FOR THE CORDOBA FOUNDATION, ISLAMIST RADICALISATION DOES NOT EXIST

For The Cordoba Foundation, Islamist radicalisation does not exist

16.11.2016 Carla Parisi

“Move along, there is nothing to see” should have been the subtitle of The Cordoba Foundation’s last report (2016, February).

The foundation was created in Great Britain by Anas Al-Tikriti, the son of the official leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq. In 2009, David Cameron denounced the foundation as a cover of the Muslim brothers in Great Britain. This is why it appeared on a list which was published by United Arab Emirates, to list Muslim organizations supporting terrorism.

Despite this, Anas Al Tikriti and The Cordoba Foundation are regularly invited to deliver their analyzes. Their last report is called “The twin myths of the “Western jihadist threat” and “Islamic radicalisation””. Its author, Alain Gabon, is a French professor at Wesleyan College, an American WASP upper-class institution.

In the introduction, Doctor Abdullah Faliq, coordinator of the European Islamic Forum, explains in an alarmist way that “governments across Europe have started to confiscate and ban Islamic literature; religious observations and conservative Islamic practices are conflated with extremism; mosques, madrasas and even youth centres are being monitored (with powers of closure); and leaders of the community as well as mainstream Islamic organisations are being targeted and tarred with the brush of extremism ». He says that « islamophobic attacks » against muslims are nothing else than a consequence of overvalued jihadist threat. So finally, jihadists would only use « slogans that are (for want a better world) anti-authority », and « This rebellious culture is, however, not specific to Islam – such tendencies can be found in almost all communities ».

Anas Al Tikriti then pays tribute to former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, for his “model conduct” after the attacks that have hit the capital in 2005. Nevertheless, he recognizes that some racist attacks happen in London, like in any capital in the world. He takes this opportunity to blame the actual government, which is less accommodating with communautarist requests, by suggesting that his fight against jihadism invocks the “horrors of the Spanish Inquisition” and “McCarthysm”. According to the lobbyist, several hundreds children would have been snatched from their parent’s hands “employing the pretext of radicalisation”. Thereafter, he blames the “criminalization of any suggestion that British Foreign Policy and military interventions might have had anything to do with the rise of global terrorism ».

In his study, Alain Gabon wants to prove 3 realities that he describes as myths :

  • a) most terrorists are “Islamist” or “Jihadist” Muslims,
  • b) terrorism in general and its “Jihadist” variety in particular constitute a major and mounting threat to human life in those societies
  • c) there is an alarming “radicalisation” at work among significant segments of the Western Muslim populations

According to Alain Gabon, these 3 myths are spread and strenghtened by political, academical and media speeches, in an almost « Orwellian » context. In France, these myths would lead to the laws against « headscarves and full-face coverings in public space », to the « suveillance of mosques », and finally, « islamo-paranoïa ». Alain Gabon forgets to specify that simple veils are not forbidden in the street, and that the law against religious signs in public schools was decided in 2004, before  the Toulouse, Charlie Hebdo, Paris, or Nice terrorist attacks.

In July 2016, just after the Nice terrorist attack, Alain Gabon didn’t hesitate to publish an article in the Middle East Eye website, to explain that the killer was “neither an islamist, nor a jihadist or a “terrorist”.

To understate islamic terrorist attacks, Alain Gabon explains that only 6% of attacks would be perpetrated by jihadists on US soil. The rest would be carried out by “Latinos, Christians and Jews, the far left, ecological activists, white supremacists, anti-government, anti-abortion, sovereignist, and secessionist groups ». The islamist attacks would be the only ones that the media would cover, although the number of victims would be « statistically negligable », and carried out by « lone wolves ». In France, we sometimes hear the number of 1% to designate the percentage of  terrorist attacks carried out by jihadists. If the number of jihadist attacks is lower than the number of religional-separatists attacks for example, jihadists attacks are by far the bloodiest: 245 people have been killed in France since 2012. Moreover, the international extent of islamic terrorism, islamic networks & budget, are unparalleled compared to those of regional separatists. This does not prevent Alain Gabon from blaming primarily the « quasi apocalyptic rhetoric and “end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it” hysteria » around jihadism.

