MDI to Combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Brussels

Date: 25 February 2016

Region: Europe

MDI_Antisemitisam_Islamophobia_European_ParliamentIn the past few years antisemitic incidents have risen in Europe, culminating in fatal terrorist attacks against Jewish citizens. Parallel to this, anti-Muslim hatred in the form of serious verbal and physical violence against Muslims has also increased.

The media have often fuelled this type of discrimination against the two communities by promoting prejudices and spreading misleading information. If websites and social media are the main platforms to share content on Jewish conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and Jew’s demonization, it is not rare to encounter forms of islamophobia on mainstream media and tabloids.

Within this framework, the Media Diversity Institute, which has been committed to combat these two forms of discrimination, has attended the roundtable on outcomes of EU Colloquium on Fundamental Rights on antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred and hate speech.

Organised by ARDI (European Parliament Anti-racism and Diversity Intergroup) and WGAS (European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism), the roundtable brought together different stakeholders to discuss how to move forward the outcomes from the colloquium for projects, policies and legislation designed to combat hate crime, hate speech and discrimination against Jews and Muslims.

Many speakers of civil society organisations called for the adoption of the European Union Equal Treatment Directive, National Strategies to combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia and the need for working together with industry organisations and civil society to combatting hate speech and crime as well as amplifying voices of tolerance and respect within the public and digital sphere.

Proposing counter-narratives and working as a watchdog of the media is what the Media Diversity Institute has been doing with several projects, including Get The Trolls Out!, a programme to combat antisemitism in new and traditional media in Europe.

More specifically, Get the Trolls Out! engage young people in exposing the prejudices, misrepresentation and manipulation of antisemitic public discourses through creative education, humour, theatre, fact-based messages and complaints.

The roundtable came seven months after the Colloquium hosted by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová. It was the first time that at EU level representatives from both Muslim and Jewish communities from across Europe had sat in the same room to discuss how to combat antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred.