Dar Al-Ifta’s Islamophobia observatory denounced the running over of a Muslim woman during an anti-Islam rally in the Sint-Jans-Molenbeek municipality of Brussels on Tuesday.
The attackers, who according to news reports have been identified as local residents of the area named Redouane B. and Mohamed B., escaped after running the woman over while driving a car at high speed.
Footage of the incident was made public afterwards, showing a white vehicle driving through a road block and into the veiled woman.
“This radical crime carries the same atrociousness of terrorist crimes committed by ‘Islamic State’ and Al-Qaeda in different parts of the world. This affords a climate for the radical speech against Muslims adopted by the right-wing extremist parties in Europe,” the statement read.
“These parties are hostile to all that is foreign and claim to be a protector of the culture of Europe and its Christian character, promoting scarecrow theories such as the ‘Islamisation of Europe’ … to generate panic and fear of Muslims,” the observatory continued.
The observatory was formed by Dar Al-Ifta, the foremost authority for issuing religious edicts (fatwas), in 2014 to counter anti-Islamic discourse and to attempt to dispel misconceptions around interpretations of Islam, both among the Muslim community and outside of it.
The statement said such crimes reveal the presence of extremist organisations that incite violence against Muslims, and “promote these actions as heroic acts“, which “was apparent upon the arrest of the young perpetrator of this crime”.
Though there has yet to be any evidence reported on the two suspects belonging to any right-wing groups, anti-Islamic sentiment has been on the rise in Europe, fuelled by the recent attacks carried out by “Islamic State” affiliates, such as the 22 March attacks in Belgium and the 13 November attacks in Paris, France.
The observatory called on European governments and institutions to address and criminalise all discriminatory rhetoric against Muslims in Europe. It further called for the consolidation of European values of religious, cultural, and ethnic pluralism, and to “protect these principles from extremists’ attacks”.
The observatory’s role also includes suggesting all possible methods for countering the widespread phenomena, minimising its effect on Muslims abroad, and correcting false concepts about Islam.