October 29, 2013
Financial instability leads to an increase of resentment and prejudice against migrants, Muslims and Roma.
Now available online, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI ) which shows the level of racism in EU countries. European countries, the report says, must come to terms with their multiculturalism and recognize the important role that immigration plays in the economy.
According to the report, the financial instability leads to an increase of resentment and prejudice against migrants, Muslims and Roma. This is what ECRI noted in visits to member countries in 2012. It also highlights the increasing consensus of xenophobic parties and their growing presence in European parliaments and the spread of hate speech on the internet.
The report also notes the plight of Roma children who have little access to education or suffer school segregation. According to ECRI it is important that EU and non-EU countries implement strategies for Roma inclusion.
Finally, ECRI calls on member states to implement a constructive dialogue with representatives of Muslim communities and the media to encourage discussion and strengthen inter-religious dialogue.
The full report [in English] can be found here: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/activities/Annual_Reports/Annual%20report%202012.pdf
October 15, 2013
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has released a fourth report on the Netherlands. The third cycle of the report was released in 2008, and this most recent report covers the situation until March 2013.
With respect to Muslims, the ECRI notes that while discriminatory incidents against Muslims appear to have decreased, reported offences against individuals of Moroccan heritage have increased, and online discriminatory statements largely concern Muslims (and Jews). The ECRI further called on Dutch authorities to oppose manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiment in politics and to “refrain from promoting debate on policies that have as their main objective the polarization of Dutch society around issues of relevance to Muslim communities”.
Full ECRI report: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/country-by-country/netherlands/NLD-CbC-IV-2013-039-ENG.pdf
27-28 January 2011
Facoltà di Scienze Politiche
Sala Poeti, Strada Maggiore 45, Bologna
Gender, Migration and Intercultural Interactions
in the Mediterranean and South East Europe
(European Commission FP7 project)
Dipartimento di Politica, Istituzioni, Storia Swedish Research Council
Stefano Allievi, Schirin Amir-Moazami, Raffaella Baritono, Gaia Giuliani,
Nilüfer Göle, Jeanette Jouili, Helen Kambouri, Pia Karlsson Minganti,
Laura Lanzillo, Angela Liberatore, Mila Mancheva, Sandro Mezzadra,
Vincenzo Pace, Renata Pepicelli, Anne Sofie Roald,
Evgenia Troeva-Grigorova, Stefano Zan
Sandro Mezzadra, Pia Karlsson Minganti, Renata Pepicelli (University of Bologna)
The Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is requiring all US-bound travelers to undergo full body scans as part of the security screening process. They will be employing the scanners within three weeks.
Interior minister Guusje ter Horst says the US disapproved of Dutch use of scanners due to privacy issues. Washington and ter Horst now agree that “all possible measures will be used on flights to the US.”
US Homeland Security Department deny that they ever discouraged the use of scanners.
The EU has not approved routine use of the machines. The new rule will require permission from the European parliament, and a change in legislation is required. The European Commission is meeting with member states next week to discuss the matter.
A planned trip to Turkey by a delegation from the Dutch parliament has been cancelled. The trip was scheduled for January, and intended as a “fact finding mission” in connection with Turkey’s hopes to join the EU.
Last week a representative from the foreign affairs ministry stated that Geert Wilders, leader of the right wing Freedom Party (PVV) would not be welcome in the country. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, was free to refuse to receive the Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders, though the statement did not represent an official position from the Turkish government.
In response to the comment, Dutch MPs voted yesterday to cancel the January trip even though politicians, academics and other interest groups had agreed to meet delegates. “The delegation takes the view it is for parliament to decide who should be in the delegation,” the parliamentary European affairs commission said in a statement.
DutchNews.nl reports that Turkish MPs are disappointed by the cancelled trip. “If a Dutch colleague has preconceptions about our country, the best thing to do is welcome him and change his mind,” Yasar Yakis, chairman of the Turkish parliament’s EU harmonisation committee told the NRC.
