netpeace said the hateful comments are proof that online abuse is growing out of control.
A spokesperson said: “Normally, the birth of a child should be a reason for joy.”
The NGO also said it is remarkable that so many people are brazenly posting such comments under their real name instead of using an alias.
Netpeace has called for social media companies and other organisations to moderate their sites better and remove abusive messages as quickly as possible.