World Mental Health Day 2022 

FEMYSO considers the topic of mental health as a key issue and this is why mental health education on a cross-societal level is one of our thematic priorities. It is a necessity to dismantle specific stereotypes that impact young people from minority backgrounds and marginalized groups that not only have to handle their mental well-being and tackle institutional barriers, but are also faced with the lack of access to resources and taboos surrounding mental health.   

Research examining the consequences of COVID-19 on racialized communities highlighted the substantial negative impact on wellbeing and mental health outcomes (CAI, 2021). This is why we have every intention to focus on normalising this discussion in our communities and wider society and debunking misconceptions around mental health in general. 
 

In this spirit, FEMYSO organized a one-week training course in collaboration with the Council of Europe, the Mind the Gap Study Session which resulted in the production of a Mental Health Booklet.  

This booklet due to be published in the coming weeks seeks to be an introduction to various topics associated with mental health in our communities and organizations as activists. Our hope is to reach different Muslim communities and organizations in Europe to raise awareness, offer support through effective examples of good practice and start a long-overdue conversation. 

We call upon European authorities on a local, national and international level to implement the following:  

  • Promote equal mental health care for all.  
  • Protect, raise awareness and promote mental health issues, particularly those concerning minority groups. 
  • Provide more accessible and affordable mental health support through easy access to information and to in-person services. 
  • Professionals should have a better understanding of cultural and faith beliefs of minority ethnic communities and how these impacts on beliefs and behaviours around mental health 
  • Training on unconscious bias and stereotyping for school counsellors and psychologists to be able to address the issues that students from racialized communities, including Muslims face adequately. 

As FEMYSO we will continue our mission to recognize the needs and advocate on behalf of those often forgotten and stigmatized, in order to fulfil our mission of working towards a more diverse, vibrant and cohesive Europe for all. 

European Day Against Islamophobia 2022

The European Action Day Against Islamophobia represents a major opportunity for Muslim youth that FEMYSO helped to create with EU institutions to bring the attention of stakeholders on the issue of islamophobia in Europe, sharing key facts with them as well as tools that they can bring in their fields of work to tackle islamophobia.   

The gradual increase of islamophobia at all levels has led to the aspirations of young European Muslims to be deeply affected and as of now, a clear and effective European strategy is lacking to tackle this issue. 

With the endemic stigmatization and exclusion of Muslims from all areas of life, in the job market, in their access to education, or simply in public spaces, there is the necessity to recognize this serious phenomenon and ensure that policies protecting against islamophobia are put in place.   

Today, FEMYSO was proud to hold an event in Brussels that explored in-depth the different manifestations of Islamophobia, with specific attention to the “youth” component. Different institutional representatives and civil society organizations working on youth, education, and discrimination presented their inputs and findings to ensure an inclusive and effective approach to addressing Islamophobia.  

Watch the video of the event here.

FEMYSO, together with all our Member Organisations, stay committed to a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe, in which all is free and safe to live and believe as they wish.

#WeRemember95

Twenty-seven years on from the worst human massacre on European soil after World War II, the currents of political conflict rage on in the east of our region. The crime against humanity committed in Bosnia in 1995 was solely driven by a hatred for Bosnian Muslims and enabled by the blatant institutional failure of UN Peacekeeping forces.  

These institutional failures remain present in the complete dereliction of duty that numerous governments and multilateral institutions have shown in the lack response to recent actions taken by Republika Srpska. Recent sanctions by the Unites States and United Kingdom against Srebrenica genocide denier and ethno-nationalistic leader Milorad Dodik are encouraging, but more must be done.  

On this day FEMYSO has chosen to launch #WeRemember95, a campaign focused on peace and on advocating for Bosnians committed to peace who find themselves in the midst of an environment which could lead to another horrific conclusion if leaders continue to be silent on this issue. 

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said ‘The Srebrenica genocide saw the brutal murder of more than 8000 Muslim men and boys, rampant sexual violence, and the displacement of over 1.1 million people over the course of the conflict. As a pan European network organisation of Muslim youth organisations, we are mandated by our membership to commemorate this anniversary, and this is why we are launching this campaign as we believe more must be done in this crucial moment.   

