Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia

The report has four principal parts: first, it presents a broad overview of the situation of Islam in Europe, including some of the recent debates that have sparked many manifestations of discrimiation and Islamophobia, including the debate over the cartoons of the Prophet in Denmark and the headscarf controversies in multiple European countries.

This section offers some basic demographic information and touches on the education, employment, and housing situations for Muslims in many European nations.

Secondly, the report catalogues manifestations of Islamophobia in the EU nations, with a focus on violent or criminal acts towards Muslims.

Thirdly, there is an examination of official government initiatives in the EU member states that are intended to address racism, discrimination and Islamophobia, and finally there is an examination of faith-based or community-based efforts to combat discrimination and Islamophobia.

The report concludes by offering a series of opinions on the most urgent and most helpful steps that the member countries and the EU as a whole could take to ameliorate the manifestations and effects of discrimination and Islamophobia.

Key findings of the report:

While there is a paucity of data on discriminatory or Islamophobic incidents, and such incidents are undoubtedly vastly under-reported, the EUMC report combined official and unofficial sources to come up with the following information, all for the year 2004 unles noted:

In Denmark there were 14 recorded Islamophobic incidents.

In Germany there were 21 recorded Islamophobic incidents.

In Greece there were 4 recorded Islamophobic incidents.

In Spain there were 27 recorded Islamophobic incidents, many of which were connected explicitly or implicitly to the March 2004 Madrid bombings.

In France there were 131 recorded Islamophobic incidents. France is one of the few EU countries that has an official process for recording such incidents, which certainly impacts their tally in comparison to the other counries’.

In Ireland there were 14 recorded Islamophobic incidents.

In Italy there were 7 recorded Islamophobic incidents, one involving the detention of 161 Muslim individuals by the Italian police.

In Denmark, in the month of November 2004 alone, 106 Islamophobic incidents were recorded, this directly following the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

In Austria, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Finland, and Sweden, there is very little data on Islamophobic attacks or incidents. The report does cite some examples, and makes use of data organized by country of origin. Such data, however, does not tell us whether the victims were Muslim or, even if they were, whether the incidents were Islamophobic in nature.

In the United Kingdom, the Crown Police collect data on “faith hate” incidents. Such incidents averaged 10-12 per week throughout 2004, and were at markedly higher numbers in the summer of 2005, immediately following the July 7 bombings.

Such data is clearly incomplete, but it serves to present a sample of the wide variety of violent and/or threatening treatment that is dealt out to Muslims or individuals perceived to be Muslim in the EU member countries.

Conclusions of the report:

“Muslims in the Member States of the European Union experience various levels of discrimination and marginalisation in employment, education and housing, and are also the victims of negative stereotyping by majority populations and the media. In addition, they are vulnerable to manifestations of prejudice and hatred in the form of anything from verbal threats through to physical attacks on people and property.

Discrimination against Muslims can be attributed toIslamophobic attitudes, as much as to racist and xenophobic resentment, as these elements are in many cases inextricably intertwined. Racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia become mutually reinforcing phenomena and hostility against Muslims should also be seen in the context of a more general climate of hostility towards migrants and minorities.

Yet, given this situation, the true extent and nature of discrimination and Islamophobic incidents against Muslim communities remains severely under-reported and under- documented in the EU. There is a serious lack of data or official information on, first, the social situation of Muslims in Member States and, second, on the extent and nature of Islamophobic incidents.

As a reflection of this, policy makers are not well informed at both national and EU level about the specific situation of Muslims in the areas of employment, education and housing, as well as about the extent and nature of discrimination, incidents and threats targeted at Muslims.

The EUMC finds that Member States need to develop, reinforce and evaluate policies aimed at delivering equality and non-discrimination for Muslim communities, particularly in the fields of employment, education and access to goods and services. In this regard, monitoring and data collection are an indispensable tool to inform effective policy development.

