Islamophobia, as a form of intolerance and discrimination motivated by fear, distrust and hatred, often manifests itself along with racism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments and religious intolerance. It creates an abstract and imaginary enemy of millions of Muslims all over the world.
Islamophobic rhetoric, at the least, associates Muslims with terrorism and portrays them as international and domestic threats. It reinforces negative stereotypes about Muslims as a monolithic group whose culture is fundamentally incompatible with human rights and democracy.
At the most, it bears violence: between the years of 2000-2014, 484 acts of Islamophobic aggression of various forms have been documented in Western Europe alone, exponentially increasing after 2009. In 95 instances, the aggression amounted to arson.
This trend is testament to a more serious problem that should concern not just Muslims, but the adherents of all faiths and religions. The alarming increase in the number of acts that defame religions and their followers, has now serious implications for international peace and security.
A successful fight against all forms and manifestations of discrimination and intolerance requires concerted efforts of the international community as a whole. The Parliamentary Assembly should unequivocally condemn the rise of the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe and formulate recommendations for policy and law-makers, as well as actors of civil society and youth movements.