Muslims in Europe face greater discrimination as compared to American Muslims in civil and political life, according to an observatory report on Islamophobia carried out by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
In contrast with that in the United States, the report said the stigma was more visible and pronounced with more acute situations in Europe.
It said, the Islam and the West Annual Report on the State of Dialogue in January 2008 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has reported that clear majorities in all European countries surveyed, saw greater interaction between the West and the Muslim World as a threat. The report said that it was true of 79 per cent of the population in Denmark, Italy (67 per cent), Netherlands (67 per cent), Spain (68 per cent), Sweden (65 per cent) and Belgium (59 per cent).
"This corresponds to a growing fear among Europeans of a perceived "Islamic threat" to their cultural identities, driven in part by rising immigration from predominantly Muslim regions. "The WEF Report goes on to assert that in the United States (70 per cent) and Canada (72 per cent), the majority say that greater interaction was a benefit," it added.
The report said this however, did not deny the facts that Islamophobia was also on the rise in American society.
"An August 2006 USA Today/Gallup Poll for instance, reported that a significant number of Americans (were) willing to admit (that) they harboured at least some prejudice against Muslims," it added.
Meanwhile, the report has identified several root causes of Islamophobia consisting of ignorance or insufficient knowledge of Islam in non-Muslim societies that have contributed to the development of a mind-set in various strata of public opinion in the West and non-Muslim societies, at large.
This made them live with a perception that Islam was a religion that "lived by the sword', preached hatred and violence towards non-believers, and stood to challenge the Western way life.
"It is also caused by insufficient dissemination of information about Muslim countries being victims of terror attacks by extremists.
"The lack of coverage of the firm rejection of terrorism and extremism by the Muslim world's political leaders, including OIC leaders, mainstream public opinion and key religious authorities, in addition to the misrepresentation and incorrect interpretation of Islam at various levels have contributed significantly to the growth of Islamophobia," it said.
Source: Bernama (English)