KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA TO MEMBER STATES AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS

Workshop on synergies and good practices on tackling anti-Muslim racism and discrimination

25th June 2019-Madrid 

As civil society organisations, we have highlighted the following recommendations that can be reached through specific actions, in close consultation, cooperation and full transparency with civil society experts.

 

  1. Tackle the structural manifestations of Islamophobia by adopting measures in key policy areas
  • Recognition of islamophobia (anti-Muslim racism/anti-Muslim hatred)  as a specific form of racism Islamophobia that refers to acts of violence and discrimination, as well as racist speech, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping and leading to exclusion and dehumanisation of Muslims, and all those perceived as such. Many manifestations of Islamophobia are structural in their nature, in the sense that discriminatory patterns against Muslims are embedded in policies, laws and practices of institutional or private bodies.
  • Support the adoption or improvement of national policies against racism, such as National Action Plans against Racism, with specific measures or strategies to counter Islamophobia, including measures to tackle intersectional discrimination targeting Muslim women (on the model of the Barcelona action plan against Islamophobia).
  • Adopt guidelines to implement an intersectional approach to religious dress restrictions by recognising these restrictions mostly target Muslim women and are against full gender equality. These guidelines could promote non-discriminatory approaches to enable full inclusion of all Muslim women in all areas of life. Assessment of existing legislation should be done taking into account this approach.
  • ·Develop and promote harmonisation of data collection in areas of hate crime and equality, recognising anti-Muslim bias as a category. These data should be disaggregated by multiple grounds of discrimination, including gender, race, ethnicity and religion.
  • Assess and acknowledge the discriminatory impact of counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism measures and ensure that counter-terrorism measures comply with fundamental rights safeguards, especially when implementing the recently adopted EU counter-terrorism Directive.
  •  Ensure the safety of Muslim worship places, in dialogue with the communities involved.
  • Following the Council of Europe’s example, establish the day against Islamophobia on the 21th September as a date for raising awareness across Europe on the challenges and pr otection of Muslims

 

  1. Secure safe and decent working conditions for civil society working against Islamophobia
  • Refrain from participating in/supporting often-unfounded accusations against civil society organisations working against Islamophobia. These are clear manifestations of the generalised suspicion towards Muslims in Europe. Civil society organisations in Europe are key democratic stakeholders which ensure that all communities are heard and empowered and hold governments accountable. However, civil society organisations working against Islamophobia are often severely delegitimised and may have their reputation, resources and integrity threatened.
  • Develop and strengthen funding programmes enabling civil society working against Islamophobia to develop long-term projects for capacity building, advocacy for equality, strategic litigation, educational programmes, etc. This should be included in the current EU budget negotiations. Facilitating access to these funds is also crucial to allow civil society to benefit from them thus improving eligibility criteria to suit the realities of small NGOs is crucial to allow Csos to benefit from them.
  1. Consolidate the mandate of the European institutions to keep Islamophobia high on the agenda
  • Develop a roadmap on combating Islamophobia with concrete objectives and targets;
  • Include combating anti-Muslim hatred as a priority in forthcoming communications related to tackling racism and the future of the EU high-level group on combating racism and related intolerance;
  •  Secure the position of the EU coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred as long as it does not replace strong political will, actions and effective policies. Clarity about the role should be ensured by a clear mandate and transparent communication and consultation process.

Signatories:

AEQUITAS (Cyprus)

AFD International (Belgium)

Alliance Citoyenne (France)

Asociacion Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos (Spain)

CLAIM – Allianz gegen Islam – und Muslimfeindlichkeit (Germany)

Collectief tegen Islamofobie en Discriminatie (Netherlands)

Collective Against Islamophobia in Belgium (Belgium)

Collective Against Islamophobia in France (France)

COREIS Islamic Religious Community (Italy)

Dokustelle – Dokumentations- und Beratungsstelle Islamfeindlichkeit & antimuslimischer Rassismus (Austria)

ECPI-Euroregional Center for Public Initiatives (Romania)

Euro-Mediterraan Centrum Migratie & Ontwikkeling- EMCEMO (Netherlands)

