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Istanbul Hosts International Islamophobia Conference

ISTANBUL – An international three-day conference on Islamophobia started in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 6 to discuss strategies and policies for combatting prejudice against Muslims.

“We need to have a way of thinking around how we understand the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” said Salman Sayyid of the University of Leeds, co-editor of the book Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives, World Bulletin reported Saturday.

“For a long time, people thought Islamophobia only meant mistreatment of Muslim minorities. Therefore, if you aren’t a Muslim minority, you didn’t really care that much. It didn’t affect anything,” Sayyid explains.

He continued: “But, what we’re seeing in Europe, North America, and throughout the world now is Islamophobia becoming a mean of changing the relationship between citizens and their governments.”

The conference is hosted by the Center for Islam and Global Affairs at Istanbul’s Sabahattin Zaim University under the theme “Contextualizing Islamophobia: Its Impact on Culture and Global Politics.”

This international event is intended to spur a discussion of “strategies and policies that need to be adopted and pursued to end or reduce the harmful and detrimental effects of Islamophobia.

The Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) revealed in its April report that the European Islamophobia Report (EIR) recorded 908 crimes, ranging from verbal and physical attacks to murder attempts, targeting Muslims in Germany.

Similar shocking records were found across Europe, as 664 crimes were recorded in Poland, 364 in the Netherlands, 256 in Austria, 121 in France, 56 in Denmark, and 36 in Belgium.