Thursday

29th Sep 2022

Anti-Muslim hatred ignored by EU, activists say

  • Anti-Muslim hate speech and violence "swiftly proliferating" in Europe, activists said (Photo: Michael Coghlan)
Listen to article

The EU has a problem with anti-Muslim hatred and its institutions are doing little to help, some 41 civil society groups have said.

The EU and France opposed creating an International Day to Combat Islamophobia at the UN in March in a sign of the times, the activists said in their joint statement on Tuesday (14 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The French EU presidency has, over the past six months, failed "to seriously address the widespread structural and institutional discriminations against Muslim minorities in Europe" in its EU policies, they said.

Recent EU communiques on the issue gave "the impression that Islamophobia whether it be structural or not, doesn't even exist", they said.

And the EU Commission has failed to appoint a new coordinator on anti-Muslim hatred since July last year in what appeared to be a pattern of behaviour, they added.

But at the same time, "anti-Muslim violence, hate speech, discrimination and marginalisation" were "swiftly proliferating in Europe where Muslims (or those perceived as such) are now being identified as a primary target by political parties and violent far-right movements alike," they warned.

The diverse signatories from 13 EU countries, the UK, and Turkey, included the European Network against Racism in Belgium, SOS Racisme from Denmark, and the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality.

The French presidency has previously denied downgrading Muslim concerns in its EU policies, for instance on protection of minorities and on counter-radicalisation.

But in one example in March, according to diplomatic sources, EU countries dropped references to the importance of the coordinator on anti-Muslim hatred after Poland said if that was to be in the text, then it wanted a special coordinator on "Christianophobia" in Europe as well.

At the same time, French policies paid more attention to combatting antisemitism and the EU Commission has had a coordinator in that role in place since 2015, giving the impression of a "hierarchy" of EU concern, the 41 civil groups pointed out.

When asked about the anti-Islamophobia coordinator vacancy in February, the EU Commission said: "As the previous anti-Muslim hatred coordinator ended his assignment, the Commission is currently examining the modalities for assigning this function".

"Awaiting the outcome of this examination, the tasks of the Coordinator continue to be carried out within DG [department of] Justice and Consumers," it added.

It declined to say how much it had spent on the two offices (against Islamophobia and antisemitism) compared to each other in the past seven years.

An EUobserver freedom of information request on the question was also met with obfuscation.

"Both the fight against anti-Muslim hatred and antisemitism are important issues for us," the commission said in February.

Opinion

Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

On European Day Against Islamophobia, EU decision-makers need to get serious about tackling Islamophobia, which has become a major society issue impacting all of us.

Podcast

The curious case of the racial Muslim

Legal scholar Sahar Aziz says people who identify as Muslim are often perceived in racial terms, like black and brown people, in white-dominated societies. That makes Muslims on both sides of the Atlantic the subject of similar forms of racism.

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

News in Brief

  1. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  2. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  3. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  4. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  5. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  6. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  7. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'
  8. EU okays €21bn Covid-recovery funding for Italy amid concern

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  2. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  3. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  4. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures
  5. Can King Charles III reset the broken Brexit relationship?
  6. Meloni's navy-blockade plan to stop Libya migrants 'unlikely'
  7. Underwater explosions were detected near Nord Stream leaks
  8. EU countries stall new pesticide rules, blame Ukraine war

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us