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European Politicians Fail Vulnerable Muslims

Published: 18/08/2013 12:18:17 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Amid increasing anti Muslim attacks across Europe, experts have accused the majority of European countries of failing to monitor or collect statistics about the worrying phenomenon through bodies such as British organ (more)

CAIRO - Amid increasing anti Muslim attacks across Europe, experts have accused the majority of European countries of failing to monitor or collect statistics about the worrying phenomenon through bodies such as British organization Tell Mama.

"Far too few EU member states collect data about such offences," Katya Andrusz from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights told Deutsch Welle.

"The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has for a long time been calling on European governments to collect and publish such data."

Over the past few years, Muslims have come under increasing attacks from rightwing and extremist activists.

In UK, the British government launched Tell Mama “Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks”  organization in January 2012 to collect statistics on incidents of violence and hostility against Muslims in real life and online.

According to Tell Mama's director, Fiyaz Mughal, the organization registered nearly 1,200 attacks in England and Wales over a period of 18 months.

The number of anti-Islamic attacks has increased as much as tenfold in the days that followed the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

"I've had multiple attacks: I was spat at, I was punched and I was brutally attacked," a female victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, portrayed her experience in a video on the website of Tell Mama.

"I was punched from the head to the shoulders and then deliberately run over when I was six months' pregnant in front of my son and my husband."

An overwhelming number of the attacks do not take place on the street but online targeting people who appear to be Muslim on Facebook and Twitter, Mughal told DW.

"The activity online is huge," said Mughal.

"The street-based activity happens, but it's not significant right now, whereas the online activity of anti-Muslim prejudice is very significant. It's a very concerted, determined effort by far-right followers, anti-Muslim individuals and racist individuals, but also people who generally dislike Muslims."

Ignoring Muslims

Experts accuse European politicians of turning away from the increasing problem of anti-Muslim attacks, simply accepting anti-Muslim sentiments among the public.

"It's actually in the interest of the member states to know what incidents take place and against which groups, so that the problem can be dealt with," said Andrusz, but added that the awareness of this problem is gradually increasing.

Only six of the EU's 28 states keep a record of Islamophobic incidents.

Some put them in the same category as other "hate crimes" - including those against Jews, Christians, homosexuals and various minority groups.

Same to Britain, anti-Muslim attacks have increased significantly in France, according to Elsa Ray who is involved in a pan-European program to counter Islamophobia in Europe.

The debate about the French ban on full-face veils has only created more tension, according to Marwan Muhammad from the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.

In June, a pregnant Muslim woman was attacked by two men in a Paris suburb, which resulted in rioting among local Muslim youth.

In the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany there are small political parties that warn of "foreign infiltration" by Muslim immigrants.

In Norway, mass-shooter Anders Breivik has made numerous references to the perceived threat posed by Islam when justifying his killing spree on the island of Utoya and in Oslo in 2011.

Despite the increase of anti-Muslim attacks, Tell Mama estimates that 60 percent do not contact the police or any aid organizations. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights confirms these observations.

"The great majority of the Muslims surveyed did not report anything," said Andrusz.

"This is a problem because what the authorities don't know is also not reflected in statistics."

"Stand your ground," appeals the anonymous Muslim woman in the Tell Mama video.

"If you don't do it, then the next generation will suffer and it will continue. It happened to me as a child, and because I don't want it to happen to my children I'm doing this for them."

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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