The Open Society Institute’s Muslims in Europe report constitutes a comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. The report captures a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester, Waltham Forest-London, Marseille, Paris and Stockholm.
According to the OSI report, released in late December, “the findings … suggest that levels of religious discrimination directed towards Muslims are widespread and have increased in the past five years.” The report also found that “European-born Muslims, particularly women, were more likely to be exposed to religious discrimination than Muslims born abroad.” Stating “European-born Muslim men identify the police as a key source of unfair treatment and discrimination,” the report said Muslims’ sense of national belonging is negatively affected by the persistence of discrimination and prejudice.
As for Germany, which has the highest number of Turkish immigrants among EU countries, the report says that unemployment is twice the national average for Turkish nationals in Germany and that 28 percent of Turks reported discrimination when looking for work. Twenty-three percent said they encountered it at work.
One survey respondent said, “Things are getting worse for veiled women” in Germany, referring to the headscarf, which is widely prevalent in Germany. The report points out that women wearing headscarves are vulnerable to discrimination on the job.
Wearing religious symbols such as the headscarf is banned in certain German government jobs. Some women in the study also said wearing headscarves prevented them from participating in all areas of work, or from securing apprenticeships or internships at all.
The report points out that some Muslim pupils still suffer from racism at schools and are confronted with low expectations from teachers. “Teachers need appropriate training and support to ensure that they can be effective in classrooms that are increasingly diverse both ethnically and religiously,” the report proposed.