We the undersigned, are a group of leading European Muslim NGOs working to highlight and campaign against Islamophobia. In recent years, we have documented the alarming rise of state sanctioned powers and legislation targeting Muslims living in Europe. These policies usually co-opt the language of ‘combatting terrorism and extremism’ but also often weaponise anti-migrant rhetoric and racist tropes.
This has materialised in laws that:
- forcibly evict families who live in social housing areas with a majority of Muslim families, because they are perceived as a threat to national security, as is the case of Denmark,
- a state wide persecution of Muslims and dictation of a state sanctioned Islam as seen in France through the ‘systematic obstruction policy’ and ‘Imam’s charter’,
- a manipulation of the legal system to silence and criminalise Muslim communities through fear and intimidation as in the violent Operation Luxor raids in Austria,
- the targeting of Muslim children in schools through the Islamophobic PREVENT policy and passing laws that relegate Muslims to second class citizens, as in the UK,
- the systematic shut down of Muslim schools in Sweden,
- and the mass profiling and discrimination of Muslims based on their religious practices in the Netherlands.
Globally also, European states are increasingly complicit in the persecution of Muslims by profiteering from despotic regimes or unethical trading practice such as purchasing goods procured through the forced labour of Uyghurs in East Turkestan.
These developments can no longer be viewed as isolated from one another. We believe that there is an endemic of state led Islamophobia across Europe. This is allowing anti-Muslim hate to pervade across society and provides the ‘green light’ for racism and islamophobia to fester.
For state led Islamophobia to continue unimpeded, European governments have censored and criminalised dissenting views and deliberately curtailed freedom of association of Muslim civil society. Various measures have been used including attempts to deny us access to state officials, block us from organising functions, closing our bank accounts, pursuing our organisations and their leaders with politically motivated and malicious investigations, or in some cases closing and banning our organisations.
European governments are exploiting fears and prejudices about Islam and Muslims to build an arsenal of extraordinary authoritarian powers that start off by targeting their Muslim minorities but will eventually come to threaten the freedoms and liberties of all its citizens.
We warn European leaders of pursuing this course of action which will risk repeating the horrors Europe’s leaders created only 70 years ago and of the more recent genocide in Bosnia.
We call on the citizens of Europe to take action now before it is too late. Democratically elected European government’s have been complicit in mainstreaming far-right talking points and have set in motion a return to an authoritarian and fascist Europe. Europe’s citizens must organise to oppose this.
- Perspectives Musulmanes (France)
- CAGE (UK),
- Assisting Communities Traumatised by Police (Austria)
- Lighthouse Advocacy (UK)
- The Centre for Muslims’ Rights in Denmark (CEDA) (Denmark)
- INSAN (Sweden)
- Muslim Rights Watch (Netherlands)
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)