'Hatred against Muslims in Europe threatens coexistence'

'Hatred against Muslims in Europe threatens coexistence'

'Racism has reached higher levels with rise of far-right parties in most European countries,' says Islamic center's head Al-Hamdi

By Abdelsalam Fayez

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AA) – Hate speech and racism against Muslims in Europe have increased significantly, threatening coexistence in societies, the head of Hamad bin Khalifa Civilization Center in Copenhagen, Denmark said.

“The phenomenon of hatred against European Muslims has become a topic of discussion in most European media and has been acknowledged by some government departments,” Abdul Hamid Al-Hamdi told Anadolu.

He went on to say: "This was evident when the German Ministry of Interior published a report concluding that the Muslim minority in Germany is the most vulnerable to racial discrimination and hate speech."

In late June, the ministry released a report prepared by the Independent Expert Group on Hostility to Muslims, which stated that a third of Muslims in Germany suffer from hostility due to their religion. Around 5.5 million Muslims live in the European country.

Commenting on the report, Al-Hamdi said: "This report may be specific to Muslims in Germany only, but the scene is almost the same across the European continent."

Regarding the manifestations of racism in Europe, Al-Hamdi stated that it takes various forms, starting with individual cases where Muslims encounter difficulties in obtaining housing or work due to their names, appearance, or origins.

Veiled women have become particularly vulnerable to racism, facing offensive speech and harassment.

"Racism has reached higher levels than before, with the rise of far-right parties in most European countries adopting an anti-Muslim approach,” he said.

Al-Hamdi warned that this "dangerous" development threatens the future of coexistence in these countries, especially since a significant proportion of Muslims have become European citizens after obtaining citizenship and fulfilling their duties before the law.

"The escalation of hate speech to record levels has created a gap between Europeans based on religion and race," he said.

According to Al-Hamdi, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war since Feb. 24, 2022, has made the racism against Muslims in Europe evident in the media's treatment of Ukrainian refugees.

He explained: "Unfortunately, a narrative was adopted that Ukrainian refugees are completely different from those coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East."

Asked about the role of European Muslims in confronting hate speech, Al-Hamdi replied: “European law is enforceable and has authority over everyone, and that is why Muslims of Europe rely on the force of law to protect them.”

“We seek to present a civilized image of the Islamic religion that refutes all narratives of populists, extremists, and exclusionary thinkers,” he added.

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