ECCAR Working Definition for Anti-Muslim Racism

Anti-Muslim racism is a structural problem and ideology that threatens peaceful coexistence in democratic societies. ECCAR members aim to improve inclusion and social cohesion in cities, but local contexts like funding, department structure, workforce, and Muslim community demographics can limit their efforts. Despite challenges, ECCAR cities are implementing good practices in media, political discourse, equal treatment, leisure time, healthcare, private sector, labor market, law enforcement, and intergroup relations.

As part of the publication project "Local Actions against Anti-Muslim Racism. Policy recommendations for City Administrations and Their Partners," (p. 20) ECCAR authored a working definition to aid member cities in addressing anti-Muslim racism. This definition is not binding but aims to facilitate cooperation between ECCAR, member cities, and partners.

Anti-Muslim racism includes discrimination, hatred, and exclusion faced by Muslims and individuals perceived as Muslims due to their (perceived) religious identity. It is an ideology that permeates all social classes and operates from street-level to the highest level of official institutions. It considers Muslims as fundamentally different from non-Muslims and hence not legitimate receivers of equal treatment. Anti-Muslim racism is intersectional, so that victims can experience it in combination with other forms of discrimination concerning gender, religious identity, ethnicity or skin colour, and social class. Hence, the experiences of anti-Muslim racism by Muslim women of colour can differ from that of a white Muslim male. Anti-Muslim racism can manifest itself explicitly or in a hidden manner differently through conduct, gesture, verbal communication, structural discrimination, or physical violence. Since anti-Muslim racism works similarly to other forms of racism, it is essentially used to exclude Muslims from the same benefits and rights of citizenship as non-Muslims by otherising them to the extent that their fundamental rights can be violated. Anti-Muslim racism fuels hatred amongst citizen groups and endangers social cohesion and the basic principles of democracy.