The European rabbinical umbrella organization “Conference of European Rabbis” (CER) boycotted an interfaith conference in Belgium after it was determined that Muslim delegates included alleged members of the Muslim brotherhood movement. The meeting, co-hosted by the European commission and the European Parliament, took place in Brussels on Monday of this week. The interfaith meeting was intended to bring together four religious leaders from each participating faith community. In a statement explaining the decision not to attend the meeting, the executive director of the CER said: “We do not consider it appropriate for organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who made or endorsed anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to be present.” These invitees, according to the CER, are “extremists who are not representative of the vast majority of Europe’s Muslim citizens.” The statement noted that the interfaith initiative was a positive one, but that it was undermined by the inclusion of some persons who are more interested in divisiveness than dialogue. The European Commission said that the decision was regrettable, as president Jose Manuel Barroso stated: “This meeting aims to foster dialogue and build on common ground, regarding the importance of this economic and financial crisis and we believe it is important to contribute. …It is time for unity and not for isolation on such an important topic.”
With TL 3.5 million in support from the European Commission, France-based Turkish sociologist Dr. Nilüfer Göle is beginning the most comprehensive study to date on Islam in Europe. Göle is known for a number of research projects and books on the subject of Islam and Europe, with her most recent book, “Interpenetrations: Europe and Islam,” translated into Turkish last month.
Speaking with the Anatolia news agency, Göle, in Turkey for the Europe-Islam Synthesis Project, said her latest venture was important in representing a broad, unified effort as opposed to a plethora of cooperative projects. Among the subjects she will probe as part of the project is the connection between the religion of Islam and the European public space. Islam is a concept that exists both inside and outside Europe, which gives rise to a number of anachronisms when the topic is raised in European circles, she said. For this reason, her work will attempt not just to “read” Muslims in Europe, but also to “read” the interactions between Europeans and Muslims. Islam at the center of hot debates across Europe
Göle calls Islam the most exciting topic in Europe, with the headscarf playing a major role, having become a topic of public debate in France, Germany, Norway and other European nations. “To understand today’s Islam, [Muslim women] covering [their hair] is a key topic. The headscarf issue sparked two years of lively debate in France, ending in the creation of new legislation. For one, the headscarf issue became a component of European legislation — when this happened, it was written into the public memory, albeit in an anachronistic and contentious manner. But it became a European issue,” she said.
Göle’s work will also have important repercussions on the analysis of the Islam factor in Turkey’s European Union membership process. “Turkey’s [EU] candidacy has moved beyond the constraints of Turkey’s applications to become an issue of Europe’s identification of itself. My focus is on this topic precisely: beyond Turkey’s performance in its candidacy, the question of what kind of an identity Europe will create for itself. The answer to this question is that Europe has begun to make clear its identity through its comportment toward Turkey’s membership. The idea of Turkish membership became a reason for the beginning of introspection for Europe. It sparked it. And here Islam is not a passive factor, it is an active factor,” she said.
In a report by the monitoring committee of the organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Netherlands is coming under fire for doing very little to stop Islamophobia – this pertaining to the release of an anti-Quran film by Geert Wilders, expected to be released later this month. The Islamophobia Monitor, the first ever such report by the OIC, will be discussed by the 57 OIC member states at a summit in Senegal Thursday. The report describes Wilders’ film as an extremely provocative documentary, and points to the recent report by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released in February, which points to shortfalls in the government’s handling of Islamophobia in the country.
The European Commission warned all of its offices around the world ahead of a film criticizing the Quran by a Dutch politician. “We have informed our delegations that the film – due for release soon, although we don’t know exactly when – could draw protests,” said EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner’s spokeswoman, Christiane Hohmann. Hohmann continued that no alarm should be raised, but it is important to be prepared, and to monitor the issue as needed.
Every visitor to the European Union would have to provide fingerprints before being allowed to enter EU countries, under plans unveiled by the European Commission to clamp down on illegal immigration. Also included in the plan, is an initiative to record the arrival and departure of non-EU citizens, and store the data in a single database as part of an overhaul of border security. All 27 EU governments must approve the scheme before it can come into force in 2013. Civil rights groups who fear that it could lead to a fortress Europe mentality against foreigners and possible identity theft have criticized the plans.