The second annual edition of the European islamophobia report has been published this week by the Turkish foundation for political, economic and social research (SETA). Co-edited by Farid Hafez and Enes Bayrakli, this report monitors the rise of islamophobia in 2016. 27 European countries are analysed by different scholars or NGO-activists.

For the editors of the report : « Islamophobia has (…) become the main challenge to the social peace and coexistence of different cultures, religions and ethnicities in Europe ». Unsurprisingly, reports show that Islamophobia has increased in various forms: rhetorical (hate speech, cyber-violence), physical (assaults occurring in the public space, especially towards covered women). Not to forget the consequences of anti-Muslim discrimination in terms of access to employment and accommodation.

Migration crises, terrorist attacks, the rise of the far right in many European countries are among the factors that create a stronger climate of tension towards European Muslim citizens and an increasingly negative perception of them in most countries. The reports deplore the role of political figures and media actors in the generalization of anti-Muslim discourses. However, the authors also underline the initiatives taken by the civil society and NGOs.

The reports, which contain an analysis of the situation and the chronology of major events connected to anti-Muslim attitudes in each country – also present very concrete recommendations for policy makers and NGOs on a national and supranational level. Among these recommandations : the inclusion of “ Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hate crime”  as a category in European countries’ statistics.

Though one might disagree with the authors of some reports on what exactly constitutes an “anti-Muslim” or an “islamophobic” act, this report presents a rich collection of data and events, which makes it a good resource for researchers interested in Islam in Europe.

By Farida Belkacem