EU "considering a ban on Islamophobia" after Paris attacks
After the Charlie Hebdo and related attacks, the European Union is being presented with proposals to ban Islamophobia, so as to stem a perceived backlash against Muslims. Eurocrats are sympathetic but do not believe they are practicable
Diplomatic and NGO sources in Brussels say that the European Union is now considering proposals from Muslim groups to strengthen laws against "hate speech" following the fatal attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish Supermarket.
The proposals are based on fears that the attacks by Islamists could provoke a backlash against Europe's growing Muslim community, leaders of which uniformly condemned the killings, while simultaneously protesting against denigration of Muhammed.
Mainstream Muslim leaders have close contacts with the European Union and its related institutions, as do the leaders of other faith groups.
The sources, consulted in the last two days, who insisted upon anonymity, said that senior EU officials were sympathetic to calls for libel and hate-speech laws to be strengthened, but were sceptical of getting support from member governments or from the European Parliament where Right-leaning parties increased their presence at last year's European elections.
One well-informed member of a non-governmental orgainsation in Brussels said:
"The conversation is going on. In fact, it's the only game in town after Paris. But you aren't going to get anyone to go on the record right now. Everyone's too scared, and I don't mean scared of the Islamists, I mean scared of being accused of being politically correct, even if they are. "
"The Jewish groups are terrrified, but let's face it, how many Jews are there in Europe against the number of Muslims? But, yes, they are considering a ban on Islamophobia".
Opinion polls show that the majority of European Union Muslims want Sharia law for their communities, but do not believe that that should extend to the non-Muslim majority. However, they do believe that insulting the Muslim Prophet should be against the law.
In 2003, the EU suppressed a report on anti-Semitism in Europe which concluded that attacks on Jews were mainly perpetrated by young Muslims.
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