By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA): Islamophobic incidents rose across Europe due to the increase in far-right movements’ influence, according to a report by an Ankara-based think tank.
“European Islamophobia Report 2018,” released recently by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), focused in detail on the underlying dynamics that directly or indirectly support the rise of anti-Muslim racism in Europe.
The report shed light on “Islamophobic terrorism and the impact of anti-Muslim discourse upon human rights, multiculturalism, and the state of law in Europe”.
Rise of Islamophobia posed a threat not only to Muslims but also to the security and stability of Europe, according to the report.
The media also played a crucial role in the reproduction and normalization of anti-Muslim racism, it said.
“There is, generally, only very little positive media coverage of Muslim communities in Europe,” noted the report, and added: “Islamophobic hatred is often spread via the Internet”.
Anti-Muslim sentiments were also regularly manifested in petitions, the report said.
Islamophobic language by high-ranking politicians, mostly from the far right, normalizes a dehumanizing and racist language when it comes to the portrayal of Muslims, it added.
“Muslims are among the first victims of the rise of far-right extremism in Europe,” the report stressed.
Some mainstream parties also “legitimized the hatred against the other,” even using “far-right arguments for electoral purposes,” it added.
Islamophobic incidents across Europe in 2018
Violent acts result from the dehumanizing ideology of racism, and Muslims were increasingly becoming victims solely because of their faith, said the report.
Around 70 cases of Islamophobic incidents were recorded in Belgium, where 76% of the victims were female, it noted.
In Austria, 540 cases of Islamophobic incidents were recorded in 2018, compared to 309 cases in 2017 — a rise of approximately 74% of anti-Muslim racist acts.
In France, 676 Islamophobic incidents were documented in 2018 against 446 in 2017 with a 52% rise. Among these 676 incidents, 20 involved physical attacks (3%), 568 discrimination (84%), and 88 of them involved hate speech (13%).
In Germany, there were 678 attacks on German Muslims, including 40 attacks on mosques.
Some 1,775 attacks were on refugees, 173 on asylum homes, and 95 on aid workers in Germany, according to the report.
In the Netherlands, 91% of a total of 151 incidents of religious discrimination reported to the police was against Muslims.
Religiously motivated crime in England and Wales rose by 415% from 2011 to 2018, the report noted.
SETA is a non-profit research institute dedicated to innovative studies on national, regional, and international issues.
[Map of Europe. By San Jose/Hayden120 retouch/Creative Commons]