Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) called the European Union (EU) institutions to recognise Islamophobia as a specific form of racism.
The call came after on 12 March the European Parliament hosted a debate on strengthening the fight against hate crime, racism and xenophobia in Europe. During the debate, the EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that racism, xenophobia and hate crimes, as well as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia anti-gypsyism, were all manifestations "incompatible with European rules" and with "the basis on which Europe is founded". However, the European Parliament did not include the term "Islamophobia" in the adopted text of its resolution and referred only to "religious intolerance"
The plea also comes with the release of ENAR's shadow report 2011/2012 on racism in Europe which the EU-wide network of NGOs presented on 20 March. The key findings of the report highlight, in particular, the experiences of Muslim communities, while the study is claimed to be the first pan-European qualitative survey of Islamophobia.