Racism in Europe has reached peak: Senior Turkish lawmaker

World
Thu, 20 Oct 2022 10:21 GMT
Racism and discrimination against religious identities in Europe have reached a peak, the head of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission Çağatay Kılıç said Monday.
Racism in Europe has reached peak: Senior Turkish lawmaker

Racism and discrimination against religious identities in Europe have reached a peak, the head of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission Çağatay Kılıç said Monday.

Noting that the commission follows political and social developments closely, Kılıç said that the rise of far-right parties and racist approaches in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Switzerland and some Balkan countries is worrying.

Underlining the importance of Germany in terms of its ability to influence political and social currents in Europe, Kılıç noted that there are also extremes in German politics.

"Islamophobia comes first among racism. Racism against religion is at its peak in Germany. We understand this from the attacks on mosques. There are disrespects such as drawing a swastika and leaving a pig's head. Considering the public opinion polls, the far-right AFD is the first party in the German state of Brandenburg. Racism is a contagious element, and when it is infected, it evolves into events that will harm social life," he warned, underlining that members of different religions are excluded from political decision-making processes.

"There are those in Europe who say, 'We need to restrict the movement and living space of Muslims unless they adapt to us.' This contradicts the basic values ​​that Europe claims and puts forward," he added.

He highlighted that a report on Islamophobia was published in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last week and added: "A human being is an entity with thoughts, feelings, beliefs and social networks. If a person is not allowed to live with these characteristics, this person's fundamental rights and freedoms are taken away from them."

Islamophobia remains a growing threat across Europe, with several countries enacting policies that have contributed to the institutionalization of an issue that should instead be stamped out with urgency, a new report has warned.

According to the European Islamophobia Report 2021, Islamophobia was "as pressing a problem" across the continent as it was in previous years.

It said countries such as the United Kingdom and France became "the main spots of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic incidents."

"Furthermore, anti-Muslim campaigns of far-right parties in EU member states dominate the discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities," read the report, which focused on 27 European countries and was prepared with contributions from 35 leading academics and experts in the field.

The report links the persistence of anti-Muslim racism to "the backdrop of a general worrisome trend: the decline of liberal democracy in Europe."

It warns that major forces within Europe, singling out countries like France, are still "investing less in the fight against Islamophobia, and more ... into normalizing Islamophobia."

"The Islamophobia becoming normalized and institutionalized by liberal democracies such as Austria, Denmark, and France is alarming," the report said.

Anti-Muslim attitudes are widespread in Germany, according to a recent study conducted by the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR).

Nearly 48% of respondents said they believe "Islam is not compatible with German society," while 29% suggested restricting the practice of Islam in the country.

"Negative attitudes towards Islam are widespread in all groups examined-people with and without a migration background," the researchers said in their report.

Nearly 44% of Germans surveyed argued that Muslim organizations should be monitored by the state's security agencies, while only 16% opposed such a move.

A country of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It is home to around 4.7 million Muslims, according to the official figures.

The country has witnessed growing racism and Islamophobia in recent years, fueled by the propaganda of far-right groups and parties, which have exploited the refugee crisis and attempted to stoke fear of immigrants.

German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic hate crimes in 2021. More than 46 mosques were attacked between January and December last year, and at least 17 people suffered injuries due to the anti-Muslim violence.

DailySabah

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