Opinion: European Societies "Risk Being Torn Apart" Over Islamophobia

March 13, 2005

Source: Arab News/The Washington Post


On March 13, 2005 The Washington Post ran an opinion piece by Mustafa Malik about growing Islamophobia in Europe. He writes, "During my two most recent research trips to Europe, I saw how a story like this could capture people’s imaginations. It represents one of the most radical cases of what Germany’s newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung has called anti-Islamic 'hysteria,' which makes many Europeans see 'every head scarf as a political emblem, every Muslim (as) an extremist, every mosque (as) a seething hotbed of hatred.' And it shows what I have come to see as a dangerous failure in Europe to distinguish between threats from an extremist fringe and symbols of Muslims’ rich cultural heritage. Unless Europeans learn to make that distinction, I am afraid their societies risk being torn apart. Such a possibility was reflected in a study of 11 European Union states released last week by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, which warned that some Muslims feel as if they are viewed as 'an enemy within.'"