European Forum of Muslim Women (Europe)

European Network Against Racism (Europe)

European Network on Religion and Belief (Europe)

Faiths Without Borders (Finland)

Fondazione L’Albero della Vita (Italy)

Forum of European Muslim Youth And Student Organisations (Europe)

Lallab France (France)

Muslim Association of Greece (Greece)

Organizacion Nacional para el Dialogo y la Participacion (Spain)

Ramiaschannel

Stichting Platform Islamitische Organisaties Rijnmond- SPIOR (Netherlands)

United Religion Initiative (Netherlands)

COUNTERING ISLAMOPHOBIA: DRAWING ON BEST PRACTICES FROM ACROSS EUROPE

COUNTERING ISLAMOPHOBIA: DRAWING ON BEST PRACTICES FROM ACROSS EUROPE*

By Dr Amina Easat-Daas

Globally, there is an alarming proliferation and intensification of Islamophobia and it increasingly permeates a range of spheres. Islamophobia affects (but is not restricted to) policy and legal measures, media and also verbal and physical violence against Muslims, perceived Muslims, and Islamic spaces.

Islamophobic narratives frame Muslims and Islam as the “other”, they are seen to be carriers of violent threat, demographic threat, a cultural and moral threat, an economic threat, a threat to sexual freedoms and gender equality, and a threat to national peace and security.

 

Download full publication: www.thecordobafoundation.com/publication.php?id=2&art=97

Membership policy

Structure and Membership Policy

If you wish to become a member, please fill the membership Form, and send a scanned copy to kahina@enorb.eu

ENORB was founded as an EU Equality Network covering the fundamental human rights of freedom and non-discrimination in the field of Religion and Belief, and was registered with the Moniteur Belge as a not-for-profit association (Association Sans But Lucratif – ASBL) in May 2012. The membership structure, based on the ENORB statutes (statuts), is in two categories: Full Members (membres effectifs) and Associate Members (adhérents). The rights, benefits and responsibilities of each category are:

Full Member Organisations:

  • Yearly membership fee (max 50 euros)
  • Voting rights at AGM, for member organisations that have paid membership fees
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  • Join advocacy initiatives and coalitions on key issues at EU
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Adherent or Associate Members:

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  • May attend AGM, but without voting rights

The membership policy of ENORB has always been to be as open as possible, to all organisations with a concern for freedom and non-discrimination in the field of religion and belief, including organisations which may not necessarily be legally registered or formally structured.  Membership is subject to regular review by the board to ensure respect of anti-discrimination principles and the EU Charter of Fundamental rights.

At seminars members may join by filling in a signed form, which includes a commitment to the full implementation of equal rights for all categories protected under the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights. The membership list, including all new members, is subject to regular review at ENORB board meetings. In line with the practice of other EU Equality Networks, membership lists are freely available if requested by a bona fide enquirer, but are not published on the website.  This restriction is necessary in order to protect the confidentiality of member organisations in certain European countries where there has been hostility or persecution of religious or other minority groups.

Certain membership benefits, eg offering financial support such as free or subsidised travel expenses to European seminars, or funding for local seminars, are available only when there is a budget sufficient to cover costs.

ENORB also maintains an open mailing list for all interested individuals who wish to receive newsletters and information on its events and projects. Subscription to this mailing list is free of charge, available on demand and after attending ENORB events and is not subject to any others conditions of membership.

 

Governance

ENORB’s legal status and constitution are defined in its Statuts deposited with the Moniteur Belge in 2011 on its registration as a not-for-profit association (Association Sans But Lucratif) in May 2012.  ENORB’s major structural and policy decisions are made by a board consisting of up to 12 full members (membres effectifs), each representing a member organisation.  Board members are elected annually at the General Assembly (AGM), which is normally held in June.  The board elects its officers – President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer – at its first meeting after the AGM. Extraordinary GA meetings may be held at other times at the request of two or more members. The board meets 3-4 times per year.  The quorum for board meetings is a minimum of 3 full members. In addition, representatives of other member organisations may be invited to attend and contribute to specific items of the agenda at board meetings with observer status (ie without voting rights).

