Discrimination Against Muslims in Europe is Focus of 2013-2014 Thorp Lecture

The Thorp lecture by Professor Pamela Irving Jackson, winner of the 2013-2014 Mary Tucker Thorp Award, was based on her recent book “Benchmarking Muslim Well-Being in Europe: Reducing Disparities and Polarizations,” which she coauthored with Peter Doerschler, assistant professor of political science at Bloomsburg University.

As director of RIC’s justice studies program and professor of sociology, Jackson knows that a case in court is won on the strength of the evidence. Her book draws evidence from numerous sources and contains more than 40 pages of tables and graphs on anti-Muslim biases in European states.

Jackson said that she and Doerschler took on this project because “data are key in enabling policy makers to convince the electorate that change is needed.”

Their investigation centered on four European states: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom because of their sizeable Muslim populations and because, she said, “these are the states that drive policy making in the European Union.” 

Using charts and graphs, Jackson compared Muslims to non-Muslims and examined the groups widely assumed to be the most vulnerable to dissatisfaction and extremism: 1) highly religious Muslims, 2) those born outside the country, 3) noncitizens and 4) young men. “In France,” she said, “the police have a policy of stopping young men of color to check their identity, though their identity papers are almost always valid. This issue has gone on to human rights courts beyond France.”

“Central to this hostility toward Muslims is the assumption that Muslims do not accept the authority of the European states,” she said. “Many Europeans argue that Muslims don’t integrate. But when you discriminate against a group, it leads to isolation, and if you isolate people, they don’t integrate.”

Jackson wants governments to do more to protect minorities. She hopes that the many statistics she and Doerschler compiled will assist human rights organizations in encouraging governments to change their policies. 

Jackson was selected for the Mary Tucker Thorp Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship and collegial service. For more information on her book, go to www.migration-boell.de/web/integration/47_3078.asp.