The head of a leading Muslim group has voiced his concerns about the “negative treatment” that many Muslim minorities feel that they’re subjected to in Europe.

Addressing the Faith and Freedom Summit in Brussels, Bashy Quraichy, the secretary general of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion, said populists and others were “spreading hatred” against Muslim communities, and noted that the number of hate crime incidents directed at Muslims had “jumped many folds…This, in turn, is breeding violence, murders and property damages.”

The summit is a non-partisan coalition of faith-based NGOs which seeks to raise awareness about threats, including within Europe, to religious freedom and belief. It is asking election candidates this May to sign a pledge that, in part, commits them to deal with the issues in the next parliamentary term.

Quraichy said that according to Tell Mama, a national project that records anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom, that hate crimes against Muslims had soared after the recent shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Tensions exist all over the world, he noted, citing the recent conflict between India and Pakistan as well as the treatment of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar and China’s oppression of the Uighurs in the country’s Xinjiang province.

The European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion is a “powerful movement” against religious discrimination and according to Quraichy, and it should appeal to the EU, especially the European Parliament, “to be more proactive in order to warn those countries who commit acts of oppression against religious minorities.”

Europe, he believes, needs to act in an “inclusive fashion” and not be “selective as to who to put pressure on and who not.”

A need for more NGOs like his own that are able to build visible alliances that help shed light on issues like China’s crackdown on the Uighurs “is needed,” Quraichy said, adding that he wants to go beyond the proposals put forth by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and would like to see the Commission set up an office that deals with religious discrimination.


This content is part of the ‘Religious Freedom’ section supported by the Faith and Freedom Summit Coalition