The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) together with ERGO and Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice, organized a People’s Summit for the second year in the row, to create spaces for anti-racist civil society (CSO) to come together and strengthen solidarity in the movement. FEMYSO’s Advocacy and Active Citizenship Officer from the Campaigns Department participated in the series of events, finishing in Brussels at the end of March 2022.
In 2020, the European Commission adopted an Anti-Racism Action Plan. While this was an important step in the right direction, we know that it was a response to the power that was built on the ground in Europe.
The aim of the People’s Summit in 2022 was to collect CSO priorities and recommendations to share during the European Commission’s annual Anti-Racism Summit, and to respond and comment on the event and to fill in any gaps. Civil society, activists, institutional representatives and press were welcomed to come along to engage, share their thoughts and contribute to the anti-racist agenda in Europe.
As part of the coalition of organizations, FEMYSO brought forth the advocacy points which are part of the core values of the FEMYSO’s mandate. Muslims in Europe continue to suffer in different areas of social life, including education, employment and housing, through hate speech, acts of violence or ethnic and religious profiling. Anti-Muslim speech is no longer confined to the margins of society, but has now become omnipresent in the discourse of the leaders of traditional political parties.
Minorities in European countries should not be targeted, harassed or persecuted by their government due to their cultural specificities or their religious practices under the guise of a “fight against separatism.” Therefore, by being present in these spaces, we are able to push institutions for the inclusion of these points in Member States’ Anti-Racism Action Plans across Europe.
The Peoples’ Summit ended in an exchange between CSOs and the MEP Evin Incir, who is part of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). As they are in charge of putting together the Racial Justice report for the European Parliament, this meeting was called on to hear the perspectives of CSOs on what the report should include. Islamophobia or Anti-Muslim Hatred was strongly urged to be included as part of the report by FEMYSO’s representative, as the subject should be mentioned for what it is, after having been sidelined for far too long.