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The Rise of the Far Right Anti-Muslim Narrative and its Impact on European Muslim Youth

In 2013, FEMYSO commissioned a research report to investigate the rise of the far-right anti-Muslim narrative that has begun to proliferate in European countries. The report was developed in response to the increasing popularity of the far right across Europe. Whilst the far right is not the sole source of the anti-Muslim narrative, it is increasingly linked to the normalisation of anti-Muslim speech in political and public discourse. 

The report focused on 6 European countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Bel-gium and Sweden. It sought to develop a greater understanding of European Muslim youth awareness and experiences of the far right and its anti-Muslim narrative in both the national and European contexts and to understand how European Muslim youth currently respond to the far-right anti-Muslim narrative in both the national and European contexts and how it shapes their identity, experiences, self-perception, interactions and choices. 

The report found that the far-right anti-Muslim narrative provokes a strong emotion-al response in young European Muslims. Interviewees described how the far-right an-ti-Muslim narrative has made them feel shock, fear, upset, hurt, rejection by society, revulsion, ostracized, frustration, anxiety, concern, and worry. However, respondents within this report are keen to cast off an attitude of victimhood, and suggests that the anti-Muslim narrative served as a catalyst for young Muslims to increase their already high levels of community engagement, and challenge the negative public perception of Muslims in Europe. 

In the long term our research aims to document European Muslim youth experiences, inform and improve European policy and understanding, and to encourage on-going research into the European Muslim experience. The report was written by Amina Easat (Aston University) and Saida Ounissi (Pantheon-Sorbonne University). It was launched at a roundtable event in the European Parliament on 26th September 2013, hosted by Malika Benarab-Arrou MEP, and included contributions from European Muslim youth organisations, the European Network Against Racism, and the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth.  The report has been translated in both German and French language and will be available on our website soon. 

The project was run with the generous support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Open Society Foundation. 

Follow the below link to read the research: