“We are facing many crises now, however, growing anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism are the biggest threats to Europe’s future.”
There has been a steep increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic acts, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse during 2014 in Europe, according to the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
The findings were made in the commission’s annual report released on Thursday.
The report highlighted the violence targeting Jews, Muslims, blacks, immigrants and the LGBT community and noted that it had “dramatically increased” in Europe.
“We are facing many crises now, however, growing anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism are the biggest threats to Europe’s future,” Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said in a statement.
The report noted that Europe was witnessing a growing trend of Islamophobia, often expressed in views that saw Islam as inherently opposed to European values of democracy and secularism, which ignored the reality of Muslim communities.
It also said that insults and physical attacks on Jewish people and institutions had increased significantly.
The report also highlighted the fact that discrimination of people of African descent was still “widespread” in many European countries. It said that this was due to “traditional racist stereotypes, often based on age-old images of black people founded during the era of colonialism and slavery, to perceptions of Africans as unwanted economic migrants, to a fear of the ‘other,’ in this case visibly symbolized by the different skin color.”
The report also noted that as the numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants entering Europe continued to increase, those who made it, often faced a grim reception, characterized by detention, insufficient social assistance and a hostile public opinion in most European countries.
About LGBT phobia, the report said that there had been “progress in some countries and problems in others, where LGBT people still experience unacceptably high levels of stigma, intolerance and discrimination.”
Jagland urged political leaders to take decisive steps to stop this dangerous trend.