Burkinis, Slippery Slope and Euroscepticism: Islamophobia in Post-communist Europe

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

This event is co-hosted by the ANU Centre for European Studies and the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.

In recent years, European newspaper headlines have repeatedly highlighted xenophobia and intolerance in post-communist Europe. In the Czech Republic and Hungary, Islamophobic narratives have emerged in the context of the migration crisis and should be interpreted as a political instrument of the populist parties.

The Czech Republic and Hungary do not have as large a Muslim minority as Germany, France or the UK, however, they are experiencing increasing Islamophobia. The dominant form of Islamophobia relies on unfair and inaccurate reports, insecurities about the future and distrust of public institutions. Anti-Muslim hate goes hand in hand with growing Euroscepticism and anti-elitist discourse.

What are the key differences between Islamophobia and traditional post-communist populism? What are the dominant narratives of hatred in post-socialist Europe, and how do they differ from their Western European counterparts? What is best-practice for countering anti-Muslim hate?

Dr Karel Čada is a researcher at the Department of Sociology at the Charles University in Prague. He is currently the principal investigator of the project “Dynamics of Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Czech Republic” funded by the Czech National Science Agency. He also leads the Czech team of the project “Countering Islamophobia Through the Development of Best Practice in the Use of Counter-Narratives in EU Member States”, coordinated by the University of Leeds. Between 2014 and 2015, Dr Čada was a leader of the research team mapping social exclusion in the Czech Republic. He has published in the areas of social exclusion, poverty, inequalities, ethnicities, migration and social and health policies.