Intervention at the London conference on 'Islamophobia, human rights and the anti-terrorist laws'
Voices against Islamophobia
By Institute of Race Relations
3 March 2011, 4:00pm
The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes this week two timely reports on the nature, impact and campaigns against Islamophobia across Europe.
'Islamophobia and progressive values'
This unique report draws attention to the specific role that a discourse on progressive values is playing in shaping Islamophobia. Dr Sabine Schiffer (Institute for Media Responsibility, Erlangen), Murat Batur (Kanafani Inter-Cultural Initiative, Vienna), Nadia Fadil (Centre for Sociological Research at the Catholic University of Leuven) and Marwan Muhammad (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) outline the general parameters of hatred towards Muslims. They examine the combination of intellectual currents - from the extreme-Right to those of the liberal intelligentsia - which are creating a closed circuit of thought and ensuring that Islamophobia is now the respectable face of European racism. (Download the report here (pdf file, 764kb)
'Islamophobia, human rights and the anti-terrorist laws'
This report reveals how Islamophobia serves a function as propaganda for war. But anti-terrorist policies and emergency laws have also had the effect of turning Muslim communities all over Europe into 'suspect communities'. Asim Qureshi (Cageprisoners) and Luk Vervaet (Committee for the Freedom of Association and Expression) consider the relationship between Islamophobia and the war on terror, focusing particularly on the ways in which the human rights of Muslim communities, refugees and migrants are being breached by counter-terrorism measures. (Download the report here (pdf file, 604kb)
Liz Fekete, editor of the two reports, said today: 'There is no time to spare if we are to win back progressive values from those who have hijacked them in order to promote a reactionary monocultural creed, based on hatred towards Muslims'.
These reports are the proceedings of two IRR seminars held in London on the theme of 'End the Isolation: building solidarity networks against racism and Islamophobia in Europe' at Garden Court Chambers, Lincoln's Inn Fields on 20 October 2010.
The first seminar on 'Islamophobia and Progressive Values' was the concluding networking meeting of the IRR's Alternative Voices on Integration Project, which was funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration of the Network of European Foundations.