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'Hatred against Muslims in Europe threatens co-existence'

July 25, 2023 at 2:37 pm

A protest against the burning of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark on January 29, 2023 [Cemal Yurttas/ dia images via Getty Images]

Hate speech and racism against Muslims in Europe have increased significantly, threatening co-existence in societies, the head of Hamad bin Khalifa Civilisation Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark said, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The phenomenon of hatred against European Muslims has become a topic of discussion in most European media and has been acknowledged by some government departments,” Abdul Hamid Al-Hamdi told Anadolu.

He went on to say: “This was evident when the German Ministry of Interior published a report concluding that the Muslim minority in Germany is the most vulnerable to racial discrimination and hate speech.”

In late June, the Ministry released a report prepared by the Independent Expert Group on Hostility to Muslims, which stated that a third of Muslims in Germany suffer from hostility due to their religion. Around 5.5 million Muslims live in the European country.

Commenting on the report, Al-Hamdi said: “This report may be specific to Muslims in Germany only, but the scene is almost the same across the European continent.”

READ: Freedom of speech is used in the West to cover attacks against Muslims 

Regarding the manifestations of racism in Europe, Al-Hamdi stated that it takes various forms, starting with individual cases where Muslims encounter difficulties in obtaining housing or work due to their names, appearance or origins.

Veiled women have become particularly vulnerable to racism, facing offensive speech and harassment.

“Racism has reached higher levels than before, with the rise of far-right parties in most European countries adopting an anti-Muslim approach,” he said.

Al-Hamdi warned that this “dangerous” development threatens the future of co-existence in these countries, especially since a significant proportion of Muslims has become European citizens after obtaining citizenship and fulfilling their duties before the law.

“The escalation of hate speech to record levels has created a gap between Europeans, based on religion and race,” he said.

According to Al-Hamdi, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war since 24 February, 2022, has made racism against Muslims in Europe evident in the media’s treatment of Ukrainian refugees.

He explained: “Unfortunately, a narrative was adopted that Ukrainian refugees are completely different from those coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.”

Asked about the role of European Muslims in confronting hate speech, Al-Hamdi replied: “European law is enforceable and has authority over everyone, and that is why Muslims of Europe rely on the force of law to protect them.”

“We seek to present a civilised image of the Islamic religion that refutes all narratives of populists, extremists and exclusionary thinkers,” he added.

READ: US Muslim group urges Biden, Swedish Premier to condemn Quran burning in Sweden