European Parliament Greens/EFA Group letter in support of FEMYSO after Racist attacks at EYE 2023

Brussels, 16 June 2023

Dear President Metsola,

We are writing this letter to you, knowing your firm commitment to the values of unity and diversity of our institution. It is with great concern that we have received information of racist and Islamophobic harassment, which took place at the European Youth Event on 9 and 10 June in Strasbourg.

This phenomenal event is a celebration of democracy, which brings together thousands of young people from all over the European Union and the world, to share and shape their ideas on Europe’s future. It is a unique opportunity for 16 to 30 year olds to interact, inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers, right in the heart of European democracy.

According to the event’s official website, the EYE strives to promote equality, inclusiveness and sustainability with a strong commitment to accessibility for everyone. However, in the past years, there have been growing concerns about the behavior of far right participants at the event. Their racist and discriminatory actions have been blatant, disregarding the code of conduct of the event.

An open letter by over 148 MEPs condemned the events already in 2021, calling on the EP President Sassoli to take immediate action. The incidents were also reported in the press. President Sassoli replied to the letter, condemning the hateful treatment of attendees. He promised that an internal investigation would be initiated, and measures to identify the perpetrators and to evaluate necessary needs would be taken.

Despite this, the harassment and discrimination of participants continued again this year. Attendees wearing Identity and Democracy Group lanyards engaged in discriminatory conduct towards other attendees of the event. In an organized manner, they filled many seats in sessions addressing topics of inclusivity and migration, with the intention to cause disorder within these sessions, and in some cases, harass participants and facilitators.

Furthermore, as participants would leave the sessions, the individuals concerned would approach participants that were identifiable as Muslims due to their headscarf, or target individuals wearing the t-shirt of FEMYSO, the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations. These individuals would engage with the participants in an intimidating manner, preventing the participants from attending other sessions.

To our knowledge, persons affected by discriminatory behaviour were mostly members of FEMYSO, the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations, a pan-European network of 31 Member Organisations across 21 countries, responsible for bringing a delegation of 100 young Muslims from across Europe to the heart of our democracy. In an escalation of the intimidation, pictures were taken without consent of other youth participants (one was known to be underage), and distributed by far right participants across online platforms.

We have received testimonies of the harassment and discriminatory behaviour, and have seen screenshots of the insulting online posts. Many participants report feeling extremely unsafe, especially when they discovered images of them appearing on tweets by the far right youth. While many had thought that European spaces were inclusive, and promoted equality, their lived experiences were one of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation.

It is essential to grant young activists safe and equal opportunities to engage with EU institutions. This atmosphere of fear and intimidation needs to be stopped. The European Parliament is a world-class institution representing nearly 450 million people. Our Union has over 71 million young people, representing 16% of our population, who remain highly underrepresented in both national and international parliaments.

In light of the upcoming European elections in 2024, and in the aftermath of the European Year of Youth, we call on the leadership of the European Parliament to strengthen democracy and unity – not to allow hate and divide to rule our common peace project.

Therefore, we ask you, President Metsola, to:

  • Come forward with an open statement condemning the intimidation and
    discriminatory behaviour which took place at the EYE in 2023,
  • produce a clear action plan on the measures which will be taken by the European
    Parliament to hold the islamophobic and racist participants accountable, and
  • show solidarity and offer direct support to the persons affected by the violence.

Yours sincerely,

Terry REINTKE and Philippe LAMBERTS
Co-Presidents of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament

Statement in Response to racist attacks at European Youth Event (EYE) 2023

Once again FEMYSO was incredibly proud to bring together a delegation of 100 young people from over 22 countries to engage with key European institutions. The objectives of this delegation were to promote intercultural dialogue and exchange, as well as to encourage the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds in the democratic process by demystifying and bringing them closer to European institutions. 

Unfortunately, members of our delegation were subjected to racist and islamophobia abuse, by far-right activists sponsored to attend by far-right MEPs. This abuse took place in the online and offline space and was truly threatening to the young Muslims in attendance.  

Sadly, this is not the first time our membership has been attacked in this manner, at the last event in 2021 a far-right delegation harassed members of both the FEMYSO delegation and that of #DiasporaVote to the extent that extra security was provided upon the departure of these vulnerable young people to ensure this could not continue. This deplorable act of aggression was rightly condemned by the leadership of European institutions, with a letter signed by 152 European parliamentarians calling for an inquiry into this incident submitted shortly after. 

We call upon the leadership of the host institutions to: 

  • Condemn this deplorable behaviour and rhetoric in a public statement  
  • Produce an action plan on measures that can be taken to address the threat of these actions which have now taken place at multiple EYE’s 
  • Revoke the ability for those who engage in abusive behaviour to take part in such an event.  

FEMYSO and our membership remain undeterred by those who sought to divide and exclude Muslim and other marginalised youth from public life. We will continue with our mission to work towards a diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe for all.  



1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 31 Muslim youth and student organisations across 21 European countries, and is the leading voice for European Muslim youth, developing and empowering them, and working to build a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe. 

2. For more information or requests please email