Is Islam Endangering 'Europeannesess?'

Pointing to the fact that some widely condemned customs, such as forced marriages and dowry deaths are as prevalent among Hindu immigrants from the Indian subcontinent as Muslims, Sharjareh claims that while effective legislation is necessary, it's also important not to stereotype communities.

"We do need infrastructure to limit extremism," said Shadjareh, "and this has to come from all sides. If the Dutch government had prosecuted van Gogh for his racism, he may have been alive. I'm not saying that anything, absolutely anything legitimizes a killing, but we also need to limit hate speech -- on all sides."

'You're Oppressed, You Just Don't Know It'

For British activist Yaqoob, the particularly galling aspect of Europe's penchant for taking on platforms in the name of Muslim women is that, more often than not, they are adopted without consulting Muslim women.

A year after she was booed at the European Social Forum, Yaqoob was back at the conference. But this time, things had changed. For one, it was held in London this year. For another, the conference took place months after France instituted its hijab ban, and most of the non-French delegates opposed the ban.

"I asked them [the French delegation], have you talked to them [French Muslim women]? And they said, no, we don't need to," she says. "I told them I personally chose to wear the hijab. And they told me, 'You're oppressed, you just don't know it.'"

An articulate activist, professional psychotherapist and mother of three sons, Yaqoob sometimes does believe she's oppressed. But not by Islam.

"After 9/11 I myself have been attacked, I've been spat on ... I can't tell you how awful it was," she said. "I thought, we can't live like this. This is so unnecessary. And that's why I started doing what I'm doing now. But I'm on a journey and I'm learning constantly."

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