As the voice of Muslim youth in Europe this campaign calls for: 

  • Take all necessary actions to prevent a conflict that would inevitably spill over to other countries in the Balkans and in the wider region; 
  • Mandatory education of the Srebrenica genocide in history classes;  
  • National and EU wide commemoration events by national and EU authorities. 

The Srebrenica genocide, alongside the Prijedor (Bosnia) massacre that saw the killing of over 3000 Muslim civilians in 1992, portray unforgettable bloody stains in European history concerning ethnic cleansing. Therefore, solid and firm action must be taken to avoid what could be another extermination of innocent individuals on European soil.  
As for FEMYSO, we will continue our fight against any form of racism and our work for a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe. 
 
Notes:    

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 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.     
     
  1. For more media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org. 

FEMYSO Climate Action Statement: Environmental justice, social justice and much more 

FEMYSOs sustainability pathway 

Sustainability and climate action have been part of our work for nearly 10 years. Climate change is an ongoing issue, therefore we have taken the decision for it to be a theme that runs through all of our work more visibly.  

Sustainability is closely linked to the Islamic values of our organisation. The earth was given to us humans by God as a responsibility that we need to protect and take care of. The best way to take care of the earth is by sustaining the natural balance of the environment and living a moderate and thoughtful lifestyle. In addition to that by acting just towards all living organisms including people, animals and plants through environmental justice, social justice and human rights.  

FEMYSO’s participation as an organising member in the “Interfaith Youth Convention” on the European Green Deal showcases how sustainability and climate justice is an important across faiths.  This event allowed Muslim youth to actively partake and get involved in the dialogue together and was a beautiful example of the progressive policy a religiously plural society could achieve.  

“Thus We have made you trustees (khulafaa) on the earth after them, to see how you would act.” [Qur’an 10:14].  

FEMYSO plans the intensification in eco-friendly and sustainable habits in numerous ways. Firstly, before we advocate for others to become sustainable, we aim to focus intensely on the sustainability factors inside our INGO. We want to introduce and also continue habits like, sustainable waste management, reduction of digital waste, a complete avoidance of plastic use, monitoring CO2 emission caused by traveling and other important measures – described simply as “Reduce, Resue and Recycle”.  

Secondly, by advocating for sustainable and climate friendly actions not only in projects and campaigns solely related to climate change, but equally as well in other initiatives. Some examples are the “Green delegation” FEMYSO sent out at the European Youth Event 2021 in Strasbourg and the engagement of our members in the 25% percent project 2022 where climate activism became one of FEMYSOs contributions to the event. As the voice of Muslim Youth in Europe representing 33 member organisations across 20 European Countries, we also recognise that our membership is actively engaged in this theme. A good example would be the Green Iftar Guide encompassed in the “Ramadan Blossom campaign” for FEMYSO, for its member organisations and also available for anyone who is willing to organise a sustainable iftar during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Thirdly, it is important to us to highlight the link between climate action, social justice and human rights. This was one of the many topics discussed during the training on sustainability and climate action “Step- up and take action” that took place in Sarajevo 2021. 

Ever since our first major project dedicated towards sustainability, “Green up my community” which we launched in 2013, we have seen this type of work as an important area of focus, the decision to embed it thematically across our whole organisation was not taken lightly. However, we recognise the true need, we hope we can provide an example to others in and outside of our community to make the same commitment – for a more sustainable world for all Insha’Allah (God willing).  

 
Implementation of FEMYSOs Green Iftar Guide of the “Ramadan Blossom” campaign 

After a very supportive and insightful call with representatives of FEMYSO’s Campaigns Department, as well as the Environmental Officer, we felt very inspired and empowered to continue planning and organising the most sustainable public iftar we could. The framework and tips provided led to a significant reduction of single-use plastics, usage of eco-friendly recycled paper for all cutlery and plates, and recycling and re-using the small amount of plastic we did have to end up using. Encouraging our guests to only pick up the amount of food they realistically think they can consume during the night significantly reduced food waste. 

