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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs