A new report published by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) details how racism in Belgium increasingly manifests itself through Islamophobia. The country’s 600.000-strong Muslim community faces, according to the report, an increasing amount of structural discrimination in the employment and educational sector as well as in questions of access to public and private services. Of the racism classified as religiously based, 80% is aimed at Muslims in Belgium. What’s more important however is the role of the Belgian media, which is presented as highly Islamophobic with 51% of the annul media complaints received to be connected to Islamophobia. Additionally, 19% of employment complaints and 11% of educational complaints were related to anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments and actions.
The ENAR also points out to the exclusion of students who choose to wear the hijab from the education system, even if no legal degree endorses these regulations. The organisation requests the Belgian government to implement and ensure the freedom of religion of Muslims by repealing all provisions on the prohibition of the hijab and other signs of convictional practices at school
Islamophobia on the rise in Belgium
March 21, 2013
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.
Italy discrimination report
BRUSSELS – A report by the European Network against Racism (ENAR) concluded that there is a growing fear of Muslims and Islam in both the Netherlands and the EU as a whole.