Generally, these small interventions and adaptations were really easy to implement but made a tremendous difference to the waste produced and the awareness it created in the community 

Alaee Ziani, Vice President, Muslim Youth of Gibraltar – A FEMYSO Member Organisation 

25% project – FEMYSO’s participation in the international event the 24/04  

FEMYSO is a partner of the 25% is a project, which is an initiative for young people, by young people to ensure that their voice is heard in decision-making processes and that they are given the tools and resources necessary to advocate for causes they care about.  
Moreover, On the 24/04/2022 we took part in the international event of the 25% where we took part in different working groups, including one regarding sustainability and climate change where FEMYSO’s newly recruited Environmental officer, presented the policy recommendation of the working group to the MEPs present at the conference. 

Sustainability is one of the most emerging themes expressed in the ideas collected. Young people think sustainability and climate change should be a political principle that shouldn’t be isolated from other important discussions. Moreover, youth also think that we cannot achieve climate justice without environmental justice, meaning that climate change can only be effectively fought if the measures are bearable for all citizens. as FEMYSO, we are convinced that climate change has a multiplier impact on existing inequalities and injustices on racialised communities, therefore it crucial that the fight against climate change reflects social justice principle to guarantee a fair allocation of responsibility of the actors involved.  

Nourhene Mahmoudi, Head of Campaigns, FEMYSO 

The Interfaith Youth Convention “Striking a Deal for our Common Home”  

FEMYSO collaborated with different faith organisations active on European level to organise two interactive webinars with youth from all across Europe representing of Muslim, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian and Jewish confessions, to exchange on the European Green Deal with the background of their religious beliefs. Climate activism and the responsibility towards our earth is a common denominator which connects us all together. Therefore, FEMYSO gave great importance to this interfaith project. We must ensure that everyone can meet their fundamental needs while preserving our environment for future generations. The webinars resulted in a distinguished report gathering all recommendations and ideas collected from the participating youth. 

Yusra Eleslambouly, FEMYSO volunteer, Part of the interfaith team  

Green Delegation European Youth Event 2021 

More than half of the participants of “Step-up and Take-Action” took part in the EYE in Strasbourg as FEMYSOs delegation. Prior to the European Youth Event, preparatory meetings were held by the previous organising team and alumni to discuss environmental topic. During those productive meetings, policy recommendations were developed to be presented at the EYE. We went as a green delegation to continue the work we started in Sarajevo. The common goal for this delegation was to make it clear that young European Muslims stand together with all other Europeans to fight climate change and take action. It was important to advocate for the environment as Europeans with minority background. We aimed to promote diversity and inclusiveness on climate actions and managed to effectively engage in several activities related to topics of climate justice and the environment. Our delegation spread at the EYE to take part in as many green activities as possible, we organised meetings, and had fruitful discussions with various MEPs. 

Member of the Green Delegation 

Step-Up and Take-Action International Activity 2021 

In 2021 I participated in the international activity “Step Up and Take Action”. Throughout the program we learned how to advocate for sustainability on local, national and international level. We also learned what the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are and what they stand for. And this year -2022- I am inspiring European Muslim youth to become more aware of their environment and act by implementing the gained knowhow on sustainability into the “Ramadan Blossom Campaign” as the Ramadan Campaign Lead. 

Esma Budur, FEMYSO volunteer 

A Message to Leaders from our President 

On the 52nd edition of Earth Day we call upon all global citizens to reflect upon their own impact on our planet. With Earth Day falling in the month of Ramadan, I see it as a unique opportunity for the Muslim community to recognise our God-ordained responsibility to take care of our earth and our obligations towards it.  

Whenever young people are asked about their own political priorities, climate change is mentioned on every single occasion, we call upon policy-makers and decision-takers to take the concerns of youth seriously in this regard, not only acting upon their asks but empowering them to lead in the protection of their own futures.  

As FEMYSO, we hope years from now the leaders of this organisation look back and applaud the significant steps taken by individuals and governments to save our planet – there is simply no other option.   

Hande Taner, President of FEMYSO 

FEMYSO calls for the protection of human life in Ukraine

24.02.22

FEMYSO calls for the protection of human life in Ukraine and for dialogue amongst stakeholders as the current escalation in Ukraine disrupts peace and prosperity in our region. This act by the Russian state is a clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and its decision must be reversed to prevent further catastrophe.

