'EU should condition any agreement with Serbia with fighting islamophobia'
BRUSSELS (EIP) --- A Muslim group has urged the European Union to condition any agreement aimed at deepening its relations with Serbia with practical measures against constantly increasing islamophobia in this country.
Ahead of an EU-Serbia summit meeting in Paris, France, the European Islamic Centre (EIC), a Brussels-based organization assisting more than 600 imams across Europe, stressed on Monday that in contrast to most European countries affected with various degrees of islamophobic incidents, “in Serbia these incidents have become a matter of routine.”
“Serbia is a country in which islamophobic declarations are voiced frequently, this assuming part of the national revival of a country that shamelessly makes Muslims a target of islamophobic affronts,” the EIC said.
The organization of imams called upon the leaders of the European Union, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who heads the EU Council, “to condition the partnership of Serbia with the EU with the eradication of islamophobia in this country and with taking immediate and practical measures to carry this out.”
The EIC added: “This ought to be included with the other conditions placed by the European Union for the inclusion of Serbia in the organization. It is unheard of that a country where islamophobia is almost official may be considered a partner to the Western block.”
At the EU-Serbia summit, the EU will be represented by President Sarkozy, European Commission president José-Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. The Ukrainian delegation will be led by President Boris Tadic.
The EIC also called upon the prerequisite of “illegitimating islamophobia as a permanent condition for the admission of any country to the EU.”
The group has ordered a report issued by the University of Cairo's Tariq Ramadan Institute for Studies 0f Islamophobia and Racism, covering the islamophobic incidents which occurred in Serbia throughout 2008.
Earlier this year, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg issued a report expressing concern about growing racially motivated attacks in Serbia and especially about attacks against imams and Muslim students, as well as the vandalism of synagogues, cemeteries and cultural centres.
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European Islamic Press 8 september 2008 – EU should condition any agreement with Serbia with fighting anti-Muslim sentiments