Today, 15th March 2022, marks the second International Day to Combat Islamophobia, as designated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 2020.

The resolution introducing the day emphasised the centrality of the ‘extremism’ discourse to Islamophobia, stating that it ‘Firmly reject[ed] all presumptions of guilt or attributions of potential crimes, extremism and terrorism to ordinary Muslims, who sincerely adhere to, express and follow the basic requirements of Islamic tenets and teachings’.

CAGE has long argued, it is this framework of Muslim extremism and/or terrorism, institutionalised through an ever-expanding litany of laws and policies, that has created an enabling environment for other forms of Islamophobic discrimination and violence.

Over the course of the War on Terror, these laws have formed a cultural commonsense around Muslims’ supposed disposition towards violence – which in turn generates a cycle of isolation, pathologisation and securitisation of Muslims.

This is an Islamophobic project in which governments across the world are complicit, alongside multilateral forums like the UN and EU, private industry as well as the media and Big Tech.

Nowhere is this more evident than in present-day France, where an unprecedented crackdown in the name combatting “Islamist separatism” and ‘preserving secularism’ have reached the threshold of Persecution under international law.

In our recent report “We are beginning to spread Terror”: The state-sponsored persecution of Muslims in France we document the use of the so-called ‘Systematic Obstruction’ policy by the government of Emmanuel Macron, and the expansion of a state-wide surveillance apparatus explicitly targeting Muslim communities.
Under the policy, hundreds of Muslim-led establishments, such as mosques and Muslim schools, have been in closed, tens of thousands have been investigated and millions of Euros have been seized.

The approach of the French government has been designed as a calculated provocation to humiliate and isolate its Muslim residents and citizens, and operates against a mood music of widespread Islamophobic hysteria in the country – whereby any and all outward expressions of Islam are politicised, and Muslims are treated as a foreign body within the population.

On this International Day to Combat Islamophobia, we must reaffirm our efforts to challenge those policies which provide the scaffolding of Islamophobia, both by campaigning against policies introduced at home, and against attempts by our government to export them internationally.

Image courtesy of Flickr/Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)