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US scolds Europe for Muslim discrimination

US scolds Europe for Muslim discrimination
Washington, NU Online
The discrimination Muslims  face all across Europe is alarmingly on the rise, the US said in a damning report on human rights, warning of a deteriorating rights situation worldwide, mainly due to raging conflicts.

"We see discrimination against Muslims, including hate crimes, in Europe," Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said Thursday, March 11, announcing the release of the annual report on human rights. />
The report, titled "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices", drew a grim picture of bias against Muslims in many countries across Europe in 2009.

It specifically highlighted the most recent case in Switzerland, where a constitutional amendment was passed to ban the construction of mosque minarets.

In Austria, the report said, there were excessive use of force by police and societal discrimination against Muslims, in addition to anti-Muslim tone in election campaigns.

It grilled Germany for a series of anti-Muslim trends, including preventing Muslim organizations from their right to represent their community, and court rulings against veiled Muslims working in schools.

US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Read)

"A debate continued in Lower Saxony's state parliament over police security checks in mosques," the report added.

It also slammed two key allies, France and Britain, for their human rights records with respect to their Muslim minorities.

The annual report underlined the banning of Muslim face-veils in public in France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, as one of the most blaring evidences.

"Members of the Arab Muslim community continued to experience acts of harassment, particularly against immigrants of North African origin."

The human rights report also cited anti‑Islamic attacks against persons and property in Britain.

"There were numerous incidents of violence against individuals and property, as well as a number of rallies and public gatherings with anti-Muslim messages."


The wide-ranging report asserted that other rights abuses remained widespread across the world.

"Often these violations relating to the integrity of the person are in countries where conflicts are occurring," said the report, which covers 194 countries.

It noted that 2009 was a year in which ethnic, racial and religious tensions triggered violent conflicts and serious human rights violations and fueled or exacerbated more than 30 wars or internal armed conflicts.

"There still are an alarming number of reports of torture, extrajudicial killings, and other violations of universal human rights."

The US report focused on Iran and China accusing them of cracking down on opponents and increasing restrictions on the inte and other forms of information.

It particularly criticized Beijing for continued crackdowns on the Muslim Uighur minority and Tibetans.

"The Chinese government's human rights records remain poor and worsening in some areas, including increased cultural and religious repression of ethnic minorities," said Posner, the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

He said they found that Iran's rights record "degenerated" during 2009, with repression of protesters who took to the streets following the controversial presidential polls.

"An already poor human rights situation rapidly deteriorated after the June elections.

"It is a place where we are continuing to see severe repression of dissent and are continuing to pay great attention," said Posner.

The annual report also cited other countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, for worsening human rights situations.

US Record?

The US, which has compiled human rights reports on other countries for the past 34 years, was quick to fend off criticism to its own rights record.

"We hold every government, including our own, to a single universal standard," Bosner said.

But the fact is that the US is not reviewed in the State Department's annual report on human rights abuses.

The Obama administration is facing criticism over failure to shut down the notorious Guantanamo detention in Cuba, drone attacks in Pakistan and Somalia and civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

"We’re leading in some ways with this report but, by all means, others should feel free to say what they want about us," said Bosner.

America's rights situation will come under scrutiny this fall at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

"We are also committed…in this year, to doing the first-ever universal periodic review report to the UN Human Rights Council," said Bosner. (iol/dar)

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