Rising antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe amid the recent hostilities in Israel-Palestine has prompted deep concern. Yet the response by EU governments has been partial and ineffective, in part because they lack adequate anti-discrimination data and protection strategies that address the daily lived experiences of discrimination faced by Jewish and Muslim people.
Leading EU member states such as France and Germany, in view of their size, history, and the large Muslim and Jewish populations they host, collect police-provided data on hate crimes, including antisemitic and anti-Muslim offences. However, such data relies on victims having the confidence or knowledge on where and how to report them. Consequently, many hate crimes go unreported. Additionally, authorities have to recognize and record such acts as antisemitic or anti-Muslim.
Good data on hate crimes helps inform governments of the need to protect victims faced with discrimination. Preventing hate crimes, however, requires a larger focus on the context in which these crimes are committed, as antisemitic and anti-Muslim offences don’t happen in a vacuum. Governments should put in place policies that prevent such heinous crimes and provide for better access to justice to protect Muslims and Jews.
Both the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025, designed to structurally tackle racism in the European Union, and the EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life call on EU states to collect disaggregated equality data based on race, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender, age, migration status, and other factors necessary to visualize lived experiences of victims of racism, including Muslims, and antisemitism. The data would help governments develop evidence-based equality and nondiscrimination policies and monitor their implementation.
Yet France and Germany do not collect equality data beyond data related to individuals’ migration backgrounds. While comprehensive surveys, monitoring, and reporting conducted by national institutes and regional rights bodies are much needed, they cannot substitute for the failure of governments to adopt robust strategies to tackle the harms experienced by Muslims and Jews, including the collection of equality data.