Anti-Muslim Racism in Germany

June 27, 2014

Marking the 5th anniversary of the murder of Marwa El-Sherbini, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany declared 1st July 2014 as the nationwide “Day against Anti-Muslim Racism”. Aiman A. Mazyek, Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, will participate at the commemoration ceremony of the murdered Muslim woman Marwa El-Sherbini on the upcoming 1st July.

Proposal of June 18, 2014: Yes to secularism, no to discrimination

June 18, 2014

On June 18, 2014 representatives of several French associations published a petition advocating: “Yes to secularism, no to discrimination.” Among the signatories are sociologists Jean Baubérot, Christine Delohy and Saïd Bouamama, along with Hervé Bramy, Patrick Braouezek and journalist Rokhaya Diallo, among others.

The petition begins: “We veiled women banned from school field trips, but also parents of schoolchildren, women, union members, activists, female and male politicians, intellectuals, citizens, launch an appeal for respect for secularism and the end to discriminatory treatments.”

At a time when France is making international headlines after the recent European Parliament Elections witnessed the rise of far-right parties, the petition claims that France has transformed from a country that stands for “human rights” into one that “rejects foreigners, ‘others,’ and all those who do not conform to the predominant norm (white, male, Christian, rich).” The call for equal rights aims to create a “desire to be unified regardless of difference.”

Currently, veiled mothers are not allowed to chaperon their children on field trips, but have the right to vote in school committee elections and to be members of these committees. “We can’t find coherent arguments to explain this to our children,” states the petition, “At their age what would they think of the mistreatment that their mother is subjected to on the part of educational institutions?”

The appeal points to the increasing discrimination that Muslim women face when they accompany their children to school. Yet the petition does not seek to dismantle secularism, rather to ensure that secularism is “finally respected and fairly applied.”

“We, signatories of this appeal, request the repeal of the Chatel memorandum, that which is sexist and Islamophobic, as well as all the discriminatory laws and memorandums that preceded it. Islamophobia, discrimination, sexism, injustice, inequality, stigmatization: That’s enough.”

The signatories invite those who support secularism and equality to put an end to discrimination, which “promotes the rise of extremism that pits populations against one another.” They requested a meeting on June 18 before the Ministry of Education to call for an end to the Chatel memorandum.

New Mexico Iraqi woman hurt in possible hate crime

June 13, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Iraqi Catholic refugee who was assaulted in her Albuquerque apartment appears to be the victim of a hate crime by an attacker who yelled obscenities about Muslims, police said.

According to Albuquerque police, a man last week forced his way into the home of Seham Jaber, shouting nasty remarks about Muslims and punching her in the head and stomach. The intruder then tore up her family’s citizenship papers in the June 5 attack, investigators said.

“The irony is the individual thought the family was Muslim, and they’re actually refugees from Iraq who are Catholic,” Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said.

Jaber, who speaks Arabic, told police the unknown assailant also stole at least $20,000 in gold, which represented her family’s life savings. The assailant also stole jewelry, she said.

The FBI now is investigating the case as a possible federal hate crime, Albuquerque police said Friday.

British Social Attitudes 31 (2014 edition) full report

British Social Attitudes 31 (2014 edition) [FULL REPORT PDF DOWNLOAD]

British Social Attitudes 31 (2014 edition)
British Social Attitudes 31 (2014 edition)

Each year NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey asks over 3,000 people what it’s like to live in Britain and what they think about how Britain is run.

Since 1983 we’ve been measuring and tracking changes in people’s social, political and moral attitudes.

The survey is a critical gauge of public opinion, and is used by the Government, journalists, opinion formers and academics.


More on the report is available here:

Cam Clash, revealing daily Islamophobia

May 27, 2014

Cam clash is a television series that airs Monday nights on France 4. It uses hidden cameras and actors to portray everyday occurrences, such as instances of discrimination, and then evaluates the public’s reaction.

