Violent conflicts and social unrest in the Middle East, in Central Asia, and in Africa have led to growing numbers of persons seeking refuge in Europe since 2011. The phenomenon culminated in 2015. In that year, with 88,300 new asylum applications, Austria was the 4th largest receiver of asylum seekers in the EU, thereby increasing visibly religious diversity in the country. Using two social surveys carried out in 2015 and in 2017 among asylum seekers and refugees, we study religious affiliation, religiosity, and attitudes as well as participation in religious groups. By focusing on the time span shortly after arriving in Austria, we aim to shed light on first steps in the host society and the multi-layered roles of religion for participation and integration. We provide a comparison with the host society in terms of religious affiliation and religiosity, and discuss recent qualitative research on refugees and religiosity. Insights into the engagement of refugees in several activities related to religion or not are valuable to shed light on the multi-layered characteristics of the recent inflow of forced migrants in Austria.
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