EU Report: Muslims Face ‘Islamophobia’

Muslims across Europe are confronting a rise in “Islamophobia” ranging from violent attacks to discrimination in job and housing markets, a wide-ranging European Union report indicated Monday. The study, compiled by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, urged European authorities to strengthen policies on integration. But it also noted that Muslims need to do more to counter negative perceptions driven by terrorism and upheavals such as the backlash to cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The 117-page survey details the many divides between the EU mainstream and the estimated 13 million Muslims – now at least 3.5 percent of the 25-nation bloc’s population – and seeks to offer a street-level view of the complexities blocking efforts to bridge the differences. The report urged EU nations to develop more clear legal frameworks for Muslim cultural and religious institutions, including ways to make more public funds available to Islamic community groups and help train local imams. The report also said Europe’s Muslims are “often disproportionately represented” in poor housing conditions, unemployment statistics and in lower education levels.