“Report Islamophobia”, an independent Dutch citizen initiative established in January 2015, released its first half-yearly report on islamophobic violence in the Netherlands today. The report presents findings collected between January – June 2015. The findings mirror research conducted elsewhere in Western Europe that reveals that Muslim women bear the brunt of islamophobic abuse.
From January to June, Report Islamophobia registered 89 reports of verbal and physical abuse, including slurs, beatings, and an attempted kidnapping. 90% of the victims were female and the majority wore the hijab when attacked. In the vast majority of cases the attacker was a white male. In one third of all cases physical violence was used against the victim.
In most cases, victims did not report to the police due to lack of confidence that something would be done with their report or out of fear of reprisals. In some cases, the police tried to dissuade victims of verbal and physical abuse from submitting a formal police report. Only 39% of the victims subjected to physical assault reached out to the police to file a report.
The report also reveals that most islamophobic incidents in the Netherlands took place in broad daylight in public spaces (87%): on the street, in supermarkets, at gas stations and on public transportation. Witnesses are frequently present (in 71% of cases). However, in 80% of the attacks no one intervened. The victim was usually alone (67%). In 11 cases, the victim was accompanied by minors.
Report Islamophobia was established by a group of Muslim researchers and professionals when they noticed a spike in islamophobic abuse after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. They primarily used their Facebook profile to gather and verify reports and to create a solidarity and mutual support network. Islamophobic incidents have not previously been registered systematically in the Netherlands.
Since the more recent attacks in Paris on November 15th, the initiative is observing another spike in islamophobic violence. They received 22 reports of abuse since the attacks, and new incidents continue to be reported daily.