An annual report issued on Wednesday said that the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe “has exacerbated and may have reached a turning point” in 2020.
The 886-page report, titled “European Islamophobia Report 2020”, stated that “Looking at the past six years, we see that many observers unanimously agree that the state of Islamophobia in Europe has not improved, but rather exacerbated, if not reached a turning point.”
The authors of the report, co-edited by Anas Bayrakli, professor of international relations at the German-Turkish University in Istanbul, and Farid Hafez, a political scientist from Georgetown University in Washington, wrote that the state of Islamophobia “is one of the reasons why they chose a picture of a politician on the front end of this year’s edition, which is French President Emmanuel Macron, a politician, said he is “widely seen as representing a centrist political movement”.
They added, “This very fact is yet another revelation that the milieu has become more extreme in Islamophobia. French and Austrian Muslims have been left in the hands of brutal state violence legitimized in the name of anti-terror laws.”
They added that the closure of the “Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF)” association, which opposes racism and discrimination against Muslims in the country, is a good example of the extent to which the phenomenon of Islamophobia has developed.
An online discussion session entitled “Islamophobia and the attack on civil liberties in Europe” was held on the occasion of the annual report, which has been regularly issued since 2015.
The discussion was moderated by Bayrakli and attended by Hafez and Amani Hassani of Keele University in the UK and Amina Smits of May 29 University in Istanbul.
Anas Bayrakli pointed to what was mentioned in the report about Macron, saying that he appeared on the cover of the report because of his policies, especially with regard to the anti-separatist law in France, which the government claims is aimed at strengthening the secular system of France, while critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.
The law sparked widespread criticism for targeting the Muslim community in France, the largest in Europe, with a population of 3.35 million people, and for imposing restrictions on many aspects of their lives.
Hafez, in turn, spoke about the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia in France, Germany, and Austria.
He said that Germany had documented more than 31 thousand cases of hate crimes, including 901 hate crimes against Muslims, adding that France at the same time recorded only one thousand and 142 cases of hate crimes, including 235 against Muslims.
“Instead of saying that anti-Muslim hate crimes in Germany are higher than those in France, one tends instead to question how seriously French police authorities are about documenting hate crimes in general,” he continued.