EU sees wide discrimination against Muslims

Madrid, Spain - Muslims still face substantial discrimination in Europe, especially at work, and many fail to report racist incidents because of a lack of trust in authorities, a European Union human rights agency said Thursday.

In a survey of Muslims in 14 EU member states, the Agency for Fundamental Rights said one in three Muslims had faced discrimination, and 11 percent of those questioned said they had experienced a racially motivated crime.

The highest level of discrimination against Muslims occurred in the workplace, the agency said.

"Employment is a key part of the integration process. It is central to the contributions that migrants make to society, and to making such contributions visible. Discrimination may hamper the integration process," agency director Morten Kjaerum said in a statement.

The agency urged EU governments to tackle discrimination by making people aware of how to file complaints about discrimination and racism.

The report was part of the first-ever EU-wide survey on the experiences of immigrants and ethnic minorities, which reported last month that more than half of those groups believe discrimination is widespread where they live in Europe. Gypsies and Africans reported the most abuse.

Thursday's survey suggests similarly high levels of discrimination against Muslims.

In line with other minority groups, 79 percent of Muslims responding to the survey said they do not report discriminatory incidents and cases of racist crime to any authority, the agency said.

Young Muslims in particular have little faith in the police as a public institution. The survey said people without citizenship and new arrivals in a country were even less likely to report discrimination.

It said 59 percent of Muslim respondents believe "nothing would happen or change by reporting" and 38 percent said "it happens all the time" and therefore they do not make an effort to report incidents.

"Truly accessible mechanisms are needed, where victims of racism can report in confidence," said Kjaerum.