 

Professional Team

ENORB’s management and direction of its operational activities are in the hands of its professional team, currently a Director, and an Administration Manager, based in ENORB’s head office in Brussels at 323, Rue du Progrės, 1030, Brussels, with support from a deputy director, currently based in Bucharest.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

 

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA1

Secure institutional recognition and mandate to tackle Islamophobia effectively

December 2018

 

Islamophobia (anti-Muslim racism/anti-Muslim hatred) is a specific form of racism that refers to acts of violence and discrimination, as well as racist speech, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping and leading to exclusion and dehumanisation of Muslims, and all those perceived as such. Many manifestations of Islamophobia are structural in their nature, in the sense that discriminatory patterns against Muslims are embedded in policies, laws and practices of institutional or private bodies.

We welcome the high-level conference on tackling intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in the EU organised by the European Commission and the opportunity to tackle the issue comprehensively, while recognising civil society stakeholders as key partners with unique expertise. While there has been recognition of the issue at European Union level, obstacles remain as evidenced by the Fundamental Rights Agency’s report on Muslims and by the European Islamophobia report (2017). European institutions and EU Member

States need to strengthen and secure their mandate and actions to tackle Islamophobia, especially in these times of political transition.

As civil society, we have highlighted the following objectives that can be reached through specific actions, in close consultation, cooperation and full transparency with civil society experts. These are addressed to Member States and the European Institutions.

 

  1. Tackle the structural manifestations of Islamophobia by adopting measures in key policy areas
  • Support the adoption or improvement of national policies against racism, such as National Action Plans against Racism, with specific measures or strategies to counter Islamophobia, including measures to tackle intersectional discrimination targeting Muslim women (on the model of the Barcelona action plan against Islamophobia);
  • Adopt guidelines to implement an intersectional approach to religious dress restrictions by recognising these restrictions mostly target Muslim women and are against full gender equality. These guidelines could promote non-discriminatory approaches to enable full inclusion of all Muslim women in all areas of life. Assessment of existing legislation should be done taking into account this approach;
  • Develop and promote harmonisation of data collection in areas of hate crime and equality, recognising anti-Muslim bias as a category. These data should be disaggregated by multiple grounds of discrimination, including gender, race, ethnicity and religion.
  • Assess and acknowledge the discriminatory impact of counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism measures and ensure that counter-terrorism measures comply with fundamental rights safeguards, especially when implementing the recently adopted EU counter-terrorism Directive.
  1. Secure safe and decent working conditions for civil society working against Islamophobia
  • Refrain from participating in/supporting often-unfounded accusations against civil society organisations working against Islamophobia. These are clear manifestations of the generalised suspicion towards Muslims in Europe. Civil society organisations in Europe are key democratic stakeholders which ensure that all communities are heard and empowered and hold governments accountable. However, civil society organisations working against Islamophobia are often severely delegitimised and may have their reputation, resources and integrity threatened.
  • Develop and strengthen funding programmes enabling civil society working against Islamophobia to develop long-term projects for capacity building, advocacy for equality, strategic litigation, educational programmes, etc. This should be included in the current EU budget negotiations. Facilitating access to these funds is also crucial to allow civil society to benefit from them.
  1. Consolidate the mandate of the European institutions to keep Islamophobia high on the agenda
  • Publish an outcome document following the high-level meeting on combating anti-Muslim hatred, highlighting the main gaps in equality of outcomes for Muslims in the EU and exploring ways forward for Member States to address these gaps. The document could also include main relevant policy areas, existing EU laws or policy initiatives, international standards and examples of promising practices by Member States. This would help gather in one document all existing work and standards, as well as main issues, and would act as a roadmap for European Commission officials when interacting with Member State representatives;
  • Based on this document and existing research and recommendations, develop a list of actions on combatting Islamophobia with concrete objectives and targets;
  • Organise a good practice exchange seminar (on the model of the Greek event on multiple discrimination and intersectionality) or an EU Presidency conference (on the model of Austrian Presidency’s conference on antigypsyism) for Member States to follow-up on sharing and implementing actions in this field;
  • Include combating anti-Muslim hatred as a priority in forthcoming communications related to tackling racism and the future of the EU high-level group on combating racism and related intolerance;
  • Secure the position of the EU coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred as long as it does not replace strong political will, actions and effective policies. Clarity about the role should be ensured by a clear mandate and transparent communication and consultation process.

