On the occasion of the European Action Day against Islamophobia, the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) reiterates the need that European institutions must publicly recognise and condemn Islamophobia* as a specific form of racism. This is a pre-requisite in order to implementation of legislation and actions to prevent and tackle Islamophobia, which has become a major society issue impacting all of us.
*A commonly held definition employed by these NGOs and organisations defines Islamophobia as “Acts of violence and discrimination, as well as racist speech, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping which leads to exclusion and dehumanisation of Muslims, and all those perceived as such. Islamophobia has nothing to do with criticism of Islam”.
Across Europe, the political and public discourse frames Muslims as the source of a problem which justifies the adoption of legislation and practices that are putting the core European fundamental rights and democratic principles at risk. This further divides the European society, instead of enabling all of us to live together to build a more diverse, cohesive, and vibrant Europe. It is time to see concrete political actions to address the rising discrimination and violence faced by Muslims on a daily basis in Europe.
It is significant to note that Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim hatred have a direct impact on the mental health of young muslims, as the negative stereotypes, racism, and attitudes of rejection have adverse consequences which directly affect their self-confidence, their general sense of belonging to the broader community, and it manifests with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Today, more than ever, we urge European and national decision makers to get serious about tackling Islamophobia.