Press Release

Muslims in the EU: High levels of trust despite pervasive discrimination

The vast majority of Muslims in the EU have a high sense of trust in democratic institutions despite experiencing widespread discrimination and harassment, a major survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The survey captures the experiences of Muslim immigrants and their EU-born children, revealing that public attitudes have changed all too little over the last decade.

“Our survey results make a mockery of the claim that Muslims aren’t integrated into our societies. On the contrary, we see a trust in democratic institutions that is higher than much of the general population,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “However, every incident of discrimination and hate crime hampers their inclusion and reduces their chances of finding employment. We risk alienating individuals and their communities, with potentially perilous consequences.”

"I am encouraged by the confidence of Europe's Muslim communities in our public institutions and rule of law, despite the individual challenges of discrimination which they attest to,” says European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “But I am disheartened by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency's report which shows that over the past five years almost one in three Muslims feel that they have been discriminated against when looking for work, but that only 12% of Muslims have reported the latest cases of discrimination. I want to assure our Muslim citizens that the European Commission will not tolerate intolerance. It goes against our values and our laws."

European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová says: "The Fundamental Rights Agency report shows that discrimination against Muslims is too widespread. I'm especially concerned about the challenges faced by Muslim women in Europe. It is now our duty both at European, national and local level to make sure that anti-discrimination measures are respected and that the Muslim community can trust the police".     

The Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II): Muslims – selected findings is the second large scale survey of Muslims carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency. As well as markers of integration such as a sense of belonging and trust in public institutions, the survey asked about experiences of discrimination, harassment, police stops, and rights awareness.

Key findings include:

  • 76% of Muslim respondents feel strongly attached to the country they live in;
  • 31% of those seeking work felt discriminated against over the last five years;
  • 42% of respondents who had been stopped by the police over the last year said this happened because of the migrant or ethnic minority background.

The report suggests a number of solutions, including:

  • Effective sanctions for violations of anti-discrimination legislation;
  • Reinforcement of trust in the police through targeted outreach activities;
  • Greater efforts to increase the participation of Muslims in decision-making processes.

For further information please see the press pack or contact: / Tel.: +43 1 580 30 642.

Notes to editors:

  • The survey of 10,527 people who identified themselves as Muslims was conducted in 15 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, & the UK.
  • Today’s report is part of a wider survey of 25,500 migrants and minorities in all 28 EU Member States. It builds on FRA’s first such survey, conducted in 2008.
  • FRA is the EU’s independent body for delivering fundamental rights assistance and expertise to the EU and its Member States.