A new wave of Islamophobia sweeping Europe

5 April, 2013
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Community Manager
April 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

A new wave of anti-Muslim intolerance and antagonism is sweeping Europe. The far right political gains seen in some parts of the continent are alarming. Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and extreme right parties seem to be cashing in on economic hardship and austerity measures. In a blinkered world of "us" and "them" they have found in Europe's Muslim citizens the "others".

The Hate Speech Watch set Islamophobia as the fourth focus which will soon be the main focus of the months. The Hate Speech Watch is inviting young people who are concerned to identify examples of islamophobic content form the Internet and bring it to Hate Speech Watch for debates and actions.

The disadvantaged position of Muslim minorities, evidence of a rise in Islamophobia and concern over processes of alienation and radicalisation have triggered an intense debate in the European Union regarding the need for re-examining community cohesion and integration policies. A series of events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, the Madrid and London bombings and the debate on the Prophet Mohammed cartoons have given further prominence to the situation of Muslim communities. The central question is how to avoid stereotypical generalisations, how to reduce fear and how to strengthen cohesion in our diverse European societies while countering marginalisation and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or belief. European Muslims are a highly diverse mix of ethnicities, religious affiliation, philosophical beliefs, political persuasion, secular tendencies, languages and cultural traditions, constituting the second largest religious group of Europe’s multi-faith society. In fact Muslim communities are no different from other communities in their complexity. Discrimination against Muslims can be attributed to Islamophobic attitudes, as much as to racist and xenophobic resentments, as these elements are in many cases inextricably intertwined. (from Muslims in the European Union, Discrimination and Islamophobia, EUMC 2006)


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