25 participants including journalists, civil society representatives and representatives of Muslim communities in Europe as well as experts on issues related to media, migration and perceptions took part in a two-day workshop, organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation on the role of media in presenting information related to the Arab uprising and economic crisis and the impact this has on mutual perceptions between the people of the region and in particular towards Muslim populations in Europe.
The event, held on 17 and 18 July in Palermo, sought to discuss if and how perceptions towards Arab and Muslim populations in Europe have changed after the Arab Spring and as a consequence of the economic crisis, said a press release issued by the Foundation.
One of the issues highlighted by the speakers is the importance of choice of terminology to be used when referring to the current political trends in the Arab world such as the term “Islamist” which is usually associated to terrorism or threat, other terms which need to be re-considered are “political Islam” and “Arab Spring”.
Speakers also stressed the importance of the concept of ‘citizenship’ which is still poorly adopted when speaking about migrant communities in Europe and to include Islamophobia among the acts of discrimination to be punished by law.
Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo gave a keynote intervention on the 2nd day of the workshop. The Mayor expressed his support to the initiative that brought Media Dialogue to Palermo and emphasised the importance of such dialogue and exchange among the countries of the Euromed. In addition, the Palermo workshop was conceived as an important step towards the organisation of the Barcelona media meeting which will take place in March 2013 in preparation of the Anna Lindh Forum.
The Anna Lindh Foundation for Inter-Cultural Dialogue promotes knowledge, mutual respect and inter-cultural dialogue between the people of the Euro-Mediterranean region, working through a network of more than 3,000 civil society organisations in 43 countries. Its budget is co-funded by the EU (€7 million) and the EU member states (€6 million).
Source: EU Neighbourhood Info Centre