Islamophobia is a social phenomenon that is on the rise in Europe today and it is increasing on a daily basis. According to EU-wide research, 1 in 3 Muslims in Europe have experienced discrimination at least once over the last year. Especially dramatic is in France, where a mosque is attacked or damaged every 3 weeks. A Muslim is attacked every 3 days - 85% of Islamophobic acts are against Muslim women. Similar situation can be recognized in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, The Netherlands...
The consequences connected to Islamophobia in Europe affect European Muslim communities, their social integration, but also psychological and socio-economic well-being. For FEMYSO, these issues were reason big enough to organize an international Study Session “Together Against Islamophobia – Acting for Human Rights”.
The Study Session is taking place in the Youth Center of the Council of Europe in Budapest. It has gathered around 40 young people from more than 20 countries in the world and the general aim of the Study Session is to raise awareness on Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Discrimination as a Human Rights Violation. The participants will make concrete proposals for actions and initiatives to be implemented, to improve knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to contribute towards Human rights advocacy strategies and good practices. Very important to emphasize is the fact that the Study Session will empower young “ambassadors” to take a stand against Islamophobia.
One of them is a young Journalism student and NGO-activist Samir Beharić, representing Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Study Session. Speaking to Amina Šljivo, the editor of Bosnian youth web site “Divithana”, Beharić emphasized that the big importance of the Study Session lies in the fact that this event has gathered young people and experts from the whole Europe: “Usually we are aware of individual, isolated cases of Islamophobia in some European countries. This Study Session will provide us a complete picture of this wide-spread issue, and based on it we will try to come up with some solutions or advices we’ll forward to the Council of Europe.”
Beharić also points out the necessity of post - Study Session collaboration: “Based on the current information that we here, the participants will make concrete proposals for actions and initiatives we’d like implement. Only united, we will be able to improve our knowledge, and tackle Islamophobia, a phenomenon that affects not only Muslims, but general public.”
The participants of the the Study Session had the opportunity to learn from renowned experts from Council of Europe, OSCE and European Network Against Racism.