Combating anti-Muslim hatred

© European Union 2017

Anti-Muslim hatred

The term 'anti-Muslim hatred' accurately describes the phenomenon which the Commission intends to address, i.e. preventing and combating hate speech, hate crime as well as discrimination directed against groups or individual members of such groups based on their religion or ethnic origin.

Why the need for action?

Over the past years reports from international and civil society organisations have pointed to an increase in insecurity among Muslims in Europe as well as forms of discrimination directed against individuals and communities. Surveys such as the Special Eurobarometer on Discrimination in the EU in 2015 (published in September 2015) and the Pew Research Centre report on views about minorities, diversity and national identity in the EU (published in July 2016) clearly point to the fact that unfavourable views of Muslims appear to have surged in the past few years.   

Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred

On 1 December 2015, the European Commission appointed David Friggieri as the first Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred. As the Coordinator's main mandate is to address anti-Muslim hate speech, hate crime and discrimination, the key stakeholders are Muslim, and other, organisations which deal with anti-racism and non-discrimination policy at European and national level.

Monitoring anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination

Published on 21 September 2017, the Muslims – Selected findings specific focus of the Fundamental Rights Agency's wider EU-MIDIS II survey provides important EU-wide data on the discrimination experienced by persons with a Muslim background in different areas of life (labour market, education, housing, health and other services), criminal victimization (including hate crime), police stops, social inclusion and societal participation. Taken together, the survey findings provide key data to support a wide range of measures in the areas of integration and non-discrimination.

Education and training

Under the Europe for Citizens Programme, the European Commission supports initiatives that raise awareness on remembrance, common history and common European values while commemorating the victims of past crimes against humanity. Erasmus+ supports transnational projects promoting social inclusion, shared values, intercultural understanding and grassroots initiatives, including education programmes targeting specific groups and possible biases. In June 2016, the European Commission adopted an action plan to improve the integration of newcomers in European societies. Integration is a two-way process which includes an expectation that newcomers should embrace EU fundamental values.

Commission - Action Plan on the Integration of Third-country Nationals

European legislation on combating racism and xenophobia 

The EU has specific legislation (i.e. Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA) on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law which obliges all EU Member States to put in place legislation to penalise the most serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia, i.e. the public incitement to racist violence or hatred (hate speech) as well as any other crimes perpetrated with a racist motivation (hate crime).

The EU does not possess legislation regulating either blasphemy or defamation of religion. The European Court of Human Rights has made it clear that freedom of expression extends to information and ideas that may "offend shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population". The Commission believes that freedom of expression extends to criticism of religion, ideology, beliefs, states and institutions. The European Union's position both inside and outside the EU is in line with these principles.

Related links

Key events

11 April 2018: Country mission – The Netherlands. Coordinator addresses Symposium on Islamophobia organised by EMCEMO with the collaboration of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the participation of NGOs, researchers, national authorities and the Dutch Human Rights Institute.

28 March 2018: First Vice-President Timmermans holds roundtable with European Muslim leaders (for more information)

8 December 2017: Coordinator chairs the 4th Roundtable with NGOs working on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination.

28 November 2017: Mission to Council of Europe. Bilateral meetings with the Commissioner for Human Rights and his advisers, the Policy Planning Directorate and the Executive Secretary of ECRI.

24 November 2017: Country mission – Sweden. Panel discussion at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and bilateral meetings with senior advisers from the Ministry of Culture and Democracy. Visit to Stockholm's main mosque and bilateral meetings with the mosque's leadership and with Islamic organisations under the auspices of the mosque.

22 November 2017: Coordinator chairs joint roundtable on anti-Muslim hatred and Antisemitism with interfaith and community representatives from the Visegrad countries organised by the European Network against Racism (ENAR) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

17-18 October 2017: Country Mission – France. Bilateral meetings with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Délégation interministérielle à la lutte contre le racisme, l'antisémitisme et la haine anti-LGBT (DILCRAH), the Observatoire de la Laïcité, the Rector of the Grande Mosquée de Paris, the Etudiants Musulmans de France and the Institut de recherche et d'étude sur les radicalités religieuses, sociétales et politiques (INRER).

2-3 October 2017: First internal training for Commission staff on anti-Muslim hatred.

28 September 2017: "Engaging Muslim Young People in the Future of Europe Debate". 29 Muslim university students and activists from 17 Member States discussed issues as diverse as social Europe, globalisation, workplace discrimination, identity, European citizenship, radicalization, EU foreign policy, migration and integration in this one-day conference organised by the Coordinator in coordination with the European Parliament.  

Programme

Pictures: ©European Union 2017

21 September 2017: Message  (please find here the FR version ) by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, to the Muslim community on the occasion of European Action Day countering Hate Speech against Muslims and on Islamic New Year.

30 May 2017: Coordinator co-organises Joint Day of Action against Antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination  together with OSCE-ODIHR, ARDI and the European External Action Service.

30 May 2017: Coordinator chairs 3rd extended roundtable with organisations working on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination, jointly with ODIHR-OSCE.

6-7 April 2017: Country Mission - Austria. Bilateral meetings with Austria's Islamic Community, Alewite Community, academics and the Federal government

5 April 2017: Coordinator addresses Informal EU-28 Meeting on Dialogue of Cultures and Religions organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, in Vienna 

21-24 February 2017: Country Mission – Germany. Bilateral meetings with the Council of Muslim students, the Alewite community in Germany, the Association of Islamic cultural centres, NGOs, MP Claudia Roth and the Federal government 

17 January 2017: Coordinator addresses United Nations High-Level Forum on Combating Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hatred.

19 December 2016: Coordinator chairs 2nd roundtable with organisations working on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination/Islamophobia .

17-18 November 2016: Country mission - Malta. Coordinator meets representatives of the Malta Muslim Council, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Muslim students in Malta

14 November 2016: Coordinator meets the Grand Mufti and high-level delegation of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina

21 October 2016: Coordinator meets newly-appointed Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the European Union, Her Excellency Ismat Jahan.

17 October 2016: Coordinator holds bilateral meeting with Gilles Clavreul, Head of the French Délégation Interministérielle à la Lutte Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme (DILCRA), in Paris.

29 September 2016: Coordinator presents the framework for the EU's engagement with Muslims at Sarajevo conference. Speechpdf(305 kB)

21 June 2016: Coordinator participates in and addresses the Fundamental Rights Agency's Forum in Vienna.

14 June 2016: Coordinator chairs panel on anti-Muslim hatred in the inaugural session of the High-Level Group on racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance .

8 June 2016: Coordinator addresses High-Level Group on non-discrimination, equality and diversity.

3 May 2016: Coordinator meets the Austrian authorities in Vienna to discuss the Austrian Islam Law.

28 April 2016: Coordinators address joint panel with Muslim and Jewish organisations organised by The Netherlands Presidency of the EU.

10 March 2016: Coordinator meets with US Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Shaarik Zafar .

3 March 2016: Coordinator addresses the Open Society Foundations platform on Islamophobia in Central and Eastern Europe.

2 March 2016: Coordinator addresses the Women against Islamophobia Public Hearing in the European Parliament.

16 February 2016: Coordinator addresses the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup Roundtable on the outcomes of the Commission's Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights.

9 February 2016: Coordinator participates in Ambassadorial panel on Combating religious intolerance hosted by the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva.

27 January 2016: Coordinator chairs 1st roundtable with organisations working on anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination/Islamophobia.

1 December 2015: The European Commission appoints Mr. David Friggieri as Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred.

Annual Fundamental Rights Colloquium

Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe, Brussels, 1-2 October 2015