European Commission urged to investigate France over treatment of Muslims

France is the old colonial power in Burkina Faso. Editorial credit: Alexandros Michailidis /

A global coalition of 25 civil society organisations and NGOs from 11 countries have submitted a letter to the President of the European Commission urging immediate action against France for its “state-sponsored Islamophobia,” and for imposing the “discriminatory and human rights-violating Imam’s Charter.” 

The complaint says that France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit freedom of belief and punish the manifestation of religion.

It also says that President Macron’s Imam’s Charter violates the religious, political and civil rights of France’s Muslim citizens because it infers that any politically active Muslim is a possible danger to society, thereby censoring the natural concerns of Muslims living in a globalised world.

Over the past few months France has closed down the nation’s biggest anti-Islamophobia organisation as well as the country’s biggest Muslim charity. Paris has done this, it says, to fight extremism after a number of deadly “Islamist” attacks on its soil.

A few months ago state-approved French Muslim leaders signed a charter denouncing accusations of racism against France, and pledged to recognise “equality between men and women” and to combat “political Islam.”

The text, demanded by Macron as part of his offensive against “separatism,” also affirmed the compatibility of Islam with secularism.

The complaint letter to Ursula von der Leyen says: “Governmental leaders and politicians negatively and strongly influence public opinion. In France, this trend has led to Muslim communities becoming  targets of increased hostility, more Islamophobia and increasing violence. It is thus imperative that you take a leading role as the European Commission  President, to intervene in France’s laws that target Muslims. This can no longer be delayed.

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“We are reaching out to you because there is no real or effective remedy within the French legal system to stop the continuation of structural and systemic Islamophobia by the French government within the meanings established by European case law. The exhaustion of national remedies will not bring effective relief for Muslims in France.

Ursula von der Leyen Pic courtesy of European Commission Photographer: Etienne Ansotte

“Also, because of the nature of our complaint, which is broad and based on the widespread failure to implement EU legislation and in particular human rights related to religious integrity and the freedom to  express political beliefs, national remedies are not only not effective, but they  are also inadequate.”

The complaint adds that:

  • France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit freedom of belief and punish the manifestation of religion.
  • President Macron’s plan “against separatism”, solely focuses on political, ideological, theological and financial control of Muslim communities.
  • Macron has targeted normative Muslim expressions declaring them “problematic practices.” For example in companies, a “women wearing hijab while in contact with the public.”
  • A total of 51 charities are currently being “investigated” with a view to dissolving them. There has been an onslaught on Islamic institutions in France, with 73 schools, madrassas, and Muslim-owned businesses shut down in 2020 alone.
  • The censoring of free speech as enforced and imposed on the Muslim community in article 6 of the Imam’s Charter is unheard of in modern European law.


  1. Le CRAN Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France (France)
  2. CALAM (France)
  3. LALLAB (France)
  4. Collectif contre l’islamophobie aux Pays-Bas (Netherlands)
  5. Comité 21 mars (Netherlands)
  6. EMCEMO Euro-Mediterraan Centrum Migratie & Ontwikkeling (Netherlands)
  7. IZI solutions (Netherlands)
  8. MELD ISLAMOFOBIE (Netherlands)
  9. Stichting Centrum de Middenweg (Netherlands);
  10. Muslim Rights Watch (Netherlands)
  11. The Islamic Central Council Switzerland (IZRS)
  12. Dokustelle (AUSTRIA)
  13. AMDEH Asociacion Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos (SPAIN)
  14. SAFI Stop Als Fenòmens Islamòfobs (SPAIN);
  15. European Network on Religion and Belief (ENORB) (BELGIUM)
  16. CAGE (UK)
  17. MEND (UK)
  18. MPAC (UK)
  19. The Muslim Vibe (UK)
  20. DOAM (UK)
  21. James CARR University of Limerick (Ireland)
  22. Islamophobia Studies Center (USA)
  23. ICV Islamic Council of Victoria (Australia)
  24. The Yaqeen Institute (USA)
  25. Khadija Leadership Network (New Zealand)

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