In this edition of Brussels, my love?, we ask if the Israel-Hamas war is turning European societies into breeding grounds for antisemitism and Islamophobia.

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With EU officials and MEPs out of town this week, we decided to put the spotlight on associations and influencers representing racialised communities and minority groups in Europe and discuss the impact the Israel-Hamas war is having on their circles.

We were joined by Soundous Boualam, Chief Impact Officer at Brussels Global Review, Kim Smouter, Director General at the European Network Against Racism and Teona Lavrelashvili, Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre think tank.

Panelists insisted that there was a lack of political will for real change in the area of equality in Europe.

“I’m an EU lover, pro-European, all of that. But the reality is that the EU has not been taking anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia seriously,” said Soundous Boualam.

Kim Smouter recalled that the EU has had a number of anti-discrimination legislation covering Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and Afro-phobia for two decades but that they are not working. 

“We see still communities that are feeling unsafe,” said Kim. These, he added, also feel that governments have at times been “taking actions to prevent a freedom of expression of minority groups.”

Discussions also looked at a recent report from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency that noted racism is “relentless” in Europe and on the rise. Data shows that when searching for jobs or housing, people of African descent are experiencing high levels of discrimination, especially in countries like Finland, Austria and Germany, where extreme right-wing parties promoting hatred against minorities are popular. Panelists worry about further discrimination and segregation.

Beyond the news cycle, Brussels, my Love? marked one year since its first appearance on air so in this episode, we say a big thank you to all the faces behind the camera and all our viewers around Europe and the world.

Watch Brussels, my love? on the player above.

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