9 september 2020 Strasbourg /online

EFOMW was invited to a consultation meeting with civil society representatives and the working group of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims.

ECRI has started revising its General Policy Recommendation (GPR) No.5 on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, which was adopted in March 2020.

GPR no 5. deals with combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and advocates the adoption of a number of specific measures for combating intolerance and discrimination directed against Muslims. It offers a wide range of measures in several areas and requires member states of the Council of Europe to intervene both on the realm of general policy and on the role of core institutions, including employment, education and the media.

Still, the surge of Islamophobia during last decades brought new challenges that need new solutions and actions.

ECRI organised this consultation meeting with aim to get feedback from leading civil society organisations working in this field, on the experiences of the Muslim (real or perceived) community. During this fruitful discussion civil society had the opportunity to advise on what should not be overlooked in this revision process, and which important issues should be included and recommended to the Member States of the Council of Europe in the revised text.

EFOMW highlighted that the prejudice based on religion or gender is considered illegal in Europe, however there is an exception when it comes to Muslim women. Muslim women face multiple underlying issues and Islamophobia disproportionally affects them. The number of EU countries which have legislations that limit Muslim women’s participation in society because their choice of head-covering has been on the increase during the past 20 years. The persistent negative portrayal of Muslim women is supported by media coverage and political discourses. Therefore, for the Muslim women, Islamophobia is a complex mix of violence, discrimination, social exclusion, structural sexism and racism.

EFOMW would like EU institutions to recognise these issues as highly detrimental and problematic. In the context of human rights violations, EU institutions need to take firm steps in raising awareness among the member states about the denial of Muslim women’s rights.

The draft is expected late summer/ autumn 2021 and EFOMW will have an opportunity to provide the feedback on this draft.