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Parliamentary Assembly Session: 21 to 25 June 2010

Combating Islamophobia: Sampaio offers increased Alliance of Civilisations´ cooperation with Council of Europe

Jorge Sampaio

In a statement made during the Parliamentary Assembly debate on Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia in Europe, Jorge Sampaio, UN High Commissioner for the Alliance of Civilisations, offered further cooperation of the Alliance with the Council of Europe to fight Islamophobia.

He also said that education on cultural diversity, strengthening the role of towns in managing cultural diversity, interreligious dialogue, and engaging young people should be priority strategies to fight Islamophobia.

Welcoming PACE´s initiative to hold a debate on Islam and Islamophobia, he pointed out that this topic is still a taboo, and that any discussion should be placed in the wider context of the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

Finally, he said that the answers of European states to diversity and the problems it creates should be nuanced and their implementation decided and adapted at local level. However, he stressed there is a need of a “common strategic vision”.