Alain Gabon gives a list of 6 reasons which would explain the “collective hysteria” :

a) “the enormous traumatic shock of 9/11, and more recently, of the two 2015 Paris attacks. Coupled with a lack of rational distance and perspective ». He explains that « there was nothing even remotely close to 9-11 before that tragic day and there has been nothing remotely close to it after, anywhere in the Western world ». He says that « just like 9-11, it is also unlikely that anything similar to November 13 will happen again anytime soon ». In fact, if we speak about two planes crashing into the Twin Towers that no longer exist, or about the attacks in the same parisian bars… those events are unlikely to happen again. But should we remind Alain Gabon about the Nice attacks that happened after his report ? All the foiled attacks in France ? All the attacks in Iraq, Syria, Indonesia, Bengladesh… ?

b) « the role and responsibility of the media and politicians (namely the two most influential and pervasive type of discourses), which relentlessly cultivate and nurture the memory of 9-11 (and now, in France, of Charlie Hebdo and November 13). These discourses in turn create and perpetuate through this “commemorationism” a distorted perception of terrorism among the general public and these media and political circles themselves, in a sort of self-intoxication »…

c) the fact that « Western media and the political class have for decades focused obsessively, furthermore through exclusively negative reporting [on Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Iranian revolution] » and that « political conflicts such as the Syrian civil war are usually fallaciously presented as religious problems (like“shiite-sunni » conflict) »…

d) “the vested interest and calculations, including electoral calculations, of governments, who have (…) motivations for keeping their populations focused obsessively on the “Jihadist threat” through a politics of fear and anxiety in the best Orwellian tradition: it allows despotic regimes like Assad’s or al-Sisi’s in Egypt, whose own brand of state terror is even worse than that of Daesh, to present themselves as bulwarks against terrorism ». This would enable « governments to suppress dissent, for example through state of emergency », and to increase their « popularity », as « war-presidents ». In conclusion, « Daesh is proving to emphasizes be extremely useful to all ». In fact Alain Gabon is using the complotist false flag rhetoric, without naming it.

e) “the exclusive obsession with “Islamic” terrorism while the other, far more lethal forms of violence from domestic abuse to gun violence or right-wing terrorism remain largely unaddressed, [which] fits within old and deep racist and Islamophobic anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotypes ».

f) the fact that “the political and media treatment of terrorism systematically emphasise terrorism by Muslims while ignoring or at best minimising the other forms of terror, especially when committed by white, Christian, right-wing groups or individuals ». Alain Gabon blames the demonstrations of solidarity following the Charlie Hebdo’s attacks, which he compares with the demonstrations for the nine afro-americans killed by Dylan Roof.

Alain Gabon then presents Bachar Al-Assad or Saddam Hussein as “secular rulers”. He forgets to say that these two dictators never killed their people in the name of secularism, that Syria or Iraq have never been secular, and that there is no secular terrorist movement asking to support these two criminals. Nevertheless, he says that the fact that Al-Assad, Hussein or Al-Sissi, are not nominated as terrorist proves that we are not far from “Negationist Revisionism”.

Alain Gabon says that believing that “terrorism is a major threat to human life in Western societies is another huge fallacy ». It would even be « the smallest and least cause of mortality, violent or non-violent, of all ». The problem is that he compares terrorist attacks with domestic or road accidents, which are by definition, non-predictable… With cynism, he adds that cancer « can be a lot longer and more painful agony than sudden death or homicide ».

Alain Gabon speaks about “myths of islamic radicalisation”, because for him, radicalisation is subjective. He considers that salafist behaviour, such as refusing to shake women’s hands, can’t lead to jihadism. But he doesn’t suggest any word to describe this islamic radicality. He denounces Manuel Valls for his declaration : “the French Republic must combat not just Jihadist terrorism, but “[Islamic] conservatism and fundamentalism”, including « Muslim brotherhood, salafists and UOIF ». The signs of radicalisations described would be « paternalist », and the closing of three salafist mosques would be unjustified.

Finally, according to Alain Gabon, jihadism is a “minuscule phenomena”, and the problem concerns the media and government, working together to convince and frighten populations.

Carla Parisi

This post is also available in Français .

HEAD OF YOUTH AND STUDENTS DEPARTMENT OF FIOE CANDIDATE IN MILAN ELECTIONS

Head of youth & students department of FIOE candidate in Milan elections

27.04.2016 Valentina Colombo

The next local elections in Milan, particularly the lists of the Left, could be considered as a paradigmatic example of the schizophrenia reigning in parties and institutions when it comes to choosing “Muslims” candidates. In Milan two names stand out, namely Maryan Ismail and Sumaya Abdel Qader, who represent two worlds apart: the former is a staunch Muslim activist against all forms of radical Islam, the latter represents political and social activism in the name of the ideology and strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.

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Maryan is not veiled, Sumaya is. However, Abdel Qader’s veil goes far beyond her colourful head cover. The official biography of Abdel Qader highlights that she was born in Perugia, Italy, on 16/06/1978 from Jordanian-Palestinian parents, that she earned a degree in biology and another one in foreign languages ​​and cultures. She also has a master’s degree in sociology. She collaborates with Italian universities and schools giving talks, lectures and courses on Islam, the Arab-Islamic world, European Muslims, that she is one of the founders of GMI (Giovani Musulmani d’Italia, Young Muslims of Italy), where she has held the post of Secretary General and Vice President. In September 2008 she published an autobiographical book I wear the veil and love the Queen. Since 2011 she has been cooperating with the City of Milan at the table for new citizenship of the Department for social policies. She is also in charge of the cultural section of CAIM (Coordination of Islamic Organizations in Milan and Monza and Brianza), led by Davide Piccardo who is, among other things, one of the Italian members of the European Muslim Network in Brussels headed by Tariq Ramadan.