The EUMC believes that measures and practices which tackle discrimination, address social marginalisation and promote inclusiveness should be integrated policy priorities. In particular, the EUMC finds that accessibility to education as well as equal opportunities in employment need consideration. Access to housing and participation in civic processes are further key issues to be tackled, particularly at the local and regional level. The EUMC encourages positive action initiatives to create an enabling environment for Europe’s diverse Muslim communities to participate fully in mainstream society.

The EUMC welcomes Community initiatives to enhance co-ordination and exchange of good practices with regards to integration policies at national and local level, as outlined in the European Commission’s Communication “Common Agenda for Integration Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the European Union”. The Common Basic Principles on Integration (CBPs), adopted by the European Council in November 2004, recognise that participation and equality are fundamental for better integration and a more cohesive society.

The EUMC welcomes the growing awareness of discrimination against Muslims and manifestations of Islamophobia in Member States, as well as the development of positive initiatives, some of which are highlighted in this report. The analysis of the available data and information, however, pointed to a number of areas where further initiatives could be taken including legislation, employment, education, the role of the media and the support of civil society. In addition, the EUMC is of the opinion that Member States should introduce or make use of existing legislative and/or administrative provisions for positive action.

On this basis and according to its role under Article 2 (e) of its founding Regulation to “formulate conclusions and opinions for the Community and its Member States”, the EUMC proposes a number of opinions within a general framework of measures against racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia and related intolerances. The opinions are listed at the end of this report.”

Berlin’s Turks support EU membership

The Turks of Berlin are strongly in support of the accession of Turkey to EU membership. This is supported both for personal and business reasons. The Turkish Community of Berlin, an association representing a fifth of the 200,000 Turks living in the German capital, estimates that 90% are in favor. Les Turcs De Berlin Pour L’adh_sion De Leur Pays S’il ne tenait qu’_ elle, affirme Mukadder G_ktas, elle serait d_j_ rentr_e vivre dans sa Turquie natale. “Mais il y a les enfants, qui veulent rester ici” , _ Berlin, o_ vit la plus grosse communaut_ turque d’Allemagne. Alors cette quadrag_naire, install_e de longue date dans le quartier de Kreuzberg, prend son mal en patience. Puisqu’elle ne peut pas retourner dans son pays, que la Turquie vienne _ elle, en entrant dans l’Union europ_enne (UE)… “Ce sera plus facile pour les gens de l_-bas de venir travailler en Allemagne et dans d’autres pays europ_ens” , pr_dit-elle. Sans parler des aides communautaires qui, selon cette boulang_re, irrigueraient sa patrie. “Ils veulent tous venir ici, c’est bien l_ le probl_me !” , interrompt Jelis G_tkas, qui aide sa tante _ servir la client_le dans la boutique familiale. “Les Turcs croient qu’il n’y a qu’_ d_m_nager ici et ramasser l’argent qui tra_ne par terre… Mais il y a d_j_ suffisamment d’_trangers en Europe, on n’a pas besoin de ch_meurs en plus” , s’enflamme-t-elle dans un allemand impeccable. V_tue d’un t-shirt rose qui lui d_voile le nombril, cette jeune femme de 22 ans fait partie de la g_n_ration des jeunes Turcs n_s en Allemagne qui s’y sont plut_t bien int_gr_s. A l’entendre, “la Turquie n’a pas encore adopt_ le mode de pens_e europ_en, elle n’est pas assez m_re pour entrer dans l’UE” . En pointant le doigt sur une femme voil_e qui passe sur le trottoir, de l’autre c_t_ de la vitrine, Jelis ajoute : “Regardez, les gens qui arrivent des villages turcs gardent leurs traditions, ils ne veulent pas s’adapter. On ne va pas aggraver les choses en faisant venir plus de monde.” De ces deux points de vue, c’est sans doute le premier qui pr_domine dans les magasins, les amicales et les appartements de Kreuzberg. La Communaut_ turque de Berlin, une association repr_sentant un cinqui_me des 200 000 Turcs vivant dans la capitale allemande, estime que 90 % d’entre eux sont favorables _ l’adh_sion de leur pays d’origine _ l’UE. Beaucoup d’hommes d’affaires la souhaitent. Toutefois, pour Ahmet Iyidirli, candidat malheureux aux _lections l_gislatives du 18 septembre sous les couleurs social-d_mocrates, la r_alit_ est plus nuanc_e. RECONNAISSANCE RENFORC_E “Les gens sont en g_n_ral mal inform_s , d_plore ce moustachu qui r_side _ Berlin depuis trente ans. Il suffit de quelques informations vues _ la t_l_ turque, re_ue par satellite, pour qu’ils changent d’avis.” Ce qui est s_r, estime-t-il, c’est que l’appartenance de la Turquie _ l’Union “renforcerait la reconnaissance de la communaut_ turque en Allemagne” . Forte de pr_s de 2,5 millions de personnes, elle a passablement souffert des retomb_es des attentats terroristes du 11 septembre 2001. Pr_sident de la Communaut_ turque de Berlin, Taciddin Yatkin met un point d’honneur _ d_noncer tout acte de violence commis au nom de la religion. Cet avocat n’en trouve que plus regrettable le fait que les partis conservateurs allemands s’opposent _ l’entr_e de la Turquie dans l’UE “pour la seule raison que c’est un pays musulman” . Il le dit avec d’autant plus d’amertume qu’il est membre de l’Union chr_tienne-d_mocrate, dont la pr_sidente, Angela Merkel, candidate _ la chancellerie, plaide pour un “partenariat privil_gi_” entre Ankara et l’Europe.

