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04.02.2017 Author: Grete Mautner

Is American Islamophobia Any Different From What We are Witnessing in Europe?

43534234123123The Executive Order that would ban Muslims from a number of Middle from entering the US signed by Donald Trump is going to be discussed by various media sources for a really long time. There’s little doubt that Trump’s opponents will try to exploit this situation in a bid to show that the policies that they pursue have nothing in common with Trump’s approach.

However, you won’t find a political figure both the US and Europe that may be willing to recognize that the actions of the sitting US administration are in line with this the rigid immigration policies pursued by Western states on both sides of the Atlantic.

As it’s been noted by Bloomberg, Trump has already announced that his choice of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — matched those singled out by the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which was passed under President Barack Obama. So these countries were first formally singled out as potential threats under Obama, not Trump.

All in all, however, the US visa issuance statistics, is skewed slightly against Muslim nations. One can safely state that during the George W. Bush presidency, Muslim visitors were just about as stringently vetted as under the Obama administration. Europe’s passport-free Schengen area also shows a similar, anti-Muslim slant in its visa policy, but the refusal rates there are far lower than in the US. Based on 2014 data, the average Schengen visa rejection rate for a Muslim country was 14.5 percent, compared with about 9 percent for other countries.

At the same time, Le Figaro would claim that negative attitude towards Islam is growing both in the French and German societies. According to a survey of the Institute of Public Opinion IFOP, hostility towards Muslims can now be observed on both shores of the Rhine. After the bloody and tragic events of 2015, survey started showing a growing resentment towards this religion in France. If at the end of the 20th century a total of 33% didn’t object to the construction of mosques in France, now this number barely reaches 13%, even though the number of Muslims has grown considerably since the turn of the century. If earlier 31% of the French population objected to Muslim women wearing the veil in public, now this number has reached 63%.

In Germany this phenomenon doesn’t manifest itself in a similar way, but the moods are pretty similar nevertheless, especially after the events in Cologne on December 31. As it’s been noted by the IFOP’s Department of Public Opinion Head, Jerome Fourquet, while the approach towards migrant flows in the above mentioned states were different, the current similarities suggest that the whole Western society is facing pretty much the same challenge.

At the same time, according to the survey specialists from Ipsos, Western politicians are deliberately exaggerating the number of Muslims that are currently dwelling in Europe in a bid to manipulate the public opinion, since the actual number is at least four times lower that we are being told by European politicians. For instance, most Frenchmen believe that the percentage of Muslims residents in France reaches 31% out of the whole population, while in fact this number barely reaches 7,5%.

If we are to take a look at the UK, situation is even more explosive there. For instance, the former British Prime Minister has recently announced that many millions of Muslims are ‘fundamentally incompatible with the modern world.’ In turn, the Guardian notes that London has an unhealthy interest towards Islamic extremism, thereby presenting Muslims in the negative light most of the time.

Further still, a Dutch politician and the leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders has recently announced that in case his party secures a victory on the 2017 elections, he will personally pursue the closure of all mosques in the Netherlands and the ban on Islam, effectively closing the country for the entry of migrants from Muslim states.

So, the Execute Order that Donald Trump has just signed is yet another step towards the growth of Islamophobia in both the US and the EU, therefore, European politicians protesting this step, while they pursue similar practices at home, look like the hypocrites they are.

Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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