Today the FRA published its Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) Muslims – selected findings. FRA is the EU’s independent body for delivering fundamental rights assistance and expertise to the EU and its Member States.
The survey of 10,527 people who identified themselves as Muslims was conducted in 15 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, & the UK. The report is part of a wider survey of 25,500 migrants and minorities in all 28 EU Member States. It builds on FRA’s first such survey, conducted in 2008.
The vast majority of Muslims in the EU have a high sense of trust in democratic institutions despite experiencing widespread discrimination and harassment, a major survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The survey captures the experiences of Muslim immigrants and their EU-born children, revealing that public attitudes have changed all too little over the last decade.
“Our survey results make a mockery of the claim that Muslims aren’t integrated into our societies. On the contrary, we see a trust in democratic institutions that is higher than much of the general population,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “However, every incident of discrimination and hate crime hampers their inclusion and reduces their chances of finding employment. We risk alienating individuals and their communities, with potentially perilous consequences.”
“I am encouraged by the confidence of Europe’s Muslim communities in our public institutions and rule of law, despite the individual challenges of discrimination which they attest to,” says European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “But I am disheartened by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s report which shows that over the past five years almost one in three Muslims feel that they have been discriminated against when looking for work, but that only 12% of Muslims have reported the latest cases of discrimination. I want to assure our Muslim citizens that the European Commission will not tolerate intolerance. It goes against our values and our laws.”
European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová says: “The Fundamental Rights Agency report shows that discrimination against Muslims is too widespread. I’m especially concerned about the challenges faced by Muslim women in Europe. It is now our duty both at European, national and local level to make sure that anti-discrimination measures are respected and that the Muslim community can trust the police”.
The Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II): Muslims – selected findings is the second large scale survey of Muslims carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency. As well as markers of integration such as a sense of belonging and trust in public institutions, the survey asked about experiences of discrimination, harassment, police stops, and rights awareness.
Key findings include:
- 76% of Muslim respondents feel strongly attached to the country they live in;
- 31% of those seeking work have been discriminated against over the last five years;
- 42% of respondents who had been stopped by the police over the last year said this happened because of the migrant or ethnic minority background.
The report suggests a number of solutions, including:
- Effective sanctions for violations of anti-discrimination legislation;
- Reinforcement of trust in the police through targeted outreach activities;
- Greater efforts to increase the participation of Muslims in decision-making processes.
Key Findings for the Netherlands
EU-MIDIS II shows that most Muslim respondents feel attached to the country they live in, trust its institutions and are comfortable interacting with people of different religious or ethnic origins. The majority of respondents (76 %) feel strongly attached to their country of residence. p. 9
Some 76 % of Muslim respondents selected a value of 4 or 5, indicating a tendency to feel strongly attached. Only about 2 % mention not feeling attached at all to their country of residence; in the Netherlands this is 8% (still a minority). Except in France and the Netherlands, the overall feeling of attachment to the survey country tends to be slightly higher among descendants of first generation migrants. p. 20
With an average level of 4.1, the level of attachment is highest among Muslims surveyed in Finland (4.6), Sweden (4.4), the United Kingdom (4.3), France (4.3) and Belgium (4.2); and lowest in Italy (3.3), the Netherlands (3.4), Austria (3.5) and Greece (3.6). Among the different target groups, Muslims who are recent immigrants (covered in Slovenia) and Muslim immigrants from Asian countries (covered in Cyprus) show the lowest average level of attachment to their country of residence (Figure 2). P. 21
In 2015 the Eurobarometer found that one in three (30 %) would feel uncomfortable if their son or daughter were to have a ‘love relationship’ with a Muslim. A similar question in EU-MIDIS II finds that 17 % of Muslim respondents would feel uncomfortable if someone from their family were to be married to a person with a different religion.
The highest proportion of Muslim respondents who feel ‘totally uncomfortable’ with marrying people with a different religion are in the Netherlands (33 %) and Denmark (25 %). Overall, the survey results indicate that almost every second Muslim respondent (48 %) feels ‘totally comfortable’ with a family member marrying a non-Muslim person. p. 21
The level of trust in the legal system is higher among Muslims than the general population in most countries – but not in Denmark and the Netherlands, where trust among first- and second-generation immigrants is somewhat lower than the national average in the European Social Survey.
The second generation shows a lower level of trust in the legal system than the first generation in several but not all countries surveyed. The difference between first- and second-generation Muslims is largest in France, where first-generation immigrants show higher levels of trust in the legal system than the general population, and second-generation Muslims show slightly lower levels of trust than the generation population. These patterns are even more pronounced when it comes to trust in the police.
On average, Muslims respondents tend to trust the police and the country’s legal system the most, compared with other institutions asked about in the survey. Levels of trust in the police vary among different Muslim target groups and EU Member States. For example, the lowest levels of trust in the police are observed among Muslim respondents in the Netherlands and Italy. In both countries, Muslim respondents of North African origin express lower levels of trust in the police (mean values of 4.9 and 5.3, respectively), as do Muslims with Turkish origin in the Netherlands (mean value of 5.1) and Muslim respondents of Sub-Saharan African origin in Italy (mean value of 5.3). Muslims surveyed in France and Belgium also tend to manifest lower levels of trust in the police than the average in the selected EU Member States. By contrast, Muslim respondents with Sub-Saharan African backgrounds in Finland and recent Muslim immigrants in Slovenia express the highest levels of trust in the police (mean values of 8.4 and 7.8, respectively).