In its most recent episode, Cam clash presents a scene of a young woman entering the Paris metro. She confronts a veiled Muslim woman and remarks, “we are no longer at home.” Three bystanders come to the Muslim woman’s defense, while a fourth supports the woman’s racist remarks.

The video has sparked considerable controversy because it “raises serious moral questions. The lack of distinction between true and false concerning this type of video, which can very quickly spread on the web, may be prejudicial towards real situations by casting doubt on them, and can lead to the viewer’s misconception and reinforce their fears or prejudices.”

Others believe that this type of video is necessary in order to bring these situations to the public’s attention because they raise awareness of the dangers of such widespread societal attitudes.

Racism on the rise in Britain

27th May 2014

The proportion of Britons who admit to being racially prejudiced has risen since the start of the millennium, raising concerns that growing hostility to immigrants and widespread Islamophobia are setting community relations back 20 years.

New data from the authoritative British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, shows that after years of increasing tolerance, the percentage of people who describe themselves as prejudiced against those of other races has risen overall since 2001.

The data is in stark contrast to other indicators of social change such as attitudes to same-sex relationships and sex before marriage. By those measures, the UK has become a more accepting, liberal country.

The shadow justice minister, Sadiq Khan, said the findings should come as a wake-up call. “This is clear evidence that we cannot be complacent about racial prejudice. Where it manifests itself, it blights our society. Those in positions of authority must take their responsibilities seriously. It also falls to us to address the underlying causes.”

Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Integration doesn’t happen by accident – you have to work at it. If we want to avoid a slow descent into mutual bigotry, we need to drop the dogma, stop singing kumbaya to each other, weigh the evidence without sentiment, recognise the reality, and work out a programme – both symbolic and practical – to change the reality.”

Campaigners say the new findings are in part a result of a decade that included 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror”, rising inequality and increasing hostility towards immigration. The BSA survey data shows different levels of prejudice stemming from age, class and gender, with older men in manual jobs most ready to admit to racial prejudice.

So what has driven the apparent growth in prejudice? Prof Tariq Modood, from Bristol University, said the findings suggested many people were conflating anti-Muslim sentiment and racial animus. “I don’t think there is any doubt that hostility to Muslims and suspicion of Muslims has increased since 9/11, and that is having a knock-on effect on race and levels of racial prejudice.”

Prof Bhikhu Parekh, the Labour peer who in 1998 chaired the ground-breaking Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, said the data revealed a country increasingly ill at ease with itself.

The BSA survey data shows wide variance in levels of prejudice throughout the UK. In combined figures for 2012-13, 16% of people questioned in inner London admitted to racial prejudice. Outer London and Scotland emerged as the next most tolerant areas, at 26% and 25% respectively. Other regions – including Wales – hovered around the 30% mark. The West Midlands emerged as the place with the highest level of self-reported prejudice at 35% – a difference deemed statistically significant. The BSA survey shows that the West Midlands has the highest proportion of people – 36% – who say they are a little or very prejudiced against people of other races in the UK.

Racism Prevails In France: Report

April 4, 2014


France’s annual report on racism has revealed a dramatic increase in intolerance among French people, reaching its highest level since 2002, amid concerns among anti-racism groups of the growing anti-immigration sentiments in the society.

“The commission’s report presents figures that are very worrying for French society,” wrote Louis-Georges Tin, president of Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) for the Nouvel Obs website.

Commissioned by the government’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), the annual racism report for 2013 was based on survey results by the French institute conducting opinion polls.

According to the bleak report, nearly 35% of surveyed people acknowledged being “racist”, compared to 29% in 2012.

Out of 1000 respondents, ninety identified themselves to be “quite” racists, while 260 said that they are “little” racists.

The most vulnerable races to discrimination in the French society are the Roma and Arab Muslim minorities, as 87% of respondents agreed that they are “separate groups in French society”.

The annual report, which aims to fight racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, found that “levels of intolerance were apparently on the rise for the fourth year running and the number of French people concerned by immigration stood at 16%”.

