Anti-Terror Policies and Muslims in Europe: In Conversation with Activists from France, Austria, the UK and the Netherlands
Meld Islamofobie (Report Islamophobia) is a Dutch, independent, female-led citizens’ initiative. The project came about in 2015, when the team observed a sharp increase in violence against Muslims in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. The initiators noticed a sharp rise in violence against Muslims in the aftermath of the attacks and decided to make the victims heard. As part of their six year anniversary Meld Islamofobie hosts a series of meetings highlighting different dimensions of Islamophobia including the more structural and institutional layers of the phenomenon.
In a live Zoom session coming Tuesday Rahma Bavelaar from the Dutch organization Meld Islamofobie (Report Islamophobia) will host a conversation with activists Azad Ali (CAGE, UK), Chafika Attalai (of the recently dissolved CCIF, France) and Rumeysa Dur-Kwieder (Dokustelle, Austria) about the consequences of anti-terror policies for Muslims in Europe. The session will be streamed live on the Report Islamphobia’ Facebook page on Tuesday March 2nd from 8.30 – 10pm CET.
In recent years, Amnesty International has repeatedly urged European nations to heed the far reaching consequences of counter-terror legislation and policies. The human rights organisation points out that security measures introduced under the aegis of security and anti-terror violate fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and stigmatise muslim communities.
In recent years, increasingly repressive measures have been introduced in various European states to frame, monitor and police Muslim bodies and communities. Since the murder of a French high school teacher in October 2020, the French government has clamped down on muslim communities with widespread raids and arrests, the closure of mosques and muslim organisations and a battery of new legislation intended to battle “segregation”. The measures included the forced dissolution of the anti-racist and human rights organisation CCIF (Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France). Under the pretext of countering muslim terror, the organisation was framed as an “enemy of the Republic” and threat to public order.
Also recently, the Austrian government launched a troubling witch-hunt on a vaguely defined “Islamism”, opening up legal and conceptual space to monitor and police a wide range of muslim organisations and activities that can be construed as critical of the state or merely too pious.
Counter-terror policies that conflict with fundamental freedoms are not a recent phenomenon. In the UK, the civil rights organisation CAGE has monitored and drawn attention to the impact of the “war on terror” on muslim citizens since the early 2000’s and the establishment of Guantanamo Bay. In recent years they have led the way in researching, critiquing and challenging the UK’s official counter-terror program, PREVENT, which has resulted far-reaching profiling practices in schools, universities and health care facilities.
In our live session we will reflect together on the consequences of anti-terror policies for Muslims in Europe. Why are anti-radicalisation and anti-terror discourses and policies a problem? Why does it produce and reinforce islamophobia and anti-muslim racism? What are the recent developments in France, the UK, Austria and the Netherlands and how are they connected? What can we learn from the struggle of activists who work to fight structural and everyday islamophobia in the UK, France, Austria and the Netherlands?
Participate in the conversation this Tuesday!
- Azad Ali (CAGE, UK)
- Chafika Attalai (former representative at the dissolved CCIF, France)
- Rumeysa Dür-Kwieder (Dokustelle, Austria)
- Rahma Bavelaar (Meld Islamofobie, Netherlands)