Dutch Muslims experience more discrimination than elsewhere in EU

Woman wearing a burka (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Paolo Bottazzi)Woman wearing a burka (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Paolo Bottazzi)

Dutch Muslims experience more discrimination than Muslims in other European Union countries, according to a study among 10 thousand Muslims by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights. Of the 15 investigated EU Member States, only Muslims in Greece experience more discrimination than those in the Netherlands, NOS reports.

In the Netherlands 42 percent of Muslims experience discrimination because of their origin, compared to 27 percent in other surveyed countries. And 30 percent feel discriminated against because of their religion, compared to 17 percent in the other countries. The researchers also looked at ethnic profiling by the police. Dutch Muslims experience that twice as often as Muslims in the other countries.

According to the study, origin and religion are the two main reasons for discrimination against Muslims. For example, Muslims find it difficult to find a home because of their Arab-sounding names, or employers refuse to give them off for religious holidays. Muslims feel it's harder for them to find homes and work, to get medical care and access to 'other social services', such as to cafes and nightclubs, according to the study. 

Researcher Friso Roscam Abbing can't give an explanation for the Netherlands' low position. Though he thinks a small part may be that Dutch Muslims are more willing to express their concerns to the researchers.

One of the main dangers of discrimination, is that Muslims' trust in society and the rule of law decreases. "Currently that trust is still high, in that sense the study is positive", Roscam Abbing said, according to NOS. "But if people are systematically victims of discrimination, trust breaks down. There is no direct link between discrimination and extremism, but the feeling of being excluded makes you more susceptible to alternative ideas, including extremism."

For the Netherlands, Roscam Abbing has a few recommendations. He believes that more attention must be paid to citizenship education and calls for the Dutch police to do a "critical self-examination". He also recommends a system whereby people can apply for a job anonymously. "It's unacceptable that you are not invited to apply for a job or to view a home because you are called Al-Hawadi and not De Vries That's really crazy", he said, according to the broadcaster.