Muslim citizens are most affected by episodes of discrimination in Europe. This is what emerges from the report on racism in the EU 2011-2012, published by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). The report was released on March 21, International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Particularly affected are women, accounting for 85 percent of reported cases of Islamophobia. The latter in fact suffer from gender discrimination as well as religious discrimination.
The report notes, Islam is often used as a scapegoat by politicians to divert public attention from other, more serious problems. Islamophobia makes it difficult for many Muslims in all Member States, to access education, housing, employment and other services. In addition, Muslims are treated differently by the police and are often unable to access justice.
Several recommendations are made for Italy, where the economic crisis seems to have significantly reduced if not nullified the little progress made in previous years including adopting a specific law on freedom of religion, providing more places of worship for non-Catholics, passing a new amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in Italy, allowing better access to housing and education, and adopting a law on the right to vote in local elections.
The report does note a decrease in reports of discrimination in access to goods and services by immigrants, this declined between 2010 and 2012 from 3.3 to 1 per cent. The report blames media operators that in Italy, seem to be less able to cover unbiased news regarding immigration and minorities.