Elham Asaad Buaras
Muslim women bore the brunt of Islamophobic violence in the Netherlands this year, according to findings by an independent monitoring group.
Meld Islamofobie [Report Islamophobia] presented its first half-yearly report (covering January to June) on November 27.
The findings are parallel with research conducted elsewhere in Western Europe that reveals that Muslim women bear the brunt of Islamophoic abuse.
From January to June, Report Islamophobia registered 89 reports of verbal and physical abuse, including slurs, beatings, and an attempted kidnapping.
90 percent of the victims were hijab wearing women. In the vast majority of cases the attacker was a white male. In one third of all cases physical violence was used against the victim.
In most cases, victims did not report to the police due to lack of confidence in convictions or out of fear of reprisals. In some cases, the police tried to dissuade victims of verbal and physical abuse from submitting a formal police report.
Only 39 percent of the victims subjected to physical assault reached out to the police to file a report. The report also reveals that most Islamophobic incidents in the Netherlands took place in broad daylight in public spaces (87 percent): on the street, in supermarkets, at gas stations and on public transportation. Witnesses are frequently present (in 71 percent of cases).
However, in 80 percent of the attacks no one intervened. The victim was usually alone (67 percent). In 11 cases, the victim was accompanied by minors.
Report Islamophobia was established by a group of Muslim researchers and professionals when they noticed a spike in Islamophoic abuse after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January.
They primarily used their Facebook profile to gather and verify reports and to create a solidarity and mutual support network. Islamophoic incidents have not previously been registered systematically in the Netherlands.
Meld Islamofobie say they have seen a spike in Islamophobic violence since the terrors attacks in Paris on November 13. The group say by November 27, they received 22 reports of abuse, and new incidents continue to be reported daily.