Presentation of the report./ Photo: Casa Árabe
Eduardo González. 03/03/2018
The incidents related to Islamophobia in Spain have experienced a downward trend in recent years but, in compensation, hate speech through the Internet, especially in social networks, has skyrocketed to alarming levels, according to a report.
“Islamophobia in Spain registers a non-negative evolution year after year, but cyberspace is the mother of all storms and it is also of Islamophobia”, said the president of the Islamic Board, Isabel Romero, during the presentation of the Report about Islamophobia in Spain 2017 at the headquarters of Casa Árabe in Madrid.
According to the document, prepared by the Citizen Platform against Islamophobia (constituted by the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia, the Movement against Intolerance and the Islamic Board), in 2017 there were 546 Islamophobic incidents in Spain, of which 160 were they produced “on the street” and 375 on the Internet (269 on social networks and 96 on web pages).
With regard to incidents on the street, whose trend is downward, more than half were registered – one more year – in Catalonia, especially in the form of attacks on mosques or businesses linked to Muslims (with special virulence in the days after the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils) and through political campaigns against the opening of mosques.
“In Catalonia, some parties win votes with hate speech”, lamented Bárbara Ruiz, of the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia. “A nice novelty is that, every time there are demonstrations against mosques, counter-demonstrations are organized in favor of coexistence”, she added.
Catalonia was the community with the most incidents, especially after the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils
The main victims of these acts, according to the report, are Muslim women (including an attack on a pregnant woman in Malaga) due to the use of the handkerchief, the hijab. “Spain is not an intolerant country, but some people need to learn education and respect others”, said Esteban Ibarra, of the Movement against Intolerance.
The most alarming data are related to the rapid increase in the so-called cyber-hate. 70% of the cases included in the report consist of the proliferation of Islamophobic messages and bullocks on the Internet, especially on social networks and on electronic pages, in which, “Islam is dehumanized, alienated and defamed, Islam and the refugees”. “Propaganda precedes action and the damage done is not only to Muslims, but to society as a whole”, warned Aurora Ali of the Platform.
For all these reasons, the Platform claims in its report, among other measures, that an Organic Law of comprehensive protection against hate crimes and a general Law against all forms of discrimination and intolerance be approved. “These measures are urgent, political parties can not put themselves in profile”, Ibarra warned. “All the extreme right of Europe is united under the banner of Islamophobia and those who promote hatred know very well what they pursue”, fracture society, he added.