1: European Network Against Racism, European Network on Religion and Belief, European Forum of Muslim Women, Collective against Islamophobia in Belgium, Lallab, Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations and others (full list available here)

Women’s rights, Gender and Religion

Save the date

4th October 2018,

Holy Trinity Church, Rue Capitaine Crespel 29, 1050 Brussels

REGISTRATION HERE

The European Network on Religion and Belief, as an EU Anti-Discrimination Network, promotes EU fundamental rights, equality and combats discrimination and hate crime on any grounds. This seminar will thus seek to engage all religion and belief systems in tackling discrimination and developing progressive narratives in the specific fields of women’s rights and gender.

 

The increase in hate crimes and violent speech, targeting, women, religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT minorities has been building over several years, but is now becoming almost normalised online and offline, also legitimised by hate speech from representatives of government and political parties in some parts of Europe.

Recent political campaigns and legislative discussions in some member states, based on misogynist and xenophobic narratives rooted in the male-dominated past, have empowered hate mongers to feel they have the right to express  racist and sexist views more and more openly, sometime turning the words into violent actions.

The religious right has contributed to this context by promoting a version of “traditional values” based on traditions of patriarchy, and repressive regulation of freedom and sexual and reproductive rights, which have the effect of legitimising the real and symbolic violence against women, as well as LGBT, ethnic, religious and other minorities.

 

The seminar will follow up themes developed in the 2017 exploratory European seminar co-organised with EWL (European Women Lobby) which first addressed these challenges and sought to build positive narratives around religion, belief and gender. It will also draw on the experience gained through the  ENORB/ILGA programme of seminars in member states on religion and LGBT+ rights, and a previous ENORB seminar on countering far right extremism.

The seminar will consist of sessions on women in positions of leadership; on violence against women and the valuable inputs from religion to prevent it; on the manufactured gender wars derived from false concepts of ’traditional values’; and on the search for intersectional feminisms among women from ethnic and religious minorities. 

Keynote speeches and round tables will give participants a unique opportunity to discuss challenges, develop positive narratives and explore best practice in the struggle for justice for women and minorities.

 

Programme:

 

9.30 Welcome speech

Kahina Rabahi, ENORB 

 

10.00 Current priorities for Women’s Rights and Religion in Europe

Heidi Rautionmaa, on feminist theology and women leadership- Faiths without Borders,

Elisa Van Ruiten, on violence against women and religion-, Human rights without frontiers,

Federica Sona, on reproductive rights in Islam – Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 

 

12.00 LUNCH

 

13.00 The Specific Issues faced by Women from Religious/Ethnics Minorities : The need for intersectionality

Julie Pascoët, on an intersectional anti-racist movement –European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

Perspectives from different religious groups:   

Hajar Eljahidi, on islamophobia in patriarchy-European Forum of Organisations of Muslim Women (EFOMW)      

Mejindarpal Kaur, on specific challenges faced by Sikhs women – United Sikhs

Estelle Cincinatis, on anti-semitism and patriarchy in Europe, European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC)

Malati devi dasi, on Hindu women challenges and solutions, ISKCON Radhadesh Belgium

15.00 Tea-coffee break         

 

15.15 Debunking and challenging the conflict between gender and sexual minorities and religion

Najwa Ouguerram, on homonationalism, Centre for Intersectional Justice (CIJ)

Florin Buhuceanu, on using religious tools and narratives for Human Rights of minorities -Euroregional center for public initiatives (ECPI)

 

17.15 Closing speech, religion a powerful tool toward liberation

Malika Hamidi, on lessons learned from Islamic feminism for social justice movements, author, Doctor in Sociology