Smear campaigns targeting Muslim politicians across Europe, which have seen many forced to quit, highlight an attitude of intolerance toward Muslims.
With the rise of racism on the continent, Muslim politicians are being attacked in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, forcing many to give up politics, although some are resisting the pressure.
Muslim politicians in Sweden and Germany are being put under pressure due to their relationships with non-governmental organizations while in Netherlands and Belgium some face attack for their refusal to accept Armenian claims of genocide.
In the U.K., the Conservative Party’s candidate for London mayor, Zac Goldsmith, has accusing his opponent Sadiq Khan of links to extremists.
The Swedish housing minister, who was forced to quit last week, told Anadolu Agency he had been “slandered” over alleged links to Daesh. Mehmet Kaplan quit after media attacks.
Kaplan, who is of Turkish-origin, said his work involved attending events organized by non-governmental organizations (NGO). “I can’t question who comes and who does not come to these gatherings,” he said, adding that all the organizations were legal in Sweden.
“Despite me and my party having always fought against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and any kind of extremism, [the media] has tried to show me as a racist, radical Islamist,” he said.
Fellow Green Party member, Yasri Shamsudin Khan, is another Muslim to quit politics after he was condemned for not shaking a female journalist’s hand. Khan said he did not shake her hand because of his beliefs but instead placed his hand on his chest in greeting.
Yasin Ipek, a member of Sigtuna city council, was forced to resign after attending in an iftar dinner organized by an NGO.
“A PKK supporters’ group in the Swedish media, composed of anti-Turkish and anti-Muslim journalists, are conducting an unbelievable campaign to eliminate young and promising Turkish and Muslim-origin politicians,” he claimed.
In Germany, Nebahat Guclu, a member of the Hamburg state parliament, said party leaders in the country accepted politicians from immigrant communities as a way of securing votes but excluded them from decision-making.
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