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EU Muslims trust democratic institutions despite persistent discrimination

26th Oct 2017
EU Muslims trust democratic institutions despite persistent discrimination

Harun Nasrullah

The vast majority of Muslims in the European Union (EU) have a high sense of trust in democratic institutions despite experiencing widespread anti-Muslim discrimination and harassment, a major survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows.

The survey of 10,527 Muslim immigrants and their EU-born children in 15 EU member states, revealed that public attitudes have changed all too little over the last decade.

The Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey found that 76  percent of Muslim respondents feel strongly attached to the country they live in; 31 percent of those seeking work felt discriminated against over the last five years; 42 percent 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 survey echoes the findings of another smaller German report released in September.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung study of  1,000 Muslims in Germany and about 500 in Austria, France, Switzerland and the UK also showed that Muslim integration in Europe is, in fact, proceeding at a reasonable pace.

FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty, said the survey findings “makes 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,” says European Commission First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans.

“But I am disheartened by the EU Fundamental Rights 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 Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, 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”.

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