News

Five European Countries Slammed for Discrimination Against Muslims

Lies Hebbadj (C) arrives for a hearing at the police Tribunal in Nantes, November 21, 2011, accompanied by his wife and a companion, both of whom were stopped by police last October for wearing the niqab in public.
Lies Hebbadj (C) arrives for a hearing at the police Tribunal in Nantes, November 21, 2011, accompanied by his wife and a companion, both of whom were stopped by police last October for wearing the niqab in public.
Lisa Bryant

Muslims in Europe are facing growing discrimination for their religious beliefs, not only by ordinary Europeans but also by governments and politicians. That is the assessment of rights group Amnesty International in a new report released Tuesday.

In some parts of Europe, Muslim women and girls who wear headscarves are having a hard time finding jobs or going to school. Men can be fired from work because they wear beards. And Muslim communities sometimes have little say in key issues that affect their faith - like building a prayer hall. These are among a series of findings in Amnesty International's first comprehensive report on religious discrimination against Muslims in Europe.

Marco Perolini, Amnesty's expert on discrimination in Europe, said, "In recent years, we observed a rising of stereotypes and prejudices on Islam and Muslims in Europe, and in particular put forward only only by part of civil society but also by governments and politicians."

The Amnesty report focuses on Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland - along with France, home to Europe's largest Muslim community. Anti-Muslim sentiment has helped fuel far right parties and leaders in recent years. A case in point: Marine Le Pen of France's National Front, who placed third in presidential elections on Sunday.

The report looks at the impact of particular laws, like French legislation barring women from wearing the full-face veil, or niqab, in public or girls from wearing headscarves in public schools. Amnesty argues these bans and others violate basic European rights.  

"We should not forget that some rights - like the right not to be discriminated against, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of religion, are fundamental rights and governments have the duty to respect and fulfill them," said Perolini.

Amnesty points to other examples where religious rights are being compromised. Switzerland bans mosques from having minarets. And in Catalonia, Spain, Muslims are forced to pray in streets because of a lack of prayer hall space and local resistance to building new houses of worship.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs