Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hate speech in Europe
- Welcome the LIBE hearing on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hate speech in Europe held on 29th June and the oral question tabled by the LIBE Committee which is being debated.
- Welcome the 1st Colloquium on Fundamental Rights organised by the EuropeanCommission’s VP Frans Timmermans on 1-2 October, on the issue of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
- Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are topical issues given the rise in discrimination and racist crimes targeting Muslims and Jews, or those perceived as such. The issues should be connected to the broader anti-racism and non-discrimination fight with increasing Afrophobia, anti-migrant/ refugees racism, anti-Roma/Gypsyism as well as other grounds of discrimination.
- The rise of different forms of racism is a direct violation of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles upon which the European Union is founded and which are common to the Member States.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia
- Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are the products of different histories and ideologies but are both specific forms of discrimination and racism based on people’s real or perceived belonging to Jewish or Muslim communities and both should be equally addressed.
- Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia can be expressed in the form of policies and practices, including by restraining freedom of religion of both Jewish and Muslim communities, verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage, graffiti or other hate speech, including on social media and more broadly on the internet.
- Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia can be perpetrated by state and non-state actors.
- Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic stereotyping and stigmatisation continues to be a reality in Member States. These two phenomena allows violence, discrimination and hate speech against Jewish and Muslims communities to be normalised in European Union society.
- Worrying crimes against Jewish people and worship places in recent years such as in Toulouse, Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen as well as rising casual anti-Semitism.
- Rising Islamophobia with attacks against Swedish mosques, with PEGIDA movement in Germany, with policies and practices discriminating against Muslims including from law enforcement bodies, and more specifically against Muslim women and Islamophobic discourses, policies and physical assaults towards refugees.
- Jewish or Muslim people wearing visible religious symbols are most likely to be targeted.
- The intersectionality between anti-Semitism/Islamophobia and gender discrimination needs to be taken into consideration.
- Jewish men are more likely to be victims of street violence because of their visibility.
- Muslim women are disproportionately affected by Islamophobia (e.g. they represent 78% of the victims of Islamophobia1 in France).
- Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic speeches are often openly expressed, including in the media and by some political parties.
- Expression of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on the internet especially on social media is on the rise.
- The common nature of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic prejudices which contribute to social exclusion, discrimination, and sometimes even violence must be dealt with through formal and non-formal education systems.
Requests for action by European Institutions/Member States
- Need for concrete follow-up and actions after important political events such as Colloquium and LIBE hearing.
- Welcome the appointment of two coordinators on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism announced by VP Timmermans.
- The role of these coordinators should be
- – to ensure that the EU reacts swiftly in serious cases of attacks or systemic discrimination targeting Muslims and Jews by calling Member States to redress the situation and reminding the EU fundamental rights standards and legislation they should abide
- – to ensure that issues related to these communities are understood and mainstreamed in the relevant EU institutions. Permanent work and consultation with civil society groups coming from these two communities are therefore necessary.
- Other forms of racism shouldn’t be forgotten and should also be addressed. There needs to be the appointment of coordinators for other forms of racism, such as for Afrophobia.
- Call on the European Commission to propose a framework for national strategies/policy commitments to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia with specific and concrete goals according to each national context, including the essential component of educational curricula that effectively promote respect for diversity.
- Call on Member States to adopt the European Union Equal Treatment Directive which would cover discrimination on the basis of religion or belief outside of employment and fill in the gaps in the non-discrimination legislation framework.
- Call for further implementation and strengthening of EU & national legal basis to tackle hate crime and to ensure investigation and prosecution of racist crimes.
- Call for harmonised data collection methods as well as strengthening methods of reporting and recording of incidents.