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Conference of the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe
Vienna, 4-6 June 2012.
“Muslims in Europe – challenges of identity and quantity”
Currently, a number of countries are conducting official censuses. Many of them include a question on religion. Where they don’t, a question on ethnicity or ‘nationality’ is often used by researchers to estimate figures on religious belonging. Such censuses and other attempts to give Muslim population figures have their technical problems. But they also raise more profound issues of quantification and identification, not least of which is the question of political power: the role of the state (or the researcher or the media) in determining the categorisations which are important. Within this hides the more complex question of how people identify themselves, and why they do it the way they do.
The conference takes place in Vienna because of its ease of communication and its central historical location – and it happens to be the centenary of the 1912 law which recognised Islam in the Habsburg dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary.