About Us

Austrian Fund for the documentation of religiously motivated political extremism (Documentation Centre Political Islam).

The Austrian Fund for the documentation of religiously motivated political extremism (Documentation Centre Political Islam) is a Fund of the Republic of Austria according to the Law on Trusts and Funds 2015. Its mandate is the scientific analysis of religiously motivated political extremism, specifically the phenomenon of Political Islam, associated networks as well as formal and informal structures. The Centre observes origins and current trends in order to strengthen pluralism, democratic awareness and freedom of religion all over Austria. In order to fulfil its mandate, the Documentation Centre conducts research and informs the broader public about Political Islam. Therefore the Documentation Centre aims to help prevent extremism and raise awareness about religiously motivated political extremism, Political Islam, its mechanism, methods and dangers to democracy and rule of law. The Documentation Centre is headed by Director Lisa Fellhofer, MBA and Deputy Director Dr. Ferdinand Haberl. The work of the Documentation Centre is supported by a Scientific Advisory Council of independent experts chaired by Professor Mouhanad Khorchide.

Definition “Political Islam”

Political Islam, as defined by the Documentation Centre, is an ideology of supremacy that aims at influencing or changing society, culture, state, politics and/or polity according to such values and norms that are regarded as Islamic by the actors of Political Islam, but are in clear contradiction to the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

The Scientific Advisory Council

Mouhanad Khorchide is Professor for Islamic religious pedagogic at the Centre for religious studies (CRS) and Director of the Centre for Islamic Theology (ZIT) at the University of Münster, Germany.

Handan Aksünger-Kizil is Professor for Alevite Studies and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Kenan Güngör, sociologist, German-speaking European with Kurdish-Turkish roots. Founder and owner of [think.difference], the office for society, organization and development in Vienna. He works as a consultant and international expert on integration issues and diversity, was a visiting professor at the University of Vienna and has worked as a strategic advisor for the city of Vienna for many years. He is also a member of an independent think tank of the Austrian government on integration, as well as the chairman of the Expert_Forum for “prevention, deradicalization and democratic culture” of the city of Vienna.

Heiko Heinisch is a historian and author with expertise on antisemitism, and Islamism. He has worked amongst others for the Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute in Vienna and the Institute for Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna.

Herbert Kalb is law professor for legal history and (state)church law at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

Elham Manea is teaching at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and is advocating for a humanistic Islam. Since 2005 she also advises national and international organisations in the areas of women's rights, politics and development.

Katharina Pabel is law professor for public law, economics law and international law, and deputy head of department at the Economic University Vienna, Austria. She is chair of the experts council for integration and ad-hoc judge for the ECHR.

Mathias Rohe is director of the Centre for Islam and Law in Erlangen. He is a law and islamic studies professor at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is an ordinary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and was inter alia judge at the Higher Court Nürnberg and member of the first German Islam Conference (2006 to 2009).

Susanne Schröter is founder and director of the Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam, principal investigator at the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" and professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Goethe University Frankfurt. She is inter alia a member of the executive boards of the German Orient Institute and serves in the scientific advisory council of the Institut für Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft (Institute für Democracy and Civil Society).

Dr. Lorenzo Vidino is the Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He has been studying the Muslim Brotherhood in the West for the last 20 years. His latest book on the subject is The Closed Circle: Joining and Leaving the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Columbia University Press, 2020), which has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic.