Experiences of Muslims in Europe "changed little" in recent years

A new report says the vast majority of Muslims in the EU have a high sense of trust in democratic institutions despite experiencing widespread discrimination and harassment.

The survey, by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), said the experiences of Muslim immigrants and their EU-born children reveal that public attitudes have changed “all too little” over the last decade.

FRA director Michael O'Flaherrty said,“Our survey results make a mockery of the claim that Muslims aren’t integrated into our societies. On the contrary, we see a trust in democratic institutions that is higher than much of the general population.

 “However, every incident of discrimination and hate crime hampers their inclusion and reduces their chances of finding employment. We risk alienating individuals and their communities, with potentially perilous consequences.”

I am encouraged by the confidence of Europe's Muslim communities in our public institutions and rule of law, despite the individual challenges of discrimination which they attest to... But I am disheartened by the agency's report which shows that over the past five years almost one in three Muslims feel that they have been discriminated against when looking for work, but that only 12% of Muslims have reported the latest cases of discrimination. I want to assure our Muslim citizens that the European Commission will not tolerate intolerance. It goes against our values and our laws.

European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans

EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality Vera Jourova says: "The Fundamental Rights Agency report shows that discrimination against Muslims is too widespread. I'm especially concerned about the challenges faced by Muslim women in Europe. It is now our duty both at European, national and local level to make sure that anti-discrimination measures are respected and that the Muslim community can trust the police".     

The survey asked about any experiences of discrimination, harassment, police stops and rights awareness.

Key findings include:

  • 76% of Muslim respondents feel strongly attached to the country they live in;
  • 31% of those seeking work felt discriminated against over the last five years;
  • 42% of respondents who had been stopped by the police over the last year said this happened because of the migrant or ethnic minority background.

The report suggests a number of solutions, including effective sanctions for violations of anti-discrimination legislation and reinforcement of trust in the police through targeted outreach activities.

There also ought to be greater efforts to increase the participation of Muslims in decision-making processes, it says.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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