UN: Anti-Muslim hatred at ‘epidemic’ proportions


UN: Anti-Muslim hatred at ‘epidemic’ proportions

In response to security threats due to horrific acts purportedly carried out in the name of Islam, some states have responded by adopting measures that disproportionately target Muslims, the leading UN expert on freedom of religion said Thursday.

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, in a report to the Human Rights Council, referred to widespread negative representations of Islam, fear of Muslims generally, and security and counter terrorism policies.

He said these have served to perpetuate, validate, and normalize discrimination, hostility, and violence towards Muslim individuals and communities.

“Islamophobia builds imaginary constructs around Muslims that are used to justify state-sponsored discrimination, hostility, and violence against Muslims with stark consequences for the enjoyment of human rights including freedom of religion or belief,” said Shaheed, also a former foreign minister of the Maldives.

The UN expert said that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 and “other horrific acts of terrorism purportedly carried out in the name of Islam,” institutional suspicion of Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have escalated to “epidemic proportions.” “In such climates of exclusion, fear, and distrust, Muslims report that they often feel stigma, shame, and a sense that they are ‘suspect communities’ that are being forced to bear collective responsibility for the actions of a small minority,” he said, without naming specific countries.

The report cites European surveys in 2018 and 2019 showing that 37% of the population held unfavorable views of Muslims.

In 2017, some 30% of Americans surveyed viewed Muslims in a negative light.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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