The EU needs to do more to connect with Muslim communities, S&D Special Representative for Muslim Communities, Afzal Khan MEP, said while hosting an EU conference celebrating Muslim success stories.

The conference, Muslims In Europe-Untold Success Stories, bought together MEPs, government representatives, EU policymakers and community representatives to examine how the EU interacts with Muslim communities.
One of the main conclusions of the conference was that the EU needs to do more to encourage young Muslims and other minority groups to engage with European politics and work in the EU institutions.
Another key finding was that more must be done to celebrate the achievements of Muslims and to counter the narrative of Muslims as Europe’s ‘outsiders’.
Speaking about the conference, host Afzal Khan MEP, said:

“I am often struck by the real lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims among colleagues in Brussels and also in the UK. This partly stems from a lack of Muslims and other people from minority backgrounds working in politics both in the UK and in Brussels. We need to find ways to encourage more to apply for positions and reach out to groups who are underrepresented.

“The event today was designed to provide a counter-narrative to the growing environment of mistrust and bigotry towards Europe’s 25 million Muslims. We have so many events in the Parliament focused on Islamic terrorism or radicalisation, we wanted to highlight how Muslim individuals and communities are contributing to Europe and making it a better place to live.

“The narrative of Muslims as outsiders is not only incorrect. It plays into the hands of extremist groups. As the Daesh narrative grows, so does the far right in Europe, each using fear to advance their own agendas.

“The 25 million Muslims in Europe bring to this continent a rich heritage of civic responsibility, justice, generosity, family life, and faith in God. I hope that today’s event by presenting just a handful of the millions of successful Muslims: doctors and entrepreneurs, artists and activists, will help give a more positive image of Muslims in Europe. They deserve the media attention that is so often reserved only for the fundamentalists.”