Discrimination against Muslims at all-time high in Belgium
Headscarved women shop in a European city.
A total of 166 out of 1,466 cases launched in connection with discrimination and racism-related offenses involve faith, according to the 2010 report prepared by Belgium's Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR).
Eighty-four percent of these cases are connected to Islam while only 2 percent concern Christianity and Judaism. The high number of cases of discrimination against Muslims is likely to bring more debates on Islamophobia back to the agenda. Eighty percent of the complaints filed with the CEOOR involve racism.
About two-thirds of the cases involving Islam stem from Islamophobia, the report says. These incidents of Islamophobia are mostly characterized by propaganda being disseminated through email and pressure in the workplace. The workplace-related cases of discrimination include exclusion and verbal provocation of Muslims. The report notes these instances are a result of workplace administrations believing that “religion has no place in the workplace.” The tension arising from Islamophobic attitudes in the workplace is mostly eliminated “by transferring the Muslim employee involved to another department or laying her/him off.”
Furthermore, 50 percent of cases of discrimination involving faith are linked to media organizations that publish or air unfair accusations or generalizations about members of a specific religion. Twenty-five percent of these cases concern recruitment or promotion while 8 percent involve services provided. The cases of discrimination in the latter category are mostly visible in real estate purchases or rentals. Some real estate agents and home owners are not inclined to rent out their properties to people who they believe are of a different faith.
Additionally, the number of cases of discrimination reported to the CEOOR in 2010 increased by 25 percent compared to the previous year. A list of companies allegedly reluctant to employ foreign employees was recently posted on the Internet.