Europe has an Islamophobia problem. Who’s going to stop it?


Europe has an Islamophobia problem. Who’s going to stop it?

There isn’t a single country in Europe where Islamophobic attacks are not on the rise. France saw a 52% increase from 2017 to 2018; in Austria it was 74%. And in the same year, seven pig’s heads were left threateningly around Dutch mosques. In England and Wales, religiously motivated attacks increased fivefold from 2011-2018, with Muslims making up the majority of victims. And more than one in four people in the EU would be uncomfortable with their child being in love with a Muslim.

Today, it is perpetuated by a poorly regulated media and sustained by agenda-driven think-tanks and self-professed ‘experts’ who brazenly deny the existence of anti-Muslim bigotry. In its most implicit incarnation, Islamophobia is a prejudicial barrier, and in its most explicit form it manifests as an existential threat to all who suffer in its shadow.

“Migration is the mother of all problems” – that’s according to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. But central to the flagrant anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment stoked by politicians across our continent is an unchecked undercurrent of Islamophobia.

Muslims have been selectively scapegoated for the ills of society, and relentless suspicion has been unfairly and unjustly cast our way for merely existing. Often the first to suffer are women who choose to express their Muslim faith and identity in the clothes they wear – in 2018, 76% of victims of Islamophobic incidents in Belgium were female.

Instead of defending people’s liberties to the last; their basic human rights and freedom to eat what they want, to wear what they like. and practice the faith of their choice, we have mainstream political leaders telling Muslim girls they don’t have a right to freedom of expression, issuing fines for calls to prayer, or banning halal meat.

While far-right extremism and populism proliferates, European governments and political leaders have been culpably complicit in condoning and abetting anti-Muslim hatred like no other form of racism…


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