thanx to a friend for pointing me to this report (big pdf thing) by amnesty international, detailing the discrimination faced by muslims in europe. if you don't want to read through the whole thing, here's an article about it from their website:
“Muslim women are being denied jobs and girls prevented from attending
regular classes just because they wear traditional forms of dress, such
as the headscarf. Men can be dismissed for wearing beards associated
with Islam,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on
“Rather than countering these prejudices,
political parties and public officials are all too often pandering to
them in their quest for votes.”
this is something that muslims know already because they live with it. the overt signs have been increasing, starting with the banning of headscarves for french schoolgirls, and continuing with the banning of minarets in switzerland and the burqa in various parts of europe. the worst, of course, was the massacre in norway, but there have been plenty of other crimes of violence and murder.
just this week, the results of the first round of the french presidential vote sends yet another alarming signal, when a the far right "national front" candidate can garner almost 20% of the vote.
yesterday, many people were commemorating the lives lost in war, and much of the commemoration centred around world war II. yet it seems the lessons of that war & what preceded it have easily been forgotten in parts of europe.
the first couple of paragraphs of this report are pretty powerful, so i've included them below. please do take the time to click through to the link above to read further.
Muslims in Europe face discrimination in several areas of life because of their religion, their ethnic origin or their gender, or a combination of these grounds. Discrimination has a negative impact on their lives and affects their exercise of many human rights. It blights their individual prospects, opportunities and self-esteem and can result in isolation, exclusion and stigmatization. For example, legislation and policies restricting the wearing of religious and cultural symbols and dress often have the effect of excluding from employment Muslim women who choose to manifest their religious, cultural or traditional background by wearing specific forms of dress and thus indirectly contribute to their own marginalization. Some women interviewed during this research said they felt discouraged from seeking employment and thus decided either to stay at home or work in sectors where wearing religious and cultural symbols or dress was perceived to be less problematic. Such legislation and policies are detrimental to women’s equality and autonomy.
Muslims should be given the possibility to make independent choices in relation to the expression of their cultural and religious backgrounds. Such choices include the way in which Muslims manifest their cultural and religious background by, for instance, wearing or not wearing specific forms of dress or by worshipping or not worshipping with other members of their community. Muslims should be able to make these choices free from any pressure or coercion from family or community and any form of stereotype and prejudice from other private citizens or state institutions.