This chapter discusses anti-Muslim discrimination in a legal sense and anti-Muslim discourse or agitation with the aim of discovering the roots for some of these actions. It illustrates a high level of discrimination against Muslim in Austria -in a rule-of-law-state with a rather comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and a historically relaxed relationship with the organised Muslim faith-. The chapter demonstrates how Muslim in Austria struggling and oscillating between acceptance and efforts of non-discrimination on the one side and rejection and even hostility on the other.
The chapter discusses discrimination against Muslims in Belgium. First it sketches the background of the situation of Muslims in Belgium, including demographics, structure of government, state-religion relations and the status of Islam. This is followed by an analysis of discrimination at the Legislative, Executive and Judicial levels. The latter is subdivided in 5 sections, respectively addressing education, employment, the exercise of religion, state relations with religious communities, and hate crime and hate speech.
As an officially recognized religion, Islam enjoys significant benefits, the most notable of which are state subventions and the teaching of Islam in public primary and secondary schools. Yet at the same time, Belgium has extensive restrictions on Muslim religious practice, in particular women’s religious dress, and un-stunned religious slaughter.
Finally, there is the fact that Belgium is among the worst performers in Europe when it comes to education and employment of persons with a migration background, the group to which most Muslims in Belgium belong. This is a matter of structural discrimination, in the sense of lack of equal opportunities, that affects Muslims on account of a multiplicity of factors including class, ethnicity and religion.
After decades of political denial, Germany has come to recognise the fact that its society has become culturally, linguistically, ethnically and religiously diverse. Policymakers have started to respond to these social changes, but what remains lacking is a positive, coherent vision of how to manage ethno-religious diversity within the country’s prevalent integration paradigm and human rights based constitutional setting. The assimilationist nature of Germany’s governance of ethno-religious diversity is particularly salient in its response to the presence and claims-making of Muslim communities.
German legislature has remained reluctant to address the manifold barriers Muslims face with regard to their educational opportunities, employment and, most significantly, the practice of their faith – despite the constitutional protection of “freedom of faith” and the “undisturbed practice of religion”. In addition, Muslim communities continue to face major roadblocks in their struggle for institutional recognition.
Political passivity in conjunction with assimilationist interventions and restrictive administrative practices have often led to a situation where it has been up to the judiciary to balance constitutional principles with and political limitations of Muslims’ practice of their faith. As a result, and given Germany’s strong federal structures, the current legal and administrative landscape is highly inconsistent and varies considerably across the country.
The chapter discusses the situation related to discrimination and antidiscrimination of Muslims in the country. An overview is given of national and international anti-discrimination provisions guiding laws, policies, judicial decisions and practices in the Netherlands to combat discrimination. Focus of attention are the fields of employment, education, exercise of religion, state relations with Muslim communities and hate crime and hate speech.
Consecutive Dutch governments have gradually developed a detailed system of legislation, policies and related infrastructure in this area over the past fifty years. Both the Constitution, criminal law and administrative law contain instruments for combating discrimination. Instruments for self-regulation by sectors of industry and trade associations have also been devised. However many factors make the implementation of antidiscrimination legislation a complex issue. Therefor policies are devised for fine tuning dimensions of antidiscrimination that cannot be regulated by legislation alone. Moreover, there are formal shortcomings and complications when it comes to implementing the law. The author recommends that antidiscrimination policies and the protection of human rights should not only be a subject of specific legislation and policies but they should have a more prominent role in all areas of government policies.