In the framework of the 33rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council 

Panel Discussion: Muslims in Europe: the Road to Social Harmony 

Monday, 19th September 2016, from 12:00 to 14:00

Palais des Nations, Room XXII

In view of the increasing tension affecting the Islamic community in Western Europe, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, has commissioned Dr. Zidane Meriboute, a renowned Swiss-Algerian intellectual, to write a study entitled “Muslims in Europe: The road to social harmony”. This study, published by the Geneva Centre in September 2016, has been revised by H.E. Mr. Idriss Jazairy, Executive Director of the Geneva Centre, and includes a preface by H.E. Dr. Hanif Al Qassim, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Geneva Centre.

With the aim of presenting the book and opening the debate on this timely topic, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Algeria to the UN and other International Organizations in Switzerland, and with the support of the Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, organizes a panel discussion on the topic “Muslims in Europe: The Road to Social Harmony”.

The panel discussion, organized as a side event to the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, will take place on Monday, 19th September 2016, from 12:00 to 14:00, in Room XXII of the Palais des Nations.

Opening remarks will be delivered by H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Geneva Centre, H. E. Ambassador Mr. Boudjemaa Delmi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of  People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in Geneva, and H. E. Ambassador Abdul Wahab, Chairperson of the Independent Permanent Human  Rights Commission of the OIC.

The members of the panel are: Dr. Zidane Meriboute, Author of “Muslims in Europe: the Road to Social Harmony”; H. E. Ambassador Abdul Wahab, Chairperson of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC; Ms. Gloria Nwabuogu, Human Rights Officer at the Anti-Discrimination Section of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Dr. Fawzia Al Ashmawi, President of the Forum for European Muslim Woman. Ms. Bariza Khiari, member of the Senate of France, representing the city of Paris, and member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the Senate, has also sent a written statement on the topic, which will be made available to the participants.

The discussion will be moderated by H. E. Mr. Idriss Jazairy, Executive Director of the Geneva Centre.

This panel discussion comes after a series of debates organized by the Geneva Centre in 2016, on a number of topics related to the Islamic world and the West, including:

  • “Advancing the status of women in the Arab World” – an interactive discussion in the framework of the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council;
  • “Islamophobia and the Implementation of UN HRC Res. 16/18: Reaching out” – panel discussion organized in April 2016;
  • “The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council: Assessment and Way Forward”- panel discussion organized to mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council
  • “De-Radicalization or the Roll Back of Violent Extremism” – side-event organized in the framework of the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

The discussion will be an opportunity to discuss the status of the Muslim community in Western Europe, which currently reaches around 20 million. Muslims with various cultural backgrounds have been living alongside European citizens for centuries.  However, the Muslim community is currently facing increased systematic discrimination, harassment, and exclusion. To cite the French writer Edwy Plenel, “Exclusion language is nothing but the language of intolerance.”

The Muslim community is currently between hammer and anvil. On the one hand, the blind violence perpetrated by terrorist groups around the world targets just as much, if not more, Muslim communities, in their own home countries as well as in Europe. On the other hand, people in the West increasingly link terrorism to Muslims and to Islam, encouraged by populist extremist parties and Islamophobic ideas propagated by some media in the West.

This panel discussion will be the opportunity to discuss ways in which the Centre can contribute to restoring, in these times of tension, the path to social harmony for Muslims in Europe, based on the reaffirmation of citizenship combined with congenial diversity.

To download the flyer of the event in English, please click here; for the flyer in French, please click here; for the flyer in Arabic, please click here

To download the concept note of the event, please click here

To visit the Facebook page of the event, please follow this link:  http://bit.ly/2cguQll

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