Press Release: Hate incident in Strasbourg Airport

 Strasbourg, Le 10 Mars 2015

At the same moment when we are celebrating International Women’s Day, we are also witnessing an ever stronger discrimination against women, for whom the conditions are not improving in reality.

In the current climate of Islamophobia that runs the risk of becoming institutionalised, Muslim women – and especially those whose religious affiliation is visible through their clothing choices – remain an easy target for denigration, insult and hate. Discussions on wearing the veil at university, on the emancipation of Muslim women who would by definition be seen as hostages to patriarchal traditions, on their ability to have a free will, place the women with a Muslim faith in a vulnerable position that combines daily with a double discrimination – as a woman and as a Muslim.

The officers who are tasked to maintain public order, the police, the security services, and those responsible for managing public places have a difficult but also critical role to perform in terms of respecting the fundamental rights of every citizen. The current, deleterious paranoia that transforms every Muslim into a potential threat to our security will only serve to reinforce the rifts that make social cohesion impossible. Under no circumstances is it conceivable to sacrifice, in the name of security, the major achievements in the field of respecting the beliefs of each individual and thus to deprive our society of essential elements of Human Rights. This is shameful and reminiscent of the darkest moments in the history of our continent.

On Tuesday 10 March 2015, at 4:30 p.m. at the security control of Entzheim Airport, Strasbourg before boarding the plane for Brussels, Ms Asiye BILGIN became victim of humiliating and discriminatory treatment because she was wearing a headscarf. The incident took place in front of many European parliamentarians and officials who did not consider this injustice as worthy of a protest. This demonstrates that the threats against our lifestyles, against our social model, against democracy and the rule of law, are thriving in the silence and complicity of those who are mandated to protect us.

The disrespectful behaviour of the authorities of Strasbourg Airport towards a political representative who intervened at the European Parliament in order to participate in a conference on Women’s Rights should be investigated in order to determine who was responsible and possibly lead to a public apology. No one is supposed to ignore the law; least so the holders of public authority before a particular incident of racial profiling taking place at the heart of political Europe.

This is why EMISCO – European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion, is determined to express its outrage and protest forcefully in the name of justice, equality and respect for fundamental freedoms of each and every one of our fellow citizens, so that Europe does not become a continent where hatred and racism go unpunished.