In this interview, Intissar Kherigi challenges the view that multiculturalism has failed in Europe.
The spokeswoman of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations calls for an end to the “fire-fight” with far-right political groups and outlines how she believes Islamophobia can be defeated.
Kherigi, speaking at the Council of Europe’s civil society forum, also calls for a “progressive narrative for Europe,” which recognises common values and interests and which is humane and inclusive.
At the meeting, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland described the maintenance of social cohesion as “probably the most important issue Europe is facing.”
He added: “Discrimination and intolerance has been increasing in Europe. With the current financial crisis this will only be reinforced. Minorities like Roma and Muslims are marginalised and stigmatised; anti-Semitism is on the rise; xenophobic parties have been gaining popularity in many European countries.
“European political leaders declare that multiculturalism has failed. The debate on integration and immigration has become increasingly polarised. There is a growing feeling that something has gone wrong – people are living next to each other in our societies, but not together. We see parallel societies emerging.
“If Europe is to remain a peaceful and prosperous place we must not only live with diversity, but we must benefit from it.”
Video: Interview with Intissar Kherigi
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Information: Conference of INGOs
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