Ethnic profiling (p. 53-)
On average – and similarly to findings of EU-MIDIS I – Muslim respondents from North and Sub-Saharan Africa indicate having been stopped more often, and they more often perceive these stops as discriminatory. Of those Muslim respondents the police stopped, 73 % and 69 % from North and Sub-Saharan Africa in Italy, respectively, and 64 % from North Africa in the Netherlands believe they were stopped because of their ethnic or immigrant background. By contrast, this proportion is much lower among Muslim respondents from Turkey (for example, 21 % in Belgium, 16 % in Germany and 14 % in Austria) .
The results indicate that certain groups are stopped on the street more often than others. Half of both first- and second-generation Muslim respondents from Sub-Saharan Africa in Italy (53 %), and nearly half from North Africa in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain recalled that they were last stopped by the police on the street (40-42 %). This proportion rises to 80 % of Muslim respondents from South Asia in Greece, which could be related to intensive immigration checks.
It shows that Muslim respondents in all countries other than Malta identify ethnic origin or immigrant background as the main ground for encountering discrimination. In Malta, 32 % indicate skin colour as the main discrimination ground. Skin colour is also mentioned by 25 % of respondents in Greece and by 21 % in Italy – which is expected, as the countries/regions of origin of those surveyed in these countries influence the results. For example, in Italy, 39 % of Muslim respondents from Sub-Saharan Africa indicate skin colour as a ground for discrimination – almost two times higher than the country average based on responses of Muslims from three different countries/regions of origin. By contrast, Muslims in the Netherlands (30 %) and in Italy (25 %) mostly mention the ground religion or religious beliefs.
Among all respondents, Muslim respondents from North Africa who are living in the Netherlands and in Italy report the highest levels of discrimination based on religion or religious belief during the five years preceding the survey (31 % in both countries). This is followed by 28 % of Muslim respondents from Turkey in the Netherlands and 27 % of Muslim respondents from Sub-Saharan Africa in Denmark.
The results point to an intersection of the grounds religion and ethnic origin, as 70 % of all Muslim respondents who indicate religion as ground for discrimination also felt discriminated against because of their ethnic origin or immigrant background. By contrast, only 46 % of all Muslim respondents who felt discriminated against because of their ethnic origin or immigrant background indicated that they also experienced discrimination based on religion — a finding that could indicate that the majority of Muslim respondents perceive religion as a dimension or element of their ethnic or immigrant background.
Muslim respondents from North Africa are more likely to feel discriminated against in the Netherlands (49 and least likely so in Spain (20 %). In the Netherlands, the 12-month discrimination rate based on ethnic or immigrant background differs by 10 percentage points between Muslims from Turkey and from North Africa (39 % versus 49 %, respectively).
On average, there is no difference in the discrimination based on ethnic or immigrant background perceived by Muslim women and men during the 12 months preceding the survey (25 % and 24 %, respectively). However, there are some substantial gender differences within and across target groups. In contrast to several other countries, in the Netherlands more Muslim men feel discriminated against than Muslim women do, independently of country of origin.
The results show no substantial differences in discrimination against Muslim women who usually wear a headscarf (or niqab) outside the house and those who do not. Muslim women who usually wear a headscarf (or niqab) outside the house are in employment to a lesser extent than women who do not do so (29 % and 40 %, respectively, for self-declared main activity status ‘in paid work or self-employed’).
However, results show that both male and female Muslim respondents who at least sometimes wear traditional or religious clothing when out in public slightly more often felt discriminated against based on their ethnic or immigrant background in the 12 months before the survey (28 % for males; 27 % for females) than Muslim respondents who do not wear such clothing (22 % for males; 23 % for females). p. 30
Muslim immigrants or descendants of immigrants from North Africa in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France who felt discriminated against when looking for work indicate their first or last name as the main reason. Meanwhile, Muslims from North Africa residing in Italy who felt discriminated against mention their country of birth as the main reason in both areas of employment.
Overall, about one in four Muslim respondents (27 %) reported experiencing harassment due to their ethnic or immigrant background at least once in the 12 months before the survey. The majority of victims of biasmotivated harassment among Muslim respondents from Turkey living in the Netherlands (60 %) and those from Sub-Saharan Africa in Sweden (58 %), as well as those from North Africa in Belgium (58 %), experienced six or more incidents in a year.
Muslim men from Turkey in the Netherlands, from Sub-Saharan Africa in Sweden, and from North Africa and South Asia in Italy report higher rates of bias-motivated harassment than women. These differences point to the need for more in-depth research to explore how Muslim men and women are affected by harassment in different ways.
Differences between personal experiences and awareness of other people’s experiences are found among respondents from North Africa in Belgium and in the Netherlands; respondents from Turkey in Belgium, Denmark and Germany; and respondents from South Asia in Greece.