Islamophobia in Belgium

A Constructed but Effective Phantasm?

In: Journal of Muslims in Europe
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  • 1 CISMOC-IACCHOS, Université catholique de Louvain
  • | 2 CISMOC-IACCHOS, Université catholique de Louvain
  • | 3 Académie Royale de Belgique and CISMOC

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This article represents one part of a vast research project undertaken between 2013 and 2015 on the reciprocal views Muslims and non-Muslims in Belgium, and particularly in Brussels, have of one another, and the relationships they maintain. It is above all a question of understanding how reciprocal tensions and adjustments are constructed. The various treatments the topic of Islamophobia receives represent one of them. Hence this article tries to evaluate the attitudes on each side with respect to this societal phenomenal and this concept. In addition to year-long observations carried out in Brussels, it is based on three evenings during which ten privileged interlocutors discussed this topic in-depth. Carried out before the Brussels attacks of March 22nd, 2016, this study provides a better grasp of how anxieties, or even a spiral of reciprocal accusations, are able to develop, and questions the uses of the category Islamophobia and its counterproductive character.

  • 7

    Amnesty International, (2012), “Choix et préjugés : La discrimination à l’égard des musulmans en Europe” (cf. This report concerns Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. We only consider what concerns Belgium, aware that there have been no further publications of this sort by Amnesty in the last 4 years.

  • 14

    F. Bravo López, “Towards a definition of Islamophobia: approximations of the early twentieth century”, in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2011, vol. 34, n°4, pp. 556-573.

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  • 23

    F. Benyekhlef, “Le djihadisme, ce chancre de l’islam”, in La Libre, 27 Août 2013, pp. 46-47.

  • 26

    V. Yzerbit & G. Schadron, Connaître et juger autrui—Une introduction à la cognition sociale (Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 1996), p. 116.

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