European report for 2020 – A new era of ‘institutionalized Islamophobia’

European report for 2020 – A new era of ‘institutionalized Islamophobia’

SARAJEVO, December 30 (FENA) – The European Islamophobia Report 2020 was published on December 29 this year on a web panel entitled “Islamophobia and the attack on civil liberties in Europe”, and one of the conclusions is that with 2020, a new era of institutionalization of Islamophobia has emerged.

Islamophobia in Europe “has worsened, if not reached a tipping point,” according to a new report released on Wednesday.

The 886-page report titled European Islamophobia Report 2020 was co-edited by Enes Bayrakli, an international relations professor at Istanbul-based Turkish-German University, and Farid Hafez, a political scientist from Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative.

“Looking back at the last six years, many observers will unanimously agree that the state of Islamophobia in Europe not only has not improved but has worsened, if not reached a tipping point,” they wrote in the annual report being published since 2015.

The editors said it was one of the reasons why they picked an image of a politician for the front cover of this year’s edition, which features French President Emmanuel Macron – a politician, who they say “is widely regarded as representing a centrist and mainstream political movement.”

“This very fact serves as a further revelation that the center has become more extreme in relation to Islamophobia. French and Austrian Muslims have been left in the hands of brutal state violence that has been legitimized in the name of counterterrorism laws,” they asserted.

The closure of the French monitoring body Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF, Collective Against Islamophobia in France), they said, sets an example of “how far state Islamophobia has developed.”

Meanwhile, an online panel discussion titled Islamophobia and the Attack on Civil Liberties in Europe was held to mark the launch of the report.

The discussion was moderated by Bayrakli and attended by Hafez, as well as Amani Hassani of UK-based Keele University and Amina Smits of Istanbul 29 Mayis University.

Bayrakli echoed the report in saying that Macron appears on the cover of the report due to his policies. He was referring to an anti-separatism law in France, which the government claims is intended to strengthen France’s secular system, while critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.

The legislation has been criticized for targeting France’s Muslim community – the largest in Europe, with 3.35 million members – and imposing restrictions on many aspects of its members’ lives.

Dr. Hikmet Karčić from Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the preparation and this year’s edition of the Report.

“During 2020, there was a visible decrease in attacks on Muslims, but there was a very strong institutional discrimination and increased anti-Muslim rhetoric, denial of crimes and genocide by actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighboring countries,” said Karčić.

In his work, as the main generators of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim intolerance in BiH, Karčić identified Bosnian Serb leaders – political, media and academic circles.

Widely ignored and misunderstood, Islamophobia undermines the lives of millions of Muslim citizens, weakens democracy and strengthens the growth of xenophobic and racist groups in Europe. Therefore, as stated, this report is published to help European policymakers determine the extent of anti-Muslim racism.