The theme of the 3rd European Conference on Democracy and Human Rights is freedom of expression. Many of the issues discussed in the conference directly affect Muslims living in Europe. A meeting on 6 May 2022 will unpack those themes specifically in the context of Muslim communities. Hosted by the University of Agder, the meeting will entail both understanding the problems Muslims face and sharing approaches to addressing those, thereby promoting lesson learning and wider implementation of effective interventions.
Key issues to be discussed in the event on 6 May include the impact of action plans already in place in Norway to combat discrimination and hatred towards Muslims; hate speech and online hate speech targeting Muslims; approaches to tackle discrimination and hate, notably the Nordic Safe Cities initiative; and challenges/interventions in a range of European countries. Panel discussions will support exchange of ideas and development of solutions.
An important feature of the 6 May gathering is that it allows Muslim leaders and activists to speak directly about their experiences, and to be actively involved in the search to identify solutions. This promotes not only ownership and sustainability of future activities, but also effectiveness – since approaches come from those ‘on the frontline’ of European Islamophobia. As such, they are in the best position to identify what will work and what won’t.
Participants for the 6 May event have been drawn from a large number of European countries: Norway and other Nordic countries, and further afield – France, Germany, Ireland and others.
It is hoped that the 6 May event will prove a catalyst for further such events and exchange of ideas across Europe, and for interventions to combat Islamophobia. Launch of MEET at the event will greatly support this process.