A total of 71 per cent of young Muslims in Malta feel they have been discriminated against, a European study has concluded. Seventy-one per cent of young Muslims in Malta said they were discriminated against while a third of young Muslims interviewed all over Europe said they had experienced the same. Also, 64 per cent of Africans of North and Sub-Saharan origin in Malta who identified themselves as Muslims, experienced discrimination in the past 12 months. The European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS), the first EU-wide survey to ask immigrant and ethnic minority groups about their experiences of discrimination and criminal victimisation in everyday life, uncovered the information when the survey was published yesterday. The report says that the Malta’s example merits future careful examination. “The high levels of experienced discrimination should be toned down as they affect asylum seekers primarily, who enter the country in disproportionate numbers to those in other member states and to the size of the country’s population, as United Nations High Commission for Refugees figures show. This could mean that Malta stands to benefit from targeted EU support in its efforts to deal with discrimination in relation to specific groups, such as asylum seekers. Regarding the number of discrimination incidents among those discriminated against at least once in the past year, Malta placed 6th among the 19 participant countries with 6.8 incidents. Fifty-two per cent of Muslims in Malta are not aware of a law that forbids discrimination against people looking for a job on the basis of their ethnic or immigrant background. 23 per cent said it does not exist and 25 per cent said it does. It is interesting to note that 94 per cent of Muslims said Malta does not have an agency that offers support to people who were discriminated against. In fact Africans in Malta and Iraqis in Sweden were the least aware of anti-discrimination structure. Elaine Attard reports.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) today released a report on discrimination against Muslims in the EU. The results for Muslim respondents indicate similarly high levels of discrimination and victimisation as for other minority groups surveyed. Many racist incidents are not reported to the police or to any other organisation. Knowledge of anti-discrimination legislation is low, and there is a lack of trust in complaints mechanisms.
FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: “Overall, the results suggest that Muslims are treated very differently, dependent on both their ethnic origin and their country of residence. Wearing traditional clothing hardly increases discrimination. Muslims surveyed do not consider religion to be the main reason for their discrimination.”
On average 1 in 3 Muslim respondents were discriminated against in the past 12 months, and 11% experienced a racist crime. The highest levels of discrimination occurred in employment.
Morten Kjaerum: “The high levels of discrimination in employment are worrying. Employment is a key part of the integration process. It is central to the contributions that migrants make to society, and to making such contributions visible. Discrimination may hamper the integration process”.
The FRA calls on EU governments to tackle the situation of discrimination by making people aware about how to make a complaint, improving the recording of discrimination and racist crime, better informing people of their rights, allocating more resources to integration measures, especially for youth, and strengthening the role and capacity of accessible mechanisms for reporting racist incidents.
The findings form part of the first ever EU-wide survey on immigrant and ethnic minority groups’ experiences of discrimination and racist crime (“EU MIDIS”). The report covers 14 EU countries.