European Parliament holds session on combating Islamophobia, antisemitism

Thu, 8 Feb 2024 8:10 GMT
European Commission vice president urges all EU member states to adopt national strategies, action plans to safeguard Muslim, Jewish communities from hatred.
European Parliament holds session on combating Islamophobia, antisemitism

The General Assembly of the European Parliament convened Wednesday to address an alarming surge in Islamophobic and antisemitic sentiment across Europe in recent months.

Margaritis Schinas, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of promoting our European Way of Life, opened the session by highlighting the urgency of the matter.

"This is a very timely discussion," he said, noting the proximity to European Parliament elections and the rise in hate speech and crimes witnessed across Europe.

Schinas detailed disturbing incidents of hatred targeting both Jewish and Muslim communities.

"Synagogues faced Molotov cocktails, residential buildings were marked with Star of David symbols and Jewish shops were vandalized. Similarly, mosques and homes suffered vandalism with spray-painted swastikas and anti-Muslim slurs, with attempts to attack mosques during prayer times," he said.

Schinas also said that apart from physical attacks, calls for "the destruction of the state of Israel, the killing of all Jews, the killing or deportation of Muslim immigrants, and the rape of Muslim women were made online."

"These are absolutely unacceptable," he emphasized, affirming the European Commission's commitment to addressing the issue.

He urged all EU member states to adopt and implement national strategies and action plans to safeguard Muslim and Jewish communities from such hatred.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib also emphasized the importance of societal dialogue in combating racism and hatred.

Lahbib announced the upcoming European Citizens' Panel on Combating Hatred, scheduled for the first half of the year, to promote inter-citizen dialogue and cooperation in addressing these challenges.


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