October 23, 2020

Swedish Parliamentarian Condemns Islamophobic Attacks In Europe

Momodou Malcolm Jallow, a Gambian-born Swedish Parliamentarian has condemned the rise of islamophobic attacks that some political figures are using for electoral gains in Europe.

“Against a Europe-wide backdrop of increasing intolerance against Muslims, Nordic countries have in recent weeks experienced a wave of Islamophobic incidents organised by far-right supporters and groups,” said Momodou Malcolm Jallow (Sweden, UEL), General Rapporteur on Combating Racism and Intolerance of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The Swedish Parliamentarian said on 28 August 2020 in the city of Malmö, Sweden, copies of the Quran were publicly burned at the initiative of a group linked to the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (‘Hard Line’). The following day, he said in Oslo, members of a group called Stop the Islamisation of Norway (SION) tore out pages of the Islamic holy book and spat on them. He said in both cases, the extremists intended to trigger unrest and to sow the seeds of hatred and create division.

“Sadly, they have to some extent achieved their objectives, as a small number of people from the Muslim community became outraged by the racist and Islamophobic acts and this anger increasingly degenerated into violence and destruction of public property. I consider such violence to be equally unacceptable and have already publicly taken a stance against it,” Honourable Jallow asserted.

“Islamophobia is rife in Europe and is often underestimated. It is not unintentional, random or irrational, it is systemic, ideological and is cynically instrumentalised by some political figures for electoral gain. It undermines peaceful co-existence. While Muslims and those perceived as being Muslim are its direct victims, Islamophobia severely damages society as a whole.”

The outspoken lawmaker said on a daily basis hate is spread to millions of people disguised under the mantle of freedom of expression. He said the dimension, gravity and frequency of this rhetoric is of great concern and urgency.

“Freedom of expression does not include hate speech,” he remarked.

Honourable Jallow called on national authorities in Council of Europe member States to step up efforts to prevent and counter Islamophobia by addressing its root causes, including cultural preconceptions and negative stereotyping, fostering inclusion, protecting victims and prosecuting the incitement to hate or violence.

“The No Hate Parliamentary Alliance stands ready to exchange with its counterparts and support positive efforts,” he concluded.

Note: Momodou Malcolm Jallow is a Member of Swedish Parliament, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the General Rapporteur for the Assembly of Council of Europe on combating racism and intolerance in Europe, Founder and Chair of the Pan-African Movement for Justice (PMJ) in Sweden and the former Vice Chair of the European Network Against Racism.

 

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