The annual report of US State Department on human rights has warned of increasing concern that discrimination against Muslims was on the rise in Europe.
The human rights report for 2009 cited Switzerland’s ban on the construction of minarets on mosques enacted in November, as well as continued bans or restrictions on head scarves and burqa worn by Muslims in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The report said: “Discrimination against Muslims in Europe has been an increasing concern.” Germany and the Netherlands have prohibitions against teachers wearing head scarves or burqa while on the job, and France bans the wearing of the religious garb in public, the report said.
The report particularly focused on problems in the Netherlands, where Muslims number about 850,000, saying that Muslims face societal resentment based on the belief that Islam is not compatible with Western values.
The report blamed right-wing politicians for playing a role in fuelling the resentment. It said: “Major incidents of violence against Muslims were rare, but minor incidents, including intimidation, brawls, vandalism, and graffiti with abusive language, were common.”