United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said that bigotry and prejudice, especially in regard to Muslims, were common in Europe and called on governments to tackle the issue.
The report by investigator Doudou Diene of Senegal documented what he called an alarming rise in intolerance, and in particular Islamophobia, in European countries, and Arbour said, "I have no reason not to share his concerns."
Europeans "are shocked at times when it is pointed out that bigotry, prejudice and stereotyping is still sometimes very present in their attitude to others," she said.
Diene's work, she declared, highlighted "a challenge for Western countries that needs to be addressed."
Diene's report said Islamophobia and equating Islam with terrorism created a climate favoring racial and religious hate.
Diene pointed to the recent appearance of a cartoon in a provincial Swedish newspaper that governments of Islamic countries say offended their religion as an example of abuse of the right of free speech to sow suspicion of Muslims.
He also hit out at Switzerland over perceived anti-immigrant campaigning by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC).
European countries in the Council responded in low-key to his "Islamophobia" charges.
Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2007, 09:42