Countering Islamophobia and Discrimination Affecting Muslims

Over the last decade, there has been a rise in experiences and perceptions of discrimination and xenophobia in Western Europe in which attitudes, behaviors, and policies have reinforced one another. Xenophobic actors have taken advantage of the economic crisis and used minorities, in particular Muslims, immigrants, and Roma, as scapegoats.

The Open Society Initiative for Europe acknowledges that Islamophobia can be a contested concept and defines the term as an ideology of cultural superiority similar to racism in which attitudes, behaviors, and policies towards Muslims reject, exclude, vilify, or deny equal treatment to persons, based on real or perceived Muslim background; or racial, ethnic, and national origins which are associated with this background.

The overarching goal of this targeted call is to counter structural discrimination affecting Muslims and the trickle-down effects this has on wider society.

The call aims to support innovative approaches addressing the problems arising in one of the following areas:

  • Access to meaningful employment. Special attention is given to gender dimensions, for example in case of indirect discrimination due to the prescription of a certain dress-code (e.g., headscarf).

  • Discrimination in the field of education, including barriers to education due to visible manifestations of religion, barriers to higher education, and lack of institutional mechanisms to recognize and address prejudice.

  • Monitoring, reporting, and advocacy on hate speech and hate crimes designed to raise awareness on the reality of Islamophobia (including its gender dimension).

  • The spread of hostility towards Muslims through traditional and new forms of media.

  • Multiple discriminations: efforts to promote joint projects, synergies, and solidarity in common anti-racism and discrimination agendas across the various equality grounds (not only in terms of origin or religion but also across other grounds such as gender or sexual orientation) will be positively regarded. Similarly, initiatives supporting active participation of youth are welcomed. This can contribute to provide different images of Muslims recognizing their diversity.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Applicants must be legally constituted nongovernmental organizations.
  • The applicant must be nonprofit-oriented.
  • Organizations with a proven track record in previous related work are particularly welcome.
  • Applicant must be legally established in a priority or eligible country: France, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands. Eligible countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Transnational or pan-European partnerships are welcome.
Ineligibility Criteria

Within this call, we will not fund:

  • Individual research and scholarships.
  • Stand-alone training, conferences, or general public awareness–raising activities without an advocacy strategy and a concrete goal.
  • Party political affiliated activities.
  • Open Society works to guarantee freedom of expression. It will refrain from supporting projects that call for removal of content from the public sphere without a court order (or without the intervention of an independent authority).

The total amount of funds dedicated to this call is $500,000 for projects of up to one year. The minimum amount is $10,000 and the maximum one is $100,000. Please consider that Open Society can fund up to a maximum of one-third of the overall budget of the organization last closed fiscal year.

Projects should start between July and December 2014.

Submit a concept note of no more than five pages by email to Clara Grosset at no later than June 2, 2014.

See complete instructions in the attached guidelines.