More than 200 people, fifteen expert voices and anti-racist activists from all over Spain participate today in the second edition of the Congress against Islamophobia of the Valencian Community, which is held under the motto “Understand, inform, act and esteem” at the Center of the Carme of Contemporary Culture of Valencia. Organized by Jovesólides and Casa Morocco, it is a forum designed to make Islamophobia visible as one of the main racist discriminations suffered by Muslim people in Spain and in the rest of the world.
During the inauguration, the co-director of the Congress Boutaina El Hadri called for “comprehensive solutions at a local and global level to eradicate this scourge that puts the stability of society as a whole at risk.” “The problem and the solution are interconnected,” she stated, “since what happens in Palestine has repercussions in Valencia, Paris, London or the United States and stopping it depends on each of us.” After showing her concern about the rise of extremist anti-Islamic political movements in European governments, El Hadri has stressed the fundamental importance of esteem as “the only way capable of rebuilding the intercultural bridges and coexistence that some insist on shoot down".
Alliances to understand, inform and act against Islamophobia
The first table of the Congress focused on the international situation, with a special look at the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Mousa Bourekba, CIDOB researcher; Alba Leiva, political scientist analyst for El Orden Mundial; and Mohamed El Mouden, professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Cádiz, have examined, under the moderation of Lourdes Mirón, president of Jovesólides, the state of Islamophobia in the world.
The Congress has also brought together the directors of the main Valencian media who, for the first time, have debated the role of journalism in combating xenophobic and Islamophobic hate speeches after learning that 60% of the articles related to Islam and Muslim communities in Spain reproduce generalizations, stereotypes and stigmatizing discourses, especially with women. Moderated by Gonzalo Fanjul, research director of the Por Causa Foundation, the director of Valencia Plaza, Javier Alfonso, participated in the colloquium; the content director of Cadena SER in the Valencian Community, Julián Giménez; the editor of ElDiario.es, Adolf Beltrán; the founder of Baynana Magazine, Okba Mohamed; and the society coordinator of À Punt Notícies, Pau Ivars.
The last table, which will be held this afternoon, hosts innovative experiences to stop Islamophobia at the local level, led by the anti-racist activist from Casa Morocco Fatine Sakri. The co-founder of the Asociación Sobre Los Márgenes, Fátima Bourhim, will explain how Islamophobia affects children's mental health and generates a hostile environment in classrooms. The influencer Río Paraíso will talk about how her activism on social networks helps to demolish myths and stigmas about the Muslim community among the younger population. For her part, the coordinator of the Jesuit Migrant Service, Amparo Navarro, will outline the work of the Interreligious Space in favor of intercultural coexistence. Finally, the manager of Jovesólides, Boutaina El Hadri, will explain how the fight against Islamophobia is a transversal aspect in all of her programs.
Attendees have also been able to enjoy a cultural and gastronomic experience with deep Andalusian roots.
An epidemic of hate according to the UN
Islamophobia is the type of racism that most affects the Muslim population throughout Europe and the hate crime that has grown the most across the continent in recent years. The genocide in Gaza and the outbreak of violence in Palestine has caused Islamophobic episodes to skyrocket around the world and made the phenomenon visible on a large scale for the first time.
The UN already speaks of an “epidemic of hate” against the Islamic community. In Spain, hate crimes have increased by 41% in the last five years. Despite this, in Spain Islamophobia is not yet classified as a hate crime.