What’s in a name?

According to a survey carried out by the Minorities Forum, Flemings with exotic names such as Mohammed and Khadija have on average 50% less chance of finding rented accommodation than couples with Belgian-sounding names such as Joris and Nathalie.

In August of this year, researchers from the Minorities Forum reacted to a number of advertisements on the internet for rented accommodation in Ghent and Antwerp.

They applied to become tenants at the properties using two aliases: a couple with traditional Belgian names and a couple with names come from abroad.

Both families had the same income and composition. The only difference was their names.

The Head of the Minorities Forum Naima Charkaoui told the VRT that “These tests show a disturbing trend.”

"Discrimination is being silently tolerated rather than being tackled.”

Ms Charkaoui adds that the survey shows that discrimination is still very much an issue for many members of ethnic and cultural minorities living in Flanders.

She calls on local authorities in our region to do more to tackle discrimination.

"It’s not just the Flemish regional and the federal authorities that need to draw up anti-discrimination plans. Local authorities also have a role to play. Anyone that discriminates is committing a crime. The Local Police Service can and should act.”