Shada Islam

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A ‘no place for Nazis’ placard at a protest against the far right in Berlin, Germany, 5 May 2024. Photograph: Christian Mang/AFP/Getty Images

My inbox is inundated with messages telling me to use my vote in the European elections because if I don’t “others will decide for you”. My head agrees with the messages from EU politicians that I should do my bit for democracy. But for the first time, my heart isn’t in it.

As a European who is also brown and Muslim – and who has long wanted the EU “project” to work – I am terrified at the extent of power and influence wielded, inside and outside government, by politicians who are unashamedly racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic and whose vision of Europe – whatever they may say in public – is also inherently hostile to women, Jews and gay people.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Tierra de noche en Europa. Fotografía: Matthias Kulka / Getty Images.


La Unión Europea (UE) se enfrenta al difícil reto doble de ajustarse y adaptarse a un mundo multipolar más complejo e impredecible y de reconocer el fortalecimiento de la voz, el poder y la representatividad de los Estados africanos, asiáticos y latinoamericanos, denominados con frecuencia el sur global.


Los países en desarrollo representan una parte importante de la política y la actividad exterior, comercial y de desarrollo de la UE. Con el paso de los años, el bloque ha forjado una red impresionante de asociaciones con las potencias emergentes que no se limitan al comercio y la ayuda al desarrollo, sino que abarcan el cambio climático, la seguridad, el mundo cibernético, la conectividad y la migración.…  Seguir leyendo »

An anti-racism protest in Paris, France, 3 December 2023. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

Like others who track Europe-wide racism, in the early days of the Israel-Hamas war I started asking why the EU was not doing more to coordinate urgent action to stem hate crimes and hate speech against European Muslims and Jews. The response has been slow, selective and fragmented. Last month, the European Commission very rightly called out the “extraordinary levels” of antisemitic incidents across Europe.

Experience shows that since 9/11, Islamophobia has surged after every Islamist-inspired terror attack in Europe or elsewhere. After the latest horrific incident in Paris, EU leaders have a duty to try to unite European citizens, not exacerbate existing divisions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Riot police and migrants at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, June 2022. Photograph: Javier Bernardo/AP

European Union leaders want to reinforce their controversial “fortress Europe” policies by clamping down even harder on inward migration. This reveals a deep and self-defeating disconnect between the 27-nation bloc’s internal actions and its international aspirations.

The EU’s self-image is that of a benign power and a force for global good. European leaders spend a lot of time telling the world about the virtues of “European values”. There is even an EU commissioner whose sole task it is to promote the “European way of life”. Other countries are constantly taken to task, often through the imposition of sanctions, for their failure to align with international human rights standards.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Being a European Muslim has never been a walk in the park.’ Muslim worshippers in Rennes, France, April 2021. Photograph: Jean-François Monier/AFP/Getty Images

France has taken over the rotating EU presidency for the next six months, an opportunity the president, Emmanuel Macron, will no doubt use to nudge Europe towards his goal of greater “strategic autonomy” in the world. Some in Brussels worry that hotly contested presidential elections in April could interfere with France’s EU presidency before a key conference on the future of Europe delivers any results. It’s not reassuring that Macron’s decision, temporarily, to fly the blue and gold EU flag at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris has already drawn the fury of far-right and conservative election candidates.

But many European Muslims are concerned about the French stint in the EU chair for another reason: they fear that France’s divisive anti-Muslim political discourse will seep dangerously into EU policymaking.…  Seguir leyendo »

Emmanuel Macron during a 2019 visit to Ivory Coast, in which he said the mistakes of colonialism had been ‘grave’. Photograph: Luc Gnago/Reuters

Black Lives Matter protests last summer sparked an uncomfortable reckoning for many European nations with a legacy of slavery and colonialism.

Excavating this dark history via revised school curriculums and initiatives such as Black History Month is difficult. But it is badly needed, and not just to dispel the self-congratulatory and entirely false narratives about Europe’s “civilisational” past still being driven by nationalist and populist politicians.

The new conversation is urgently required if the EU is to salvage flagging efforts to launch a so-called partnership of equals with African nations. And it is needed, too, if European governments are to put relations with African European citizens on a sounder and more respectful footing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Özlem Türeci, one of the German scientists behind the Covid vaccine breakthrough, is the child of Turkish migrants. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Terror attacks in France and Austria have put Europe’s 25 million Muslims back in the spotlight. The unwanted attention is familiar. Discussing Muslims as a security risk invariably reaches fever pitch after an Islamist-inspired terrorist act. This time the attackers came from Chechnya, Tunisia and one had roots in North Macedonia. But never mind: anxiety over the Muslim “enemy within” goes deep.

Anxious debates on the place of Islam in Europe and claims that European Muslims are footsoldiers in an existential confrontation between Europe and Islam and represent an impossible-to-integrate “other” have dogged Muslims across the continent for decades.

There is a dangerous new shrillness to the conversation this time, however.…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugees and migrants flee fire at the Moria camp on Lesbos in September. Successive fires made 12,000 inhabitants homeless (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Fortress Europe is being redesigned – but it is no easy task. European Union home affairs ministers on Thursday began the process of repairing the bloc’s broken migration policy, just weeks after the tragic devastation of the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos. Expect no quick changes, however. The 27 countries are deeply divided over proposals for a new “pact” on asylum and migration.

The European commission’s plan calls for faster pre-entry screening and quick returns of those who fail to quality for asylum. The focus is on ending sometimes deliberately slow, inhumane and inefficient border management procedures, which lead to squalid, overcrowded camps such as Moria, where people can be left in limbo for years.…  Seguir leyendo »

With Trump’s US missing in action from the global stage, the European Union should be stepping into the vacuum. Germany, which has just taken over the bloc’s rotating presidency, could use the next six months to provide the leadership to boost Europe’s global impact. But is it ready to shake off its traditional reticence?

Immediate economic challenges will dominate EU leaders’ first in-person encounter since the lockdown, on 17 and 18 July. And Berlin is right to prioritise agreement on the EU’s new seven-year budget and a pandemic recovery plan, a task complicated by internal rifts and new forecasts warning of an even deeper recession than expected across the 27-nation bloc.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday. Photograph: Action Press/Rex/Shutterstock

Black Lives Matter protests across Europe are exposing the continent’s dismal record of race-based violence, discrimination and harassment. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, have acknowledged their countries’ struggle with systemic racism. But European Union institutions admit no such failing or promise any change. EU condemnations of George Floyd’s brutal killing have been stilted, confused and confusing – including complacent claims that it could never happen in Europe.

“Allow me to repeat that all lives matter, black lives also matter”, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief said, but only several days after indignant minority ethnic Europeans were protesting in the streets warning that “in Europe, we also can’t breathe”.…  Seguir leyendo »