FEMYSO echoes the statement of the Council of Europe’s Secretary General and the Joint Statement of European Commission and Council Presidents.This current situation is likely to lead to horrible consequences for innocent citizens who seek nothing more than just to live in their lands without fear, with marginalized groups such as young people and women likely to suffer the worst consequences of this senseless act of violence.

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said ‘My generation was privileged to grow up in peacetime Europe, with war merely seen as a dark chapter of the history of our region. Sadly, the events of today remind us of the fragility of peace. Even in these dark moments, I am especially proud of our member organisation in Ukraine ALRAID, who are providing emergency support to families affected by the escalation and violence in Eastern and Southern Ukraine.’

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine and all those affected by these terrible events – the consequences of war are always devastating and we must double our efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected.

As the voice of Muslim Youth in Europe we call for peace and stand with the people of Ukraine.

Notes

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 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 media@femyso.org

World Hijab Day 2022 #HandsOffMyHijab

Today marks World Hijab Day 2022. What is clear, is that the importance of this day has only increased since its inception – FEMYSO alongside our civil society partners would like to reiterate the clear statement #HandsOffMyHijab 

The constant attack on the Hijab is centred in a patriarchal view that those in power have the right to legislate on women’s bodies. What a woman chooses to wear (and not to wear) is her own decision and those that seek to undermine this basic fundamental right should be seen as pariah.  

It is hypocrisy of the highest order to governments that seek to rightfully condemn other countries for human rights violations, to enact their own when it comes to the choice a Muslim woman makes whether to wear religious clothing 

The recent decision by the French Senate to ban the Hijab in sports is one of many clear human rights violations that our region has seen. Sport is a unifying platform where one’s talent and work ethic should be the only consideration made. Instead, Muslim women now have to make the choice between wearing religious clothing and engaging in the sport they love.  

In July 2021, a political decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) was passed which once again gives a free pass to employers to ban the headscarf. This saw the ECJ prioritise the financial interests of employers and prejudiced customers as more important than the rights of those who are perpetually made vulnerable and kept in a vicious circle of discrimination. 

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said ‘My choice to wear the Hijab was my own and one that has led to numerous barriers being placed in front of me in my pursuit to help shape a more just world. The efforts by many across our region to limit Muslim women like myself due to this aspect of my faith is a shameful endeavour that the generations to come will look upon with shame – #HandsOffMyHijab and the Hijabs of all the incredible young women I represent across our region.’  

As part of our work to tackle Gendered Islamophobia, FEMYSO has launched a survey that seeks to tackle the issues faced by Muslim women in the job market, translated into 8 languages, please take part here.  

We once again call upon EU Member States to stop their obsession with Muslim women’s bodies. We call on the EU and all its institutions to recognise the impact of Gendered Islamophobia on its citizens and to work alongside civil society to implement impactful and holistic policy to tackle this human rights violation.
 

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 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.     
  1. For more media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org. 

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 #WeRemember

#WeRemember as the Muslim Youth of Europe

Holocaust Memorial Day should provide us all with a bitter reminder of the realities of where fascism and racism can lead our societies.

President of FEMYSO Hande Taner said ‘The murder of 6 millions Jews alongside thousands of other ethnic and minority groups including over 500,000 thousand Roma is a stain on our history, our region must never seek to forget. Instead it should remain as a collection of moments that stir the anti-racist spirit in each and every one of us, reminding us that remaining silent is not an option.’

The Fundamental Rights Agency Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU, found that nine in 10 (89 %) Jews consider that antisemitism has increased in their country, with more than eight in 10 (85 %) considering it to be a serious problem. Jews around Europe rate antisemitism as the biggest social or political problem where they live.

These alarming statistics, and facts such as the antisemtic attacker of the Halle synagogue incident being inspired by the attacker of the Christchurch mosque massacre, paint a stark picture on the reality of anti-semitism in our region. European leaders must take heed and listen to Jewish communities in their efforts to see effective policy implemented to tackle this evil ideology.

FEMYSO will continue to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in our collective efforts to see a Diverse, Cohesive and Vibrant Europe for all come to fruition.

Notes:

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 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 media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org.

FEMYSO Statement on the European Year of Youth 

As we enter the year 2022, we at FEMYSO as the voice of Muslim Youth in Europe are proud to welcome the European Year of Youth. 

