The avowed ideals of a free, open and tolerant Europe are under assault as never before, with a surge in police spot checks and house raids ushering in what some are calling a new era of racial profiling.
In France, the home of liberté, égalité, fraternité, Muslims are especially alarmed, warning of a new climate of fear in the wake of the November attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Suspicion is also deepening over foreign asylum seekers and terrorist threats in nations including Germany and Denmark, heightening police actions targeting minorities and racial profiling at nightclubs and public swimming pools.
Minority activists have denounced alleged racial profiling in Europe for years. But never, they say, has it been so frequent and obvious. Under an ongoing state of emergency in France, for instance, police now have broad powers to detain suspects and conduct raids without court orders. So far, authorities have staged 3,200 raids and put almost 400 people under house arrest.