The rise of Racism in France can be linked to the recent victories by the far-right National Front (FN) party that won local elections in 11 towns. About 63% the French people believe that immigrants are not working.

More than two-thirds of the respondents said that hijab poses a problem for the French community.

The annual report has also found that racial language became more common over the past year, mainly targeting Muslim and Roma minorities.

Racism Decreased

Although the results of the public survey found a critical increase in racism among French people, members of the CNCDH claimed that racism in France “was decreasing over the long term”.

“The time of ratonnades (violent attacks on North African immigrants) has passed, but the racism that exists today is more underhand and it is no longer reserved for the extreme fringes of society. It penetrates all levels,” Christine Lazerges, President of CNCDH told a press conference this week.

“The scapegoats today are primarily the Roma, who have been stigmatized, including by the government and then North African Muslims.”

According to Lazerges, CNCDH president, the survey results reflect a “growing lack of intolerance and acceptance for those who are different”.

France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe.

French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious practices.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.

France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.

Last December, a French government report has proposed ending the ban on Muslim headscarves, teaching Arabic and emphasizing the ‘Arab-Oriental’ dimension of French identity.

The report stressed that France, with Europe’s largest Muslim population, should recognize the “Arab-oriental dimension” of its identity.

Yet, in the same month the French minister of education has maintained 2004 ban on hijab for Muslim volunteers in school trips, ignoring a legal advice from France’s Council of State.

Time to talk about racism

April 4, 2014


Until such time as there is an open debate about racism, the debate about integration in Germany will not more forward. After all, as Aladin El-Mafaalani explains, integration and racism are two key elements of a discourse on participation that a country of immigration has to address.



France Pays Muslim Soldiers’ Debt

February 19, 2014


A century after their sacrifices to France, long forgotten French Muslim soldiers have been remembered by President Francois Hollande who said France “owed a debt” to Muslim soldiers who died in World War I, pledging to fight racism and discrimination targeting the religious minority.

“France will never forget the price of the blood shed” by Muslim soldiers, Hollande said at a ceremony in Paris’s Grand Mosque on Tuesday, February 18, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Holland’s visit to the mosque, the first since being elected president in 2012, comes ahead of events planned later this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

About 600,000 troops from France’s colonies took part in the 1914-18 war and about 70,000 Muslims lost their lives at the battle of Verdun in 1916, according to figures released by the Defence Ministry in 2010.

Hollande unveiled a plaque paying tribute to the 100,000 French Muslims who died fighting in the two world wars.

His presidential predecessors Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy also presented memorials and plaques remembering Muslims who fought for France.

Islam is “perfectly compatible with the values of France,” Hollande said.

“This homage is a call for respect,” Hollande said, urging a “fierce fight against discrimination, inequality and racism” as well as against “anti-Muslim words and acts.”

France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe’s largest.

According to a poll published in April last year, three out of four French people have an negative image of Islam.

French Muslims have been complaining of growing restrictions on their religious freedoms.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.

France has also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public.

The Grand Mosque of Paris, the largest mosque in France, was built between 1922 -1926.

French Muslim leaders have welcomed Hollande’s move to remember Muslim fighters.

“Even if this is not new, it’s good that François Hollande again reminds those who reject Muslims that thousands of natives died for France,” said Abdallah Zekri of the CFCM coalition of Islamic groupings, RFI reported on Tuesday.

“He should seize the chance to discuss the present worrying atmosphere with us,” he added.

On the other hand, Louis Aliot, the vice-president of the far-right Front National, slammed the visit as a “crude attempt at manipulation”.

“These comments are totally irresponsible because France has never forgotten the soldiers who died for France,” he stormed, claiming that the ceremony is exploiting them for the sake of “sectarian lobbyists”.

“If increasingly radical political Islam poses a problem […] of republican compatibility in our country, it’s not up to France to adapt and to provide answers it’s up to that religion,” Aliot said.

French media has also interpreted the visit as being aimed at gaining the favor of Muslims, who currently constitute five percent of the country’s voters, ahead of the March local elections.