UN Report: Islamophobia on the Rise

New York, MINA – A new report from the United Nations highlights growing Islamophobia and excessive surveillance of Muslims in countries around the world

The United Nations Human Rights Council report, which was released last week, is unsparing in its critique that governments around the world, including in the United States and China, should do more to combat Islamophobia, thus quoted from Religion News Service on Saturday.

The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, announced the report’s release at a news conference last week.

The report, officially titled “Countering Islamophobia/Anti-Muslim Hatred to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief,” notes an overall rise in Islamophobic incidents around the globe.

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The U.N. report used the terms “Islamophobia” and “anti-Muslim hate” interchangeably to avoid “condemning all critiques of Islam,” which it said could endanger academic freedom.

Opinion polling shows Muslims are increasingly seen in an unfavorable light. Citing data from other sources, the report notes that almost 4 in 10 Europeans held unfavorable views of Muslims in surveys conducted between 2018 and 2019.

A survey of Americans conducted in 2017 found 30 persen held Muslims “in a negative light.” Yet, the report compiled at least one piece of potentially good news, according to a study conducted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe: Anti-Islamic attacks peaked in 2017 and have somewhat declined since then, though it was unclear if the sampling size was similar year to year.

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The rise of Islamophobia has been driven in part by local conditions in individual countries and regions in which underlying issues such as class and ethnicity often also played a role.

The rise of far-right groups is another factor driving an increase in hate toward Muslims.

“We welcome the recent report by the United Nations describing Islamophobia as reaching epidemic proportions,” said Erum Ikramullah, a research project manager at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

“These new U.N. findings are in line with ISPU data, which consistently find that American Muslims are the most likely faith group to report facing religious discrimination, at about 60 percent over the past five years.”

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Around the globe, negative and one-sided portrayals of Muslims in the media have contributed to the rise of Islamophobia, according to the report. The U.N. report noted a European Commission against Racism and Intolerance study which found that of 600,000 Dutch news items in 2016 and 2017, the adjectives most used to describe Muslims were “radical,” “extremist” and “terrorist”; in contrast, Dutch people are often described as “known,” “average”nd “beautiful.”. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)