Islamophobia 'ignored' by the European Union, rights groups say

Islamophobia 'ignored' by the European Union, rights groups say
2 min read
15 June, 2022
Civil society groups have accused the European Union and its institutions of failing to act on Islamophobia in Europe following a series of events, alluding to a lack of action in what they describe a 'pattern of events'.
Many European countries, including France, report constant instances of different forms of Islamophobia on a regular basis [Getty]

Dozens of civil society groups have called out the European Union and its institutions for their alleged failure to tackle anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination among its member states.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, 41 groups said that the EU had a "problem" with Islamophobia and expressed their concern over the institution's meagre efforts to combat discrimination and hatred that Muslims in Europe routinely face.

The organisations said that the EU and France opposed creating an International Day to combat Islamophobia at The United Nations earlier this year, making it an indicator of its failure to tackle the persisting issue. Meanwhile France, over the past six months, has yet to seriously address the widespread structural and institutional discriminations against Muslim minorities in Europe in its EU policies," they added.

The EU Commission has also failed to appoint a new coordinator on Islamophobia since July last year, in what appears to be a "pattern of behaviour," they further added.

The statement also pointed out that French policies have put in more effort into combatting other forms of prejudice, such as antisemitism, giving the impression of "hierarchy" between different forms of racism, following concerns about the downgrading of Muslim worries in its policies, which France has denied. 

The EU declined to say how much it spent on offices combatting Islamophobia and antisemitism, compared to each other over the past seven years, despite insisting in February that the fight against both remains an "important issue" for the organisation.

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The signatories included a host of different counties such as the UK and Turkey, as well as the European Network against Racism from Belgium, the Danish SOS Racisme and the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality.

Their statement further emphasised that discrimination, hate speech and marginalisation towards Muslims are also escalating in Europe, where individuals perceived to be adherents to the religion are targeted by parties of different political spectrums and aggressive far-right movements.

Earlier this year, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) warned against rising Islamophobia against Muslims in France and the rest of Europe, citing the targeting of Muslims and civil rights groups who actively combat racism.

Moreover, the EU’s top court said companies may ban Muslim women from wearing the hijab "under certain conditions", in July last year.