Photo: CLAIM Berlin

For Germany, the latest European Islamophobia Report draws a mixed balance

For the fight against hate, the Islamophobia Report 2021 calls on the Federal Government to do more for education, the fight against violence and the visibility of minorities.

For seven years, the annual European European Islamophobia Report has been edited by political scientists Enes Bayraklı and Dr Farid Hafez. In each volume, authors from research and civil society write about individual countries.

Regarding the Federal Republic of Germany, the author (political scientist and religious scholar Zubair Ahmad) arrives at an ambivalent picture. Although the number of “politically motivated crimes” increased by 23.17 percent in the midst of a global pandemic, “Islamophobic incidents” decreased by 28.65 percent. Ahmad spoke of a total of 732 cases from the subject area at hand.

In 2021, “discursive events” had left their mark. In them, Muslims and Islam were framed as “dangerous, threatening and conflictive.” As examples, he mentions the debate on “political Islam” imported from Austria and ideas of a “confrontational practice of religion.” Racist attitudes are still prevalent in our country.

Referring to findings of DeZIM (May 2022), 49 per cent of respondents believe in the existence of “human races,” while one third is convinced of the superiority of some ethnic groups. On the other hand, a large majority of Germans surveyed acknowledge the existence of racism. 61 per cent see it as an everyday reality, while 22 per cent had once experienced racist discrimination themselves.

Parallel to abstract attitudes in the population (as documented by the Leipzig Authoritarianism Study), recent years have seen an “enormous increase” in attacks on Muslims in Germany. Since 2017, such incidents have been recorded separately by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. However, there was a significant decrease in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021; most perpetrators came from the far-right milieu. Critically, the report notes that the Office of the Attorney General has not yet opened any proceedings in this regard.

For the author, a key role in the public discourse is played by the concept of and the debate on “Political Islam.” Various voices have critically dealt with the construct that leads to a collective suspicion against Muslims and the restriction of their fundamental rights, as well as being a negative projection surface. Gudrun Krämer, a scholar on Islam quoted above, described attempts, such as in Austria, to create separate legal offences under the catchword “political Islam” as “absurd” as long as legally compliant definitions of the term were lacking. Despite this criticism, the Union published a position paper referring to this model. In it, the term is used to portray Muslims and Islam as a security threat. At the same time, extreme conspiracy theories of Muslim infiltration are repeated.

On the positive side, the report notes that the federal government has taken decisive steps “in the fight against racism, right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and antiziganism.” Nevertheless, the use of the term “political Islam” would create a link between religiosity, criminality and dangerousness. Furthermore, there was a lack of recognition of structural discrimination in society, which was aware of racism.

Recommendations for action to combat anti-Muslim discrimination included: strengthening human rights education, coordinated prosecution and indictment of Islamophobic crimes, sufficient funding for the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, and greater representation of people with migrant backgrounds in relevant sectors of society.

Orphans of Uganda
Donate without Middlemen

100% of your donation reaches directly to the children in need!