The European Year of Youth Youth will focus on re-establishing a positive outlook for European young people negatively affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In order to mark this important milestone, our organisation will amplify calls for one key message: this must be the European Year for all youth, including minority groups and marginalised voices.  

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said “Young people have been at the forefront of bringing progressive change to our region, and have been supporting their communities in the midst of this pandemic which already disproportionally affected the., Selfless in their commitment to creating a better Europe, they are the leaders of today, not just tomorrow. We sincerely hope this year signals a shift in the way young people are seen in our society.” 

The multitude of challenges young people face in the coming years as a result of this pandemic must not be ignored. We call on our European institutions to fulfil their responsibilities to their young population, removing barriers to meaningful engagement and amplifying our voices to play an active role in policy and decision-making processes.  

The decisions made over the coming years will impact the youth of Europe for decades to come. Therefore it is merely logical that the wishes of all youth are taken into consideration We are skilled, educated and more than able to lead our communities – we just need to be given opportunities.  

As FEMYSO we will continue our efforts to empower and support all youth voices in order to fulfil our mission of working towards a more diverse, vibrant and cohesive Europe for all.

Notes: 

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 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.   
  1. For more media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org. 

 

FEMYSO Statement on World Human Rights Day

Today on World Human Rights Day 2021, we must remember that Human rights are there to preserve everyone’s dignity and humanity in the face of all prejudices and cruelties. They are not a gift to some of us but a most important inheritance of us all. So we call upon our political and institutional leaders to repledge themselves to their duty to protect human rights and protect organisations and individuals who serve and defend human rights in our societies.

Defamatory and slanderous accusations are a tool often used to silence activists and organisations in the hope that they become afraid to continue the noble work of protecting the freedoms and rights we all enjoy. Unfortunately, in this period of European history, Muslims and Muslim organisations have become the daily victims of these charges from those who choose hate over hope.

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said “As the voice of Muslim Youth in Europe, we find the attacks on human rights defenders deeply troubling. Instead of praising and providing further resources to these fearless heroes, some governments have chosen to amplify the voices and repeat defamatory claims, shame on them for legitimising and exporting racism.

To our friends across civil society, I believe we have a distinct opportunity here to reclaim the narrative around human rights and those that seek to defend them. Remaining silent as these attacks increase in number, will not provide you with protection, instead it will mean that there are fewer voices to protect you when the attacks turn towards yourselves”.

The European Convention on Human Rights provides all of us a resource that we can reflect on, signatories of this document must fulfil the rights outlined within it without fail.

FEMYSO will always stand with those that seek to protect human rights and the most marginalised in our society, as part of our mission to work towards a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe.

 

FEMYSO calls for international action to secure sustainable peace in Bosnia & Herzegovina

As the voice of Muslim Youth in Europe we call for immediate action to avoid grave consequences in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH).

As an organisation we find it a complete dereliction of duty that numerous governments and multilateral institutions have remained silent in response to recent actions taken by Republika Srpska to cause division and escalate tensions in BiH.

The Dayton agreement signed in December 1995 provided a basis for all actors in Bosnia & Herzegovina to operate in a manner which prioritised peace. However, Republika Srpska officials are actively undermining the agreement, stoking tensions in order to meet their ambitions for a mono-ethnic state.

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said “FEMYSO is mandated by our Member Organisations to commemorate Srebrenica every single year, having spoken to local voices in BiH, we are deeply concerned that Europe is sleepwalking into another situation which could see a repeat of this devastating event which saw 100.000 perish and 1.1 million displaced only a few decades ago.”

FEMYSO echoes demands from Bosnian civil society and calls for the following actions from European leaders:

– Punish Milorad Dodik and his partners for violating the Dayton Agreement;
– Actively support actors who work on a multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina;
– Avoid language that equates the actions of aggressors to the victims of said aggression;
– Take all necessary actions to prevent a conflict that would inevitably spill over to other countries in the Balkans and in the wider region.

FEMYSO remains committed and stands with all who call for peace in our region, and denounce all those that seek to divide and destroy our societies with their poisonous language and actions.

END

Notes:   

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 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 media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org.