Muslims on front line as racism rises across EU

ENARRacism, xenophobia and far-right extremism are on the rise across Europe, according to a comprehensive survey which found that Muslim communities face mounting discrimination and prejudice. The report, by non-governmental organisations in 20 EU countries, criticises governments for losing interest in the battle against racism, and says the political reaction to terrorist attacks has made life harder for ethnic minorities.

The inquiry by the European Network against Racism highlights a trend towards “increased tolerance for discriminatory behaviour particularly against immigrants and Muslims”. It adds that “a lack of political will to address racism is sometimes evident and disturbing”.

Victims of racism range from Europe’s Jewish communities to its Roma minorities. But a separate document on Islamophobia reports a dramatic increase in incidents against Muslims, particularly in France. It says: “The rise of intolerance and discrimination towards Muslims has risen in the last year and the underlying tones of Islamophobia have infiltrated all forms of public and private lives for Muslims in Europe.”

Independent, 26 July 2006

The ENAR report “Islamophobia in Europe” (pdf) can be found here.