chapter  2
14 Pages

Discrimination and Claims for Equal Rights Amongst Muslims in Europe

Few would question the existence of negative perceptions and representations of Muslims in Europe, although these feelings are expressed and translated very differently from country to country (Alien and Nielsen, 2002). Indeed, studies of the post 9/11 context have shown that anti-Muslim feeling and hostility - sometimes called 'Islamophobia'- is growing all over Europe. 1 Media coverage of the attacks on the USA has been incriminated in the increasing distrust and suspicion experienced by Muslim populations. However, this negative perception of Islam in European public opinion has also opened up new opportunities for Muslims to express their own requirements and interests. Individually and collectively, experiences of discrimination and unequal treatment have been publicly denounced by Muslims and, in a few cases, even taken to the courts. This chapter is an attempt to elaborate on such matters and especially a double dynamic of 'juridicization' 2 and 'judicialization' 3 which appears to be emerging. This dialectic designates a general tendency to work towards the resolution of issues that are a source of political conflict through the legal system. My argmnent, regarding a growing recourse to legal argmnentation, concerns both state policies as well as the initiatives of Muslim citizens.4