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EU Conference Tackles Discrimination Against Muslims

EU Conference Tackles Discrimination Against Muslims

Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 - 11:15
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 20, 2018. Picture taken June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Brussels - Abdullah Mustafa
The European Commission has hosted at its headquarters in Brussels this week a high level conference on tackling discrimination against Muslims.

The one-day conference entitled “Tackling Intolerance And Discrimination Against Muslims In The European Union” gathered over a 100 representatives of national authorities, civil society, academia, the religious community, EU agencies and international organizations.

Reports from international and civil society organizations and recent surveys point to persistent intolerance and racism against Muslims in the EU, as well as to structural forms of discrimination (e.g. in access to employment or education) directed against individuals, women in particular, with a Muslim background.

The First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, said: “Recent surveys show that intolerance towards Muslims is growing in the EU and the protection of their basic fundamental rights is being challenged.”

“In our European vision there is no place for discrimination against any minority. After all, we are all minorities in the European Union,” he said.

Vera Jourova, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, also said: “Discrimination, acts of intolerance or racism against the 25 million Muslims living in the EU is a violation of their fundamental rights, but it also fuels marginalization and self-exclusion. We need to fight this intolerance and discrimination, as these only make us weaker and more fragile."

During the meeting, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched its new database on anti-Muslim hatred.

Fauzaya Talhaoui, a former Belgian lawmaker who is of Moroccan origin, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the past few years have seen a rise in Islamophobia in Europe.

“Politicians here should take into consideration that one million Muslims live in Belgium,” the ex-lawmaker said. “So, they should resolve their problems, including racism.”

Also in remarks to the newspaper, the head of Belgium’s Ulemas League regretted the conditions of the country’s Ulemas and mosques, and of the Muslim minority in Europe.

He called for equality and tolerance in service of the entire community.

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