The European Commission today holds a Colloquium on “combating anti-semitism and anti-Muslim hatred”, following a Eurobarometer Survey according which 50% of respondents expressed the view that discrimination based on religion or beliefs is widespread (up from 39% in 2012), while 33% said that expressing a religious belief can be a disadvantage when applying for a job (up from 23% in 2012).
The choice of the theme for today’s colloquium indicates that the Commission appears to think that Jews and Muslims are the only religious believers that could be the victims of discrimination. The possibility that Christians might also be suffering discrimination (for example at the hands of an increasingly aggressive juste milieu that describes itself as liberal) is a priori excluded from the discussion.
Instead, Vice-President Frans Timmermans’ primary concern seems to be that Islam might not be quite as welcome in Europe as he thinks it should be. According to media reports, his intervention in today’s Colloquium mainly consisted in the assertion that “Islam is not a danger”.
He sure must know. Neither the bomb attacks in Madrid and London, nor the Charlie Hebdo murders, nor the attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels, nor the recent attack on a Thalys train, nor any other such incident give rise to the suspicion that there is such a thing as militant Islam, and that this militant Islam could be dangerous. Or do they?
And certainly the non-Muslim Timmermans has made a careful exegesis of the Holy Qu’ran, which has led him to conclude that whatever those Muslims have been reading in the Qu’ran is in fact not contained in there. Very good, so we all can be reassured. It is a relief to know that the Commission’s Vice-President in charge of interior security is on alert…
Timmermans also called for new criminal sanctions against those who criticise Islam (would that also apply to caricatures such as in Charlie Hebdo?), and said that Muslim women must have the right to wear a veil in public (very fine – but did he discuss that with his French homologue?).
P.S.: The fact that increasing numbers of “children brides” are now arriving in the Netherlands is also of no concern for the former Dutch foreign minister….