Dear President Tajani,
On behalf of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), we write to express our deep concern regarding MEP Marcel de Graaff’s speech in Plenary on behalf of the ENF group on March 14th, resulting in hate speech and incitement to hate which fueled xenophobic and anti Muslim hatred. He claimed that the inclusion of Muslims is a dangerous threat to Europe as he accused Muslims of systematically “launching Europe back to the Middle Ages” by stating that the religion of Islam is the definition of inequality, polygamy, child marriage, slavery and honor killings. All his speech is rooted in Islamophobic rhetoric and incitement to hatred towards refugees and Muslims.
Over the past two decades the European Union has given more attention to the promotion and protection of fundamental rights, and the rhetoric of Mr. De Graaff’s speech blatantly shows that he does not share the European Union’s core values of democracy, solidarity, equality, human rights, respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law. This occurrence is not an isolated case, and therefore it calls to step up the political will to recognise and to condemn political hate speech and political incitement to hatred, especially when done by an MEP.
Addressing Islamophobia is an important part of increasing the trust and confidence of European Muslims in their own local and national institutions: the police; the local authorities; the rule of law and legal framework; and all those whose job it is to protect them and keep them safe as citizens. Apart from EU non-discrimination legislation, broader human rights policies are also needed to ensure the protection and respect of human rights within the EU.
We urge you, President Tajani, to support appropriate dispensary measures from the Parliament’s rule of procedure against MEP De Graaff for the hate speech and incitement to hatred targeting refugees and Muslims. And to take urgent action against this growing political hate speech and incitement to hatred that are damaging to the values of the European Union, of solidarity, equality and unity.
FEMYSO was founded in 1996 and has grown into a wide network of 35 youth and student organisation across 24 European countries, all working to benefit their wider communities and societies, and serve mankind.
The FEMYSO vision for European Muslim youth is proactivity, ethical living and service to humanity. We have trained thousands of young Muslims, contributed to the emergence of a strong confident identity of young European Muslims, and built strong partnerships with organisations across society, Muslim and non-Muslim, all motivated by a commitment to live by our European principles and build a more diverse, cohesive, and vibrant Europe.
Brussels, March 16th 2018