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Friday, September 9, 2011

Turkish leader concerned about Islamophobia in Europe | RT

(Almost) all my diverse research foci converge when Russia Today (RT) reports Abdullah Gül's remarks about the increasing racism and Islamophobia in Europe:
The Turkish leader noted that “increasing ethnic, cultural and religious tensions can result in tensions and division in society,” but it is the state that must control these processes.

“The task of the state is to secure for all its citizens, regardless of religion, language and race, equal constitutional rights and…equal opportunities,” Abdullah Gul said.
One can, of course, point out that making remarks like these while the Turkish military is embarked on a campaign against Kurdish insurgents in Eastern Anatolia invites accusations of throwing rocks while living in a glass house.

But from the Turkish perspective, the same can be said for criticism against Turkish discrimination of Kurds, coming from EU member states in which ethnic Turks and other minority groups face systematic discrimination. And given the large number of Turks living in the EU, racism and Islamophobia that targets these exile communities are legitimate concerns for the Turkish state.

Take Sweden, where I live, as an example. A wonderful country in most ways, which treats newly arrived immigrants better than most other countries, with subsidized entry-level jobs, paid for Swedish language education etc. Still, experimental research shows that even here immigrants are severely discriminated against.

One meta-study (source in Swedish) of experimental research on discrimination on the job and housing markets, reported the following findings: CVs sent by persons with Arabic-sounding names receive between 50% to 88% fewer responses from employers than identical CVs with traditional Swedish names. There were similar results on the very tough Swedish housing market (50-60%). And my hunch is that even these shockingly high numbers hide the true extent of discrimination given the importance of informal contacts in getting both jobs and rental housing in Sweden.

As for the recent rise in Islamophobia, the last chapter of my book examines the increasingly hostile - and, from the far right, Islamophobic - rhetoric evident in the European Parliament in recent years.

The point is: Gül has a point.

Increasing Islamophobia in Europe dangerous trend – Turkish leader — RT

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