Integration of Muslim Migrants in Europe: Religious and Political Aspects in the aftermath of September 11, 2001

A Roundtable By The Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe (NOCRIME) Organized with the Censorship of the European Commission (DG Research)

Session 1: Legal, Social and Cultural Aspects of Integration of Islam in Different European Countries and in the European Union

Opening Remarks and Introduction

  • Jean-Paul Willaime EPHE, Director of GSRL (CNRS-EPHE)
  • Key Notes Speakers

  • Legal Aspects of Islamic Integration in Europe Anthony Bradney Leicester University
  • Islam in European Social, Religious and Multicultural Policies Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator
  • Chair Jean-Paul Willaime EPHE, Director of GSRL (CNRS-EPHE)

  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Research Group on French Islam, GSRL-CNRS, (Omero Marongiu, Sakina Bargach) 1) Key Point: What Is Integration? 2) Key Point: Symbolic and Legal Gap between Muslims and European Political Spheres 3) Key Point: Transnational Links and Relationship with the Countries of Origin
  • Chantal Saint Blancat University of Padova
  • Ottavia Schmidt di Friedberg University of Trieste
  • Gerdien Jonker Marburg University
  • Séan McLoughlin Leeds University
  • Dilwar Hussain The Islamic Foundation, U.K.
  • Hakim Elghissassi Magazine La Medina, France
  • Lidya Nofal AL-INSANN, Germany
  • Rijai Tatari UCIDE, Spain
  • Ahmed Jaballah Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines, France
  • Session 2: The Political Dimension of Inclusion of Islam The Question of Islam in European Governance

    Key Note Speakers

  • Consequences of September 11th on Immigration and Foreign Policies in Europe
  • Didier Bigo Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris
  • Elspeth Guild University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Responses of the EU to September 11th
  • Tung-Lai Margue European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs
  • Angela Liberatore European Commission, DG Research
  • Chair

  • Aristotelis Gavriliadis European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs
  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Key Point: Racism and Xenophobia against Muslims and the Role of the European Institutions

  • Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator
  • Valérie Amiraux CURAPP-CNRS
  • Nico Landman Utrecht University
  • Jonas Otterbek Malmö University
  • Gema Martín-Muñoz University Autonoma of Madrid
  • And Muslim Representatives

  • Dilwar Hussain The Islamic Foundation, U.K.
  • Hakim Elghissassi Magazine La Medina, France
  • Lidya Nofal AL-INSANN, Germany
  • Rijai Tatari UCIDE, Spain
  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Key Point: The Muslim Voice in the Political and Legal Debate After 9/11

    Concluding Remarks

    Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator

    Sorbonne: Salle des Commissions du Rectorat 46, rue St-Jacques – 75005 Paris