The Muslim Rights Belgium association (MRB) published its 3rd annual report on Islamophobia on Thursday. It mentions 696 reports of Islamophobic discrimination in French-speaking Belgium. Online complaints are especially frequent in the business world (183), followed by the world of education (141). In this last sector, there is mention of difficulty getting places at schools, and some teachers and prefects have been accused of dubious teaching practices.
Contrary to previous years, 17 physical or verbal aggressions were recorded. “In 2014, there is a very obvious shift from verbal to physical abuse which results in violent attitudes on the street: objects are thrown, people are hit or spat at, headscarves are repeatedly torn off, especially from female converts to Islam…,” notes Fouad Benyekhlef, who runs the association. “It is also clear that victims of acts of aggression trust the authorities and politicians less and less, from what they say, and that they do not bother filing formal complaints. Everyone must fight together to avoid a rift between different types of discrimination.” Only 16% of people polled launched a process to complain.
Almost ¾ of complaints (73%) were reported by women, and mostly by those wearing a headscarf. They represent 82% of the total number of victims of physical or verbal abuse and 71% of the victims of institutional, administrative, or public sector discrimination. 59% of people complaining about these Islamophobic acts are aged 18-29, of which 96% have Belgian citizenship.