As CAIM member she has recently launched in Milan the campaign AISHA against violence on women.

Strangely enough, but not so much, Abdel Qader avoids to indicate in her official biography and presentations her most prestigious appointment: Head of FIOE (Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe) Youth and Student Department. FIOE is the main umbrella organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Besides this, she is also a member of the Board of Trustees of FEMYSO (Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations) based in Brussels, which is the junior counterpart of FIOE. Giovani Musulmani d’Italia is a member of FEMYSO. In September 2015, at the 19th General Assembly of FEMYSO – that took place at the headquarters of the controversial Turkish organization Milli Gorus in Cologne – Abdel Qader was honoured with an award for her activities. She is also member of the board of the European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW) in Brussels together with her mother-in-law.

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In order to follow the international activities of FIOE Sumaya recently went to Finland, Turkey, Malaysia showing that Milan and Italy are just a small part of a microcosm of a much larger project.

Last, but not least she is the daughter of Mohammed Abdel Qader, Palestinian co-founder of Unione degli studenti musulmani in Italia (Union of Muslim Students in Italy, USMI) and the Unione delle Comunità e delle Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy, UCOII) and Imam of Perugia, central Italy. She is married with Abdallah Kabakebbji, former President of GMI) and son of MB leader Maher Kabakebbji.

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But the main question that should be answered is the following: why is she casting a veil on her European appointments at the highest levels of the European Brotherhood and trying to hide her ties with the European spinoffs of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Valentina Colombo

MOGHERINI, D’ALEMA AND EUROPEAN POLITICAL ISLAM

Mogherini, d’Alema and European political Islam

30.03.2016 Valentina Colombo

On June 24-25, 2015, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), which is headed by former Italian Prime Minister Massimo d’Alemaorganized in Brussels the conference “Call to Europe V: Islam in Europe”.

The conference has been attended by some European actors linked with the ideological galaxy of the Muslim Brotherhood, notably the Belgian Michael Privot – who is director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), vice president of the Belgian movement EmBem and who in 2008 declared to a Belgian newspaper to be part of the new generation of the European Brotherhood – the German Mehmet Celebi, deputy head of the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD, Central Muslim Council of Germany) – that is the umbrella organization that includes most of the mosques, cultural and Islamic centers ideologically linked with the Brotherhood- , and Tarafa Baghajati, a key Austrian actor and chairman of the Austrian Muslim Initiative (AMI).

Federica Mogherini, High representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the European Commission, presented the closing remarks on June 24 suggesting not only that “Islam holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future. Like it or not, this is the reality”, but she went further and declared that European policy include political Islam:

“I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always for bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not. That is what matters to us, the key point.”

Mogherini thus mixed up Islam as a religion with political Islam, which is represented by any kind of Islamic ideology aiming at establishing an Islamic government. It is well known that the Muslim Brotherhood is one main expression of political Islam. Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated many times in his speeches and books that Islam is politics otherwise is not Islam.

Such discourse from a high ranked European official clearly marks a victory in the European MB agenda of political integration and infiltration. It is no secret that Tariq Ramadan has held training courses on Islam in Europe at the European External Action Service (EEAS), that the Socialists & Democrats – which co-organized the conference in Brussels – group at the European Parliament is one the main partners of FEMYSO, Ramadan’s European Muslim Network and ENAR.

Last December 2015, Massimo D’Alema and Tariq Ramadan took part to a debate about refugees at the Université Catholique in Louvain and apparently proposed different solutions to the emergency. However, on February 26, 2016 Le Soir published an article, signed by both D’Alema and Ramadan, which ends with the following remarks that remind Mogherini’s speech:

“We need a European Islam, an Islam of European citizens and not an Islam that consists of the sum of the communities under the influence of their country of origin”.

European Islam and European Muslims are Ramadan’s leit motiv that has been adopted by D’Alema and Mogherini. Last March, 24 Massimo D’Alema declared that “a significant part of the Muslim world in Europe is not integrated, which means that (Islamist) terrorism is surrounded by an area, if not of solidarity, of non-hostility. “I would like these people to feel they are full-blown European citizens,” he continued. “It would be preferable if they could build their mosques the same way churches are built, that is, with public funds. Italy has a 0.8% (tax program) for the Catholic church, but there are 1.5 million Muslims who are not recognized and with whom we don’t have an understanding”.

He concluded by saying that a European Islam “could be more open and modern than the fundamentalist kind that comes from some countries of origin,” which is definitely true if Islam is not confused with political Islam and political Islamists who have a precise agenda and are keeping a foot in both camps just like Tariq Ramadan who teaches both in Oxford and in Doha, who is President of the European Muslim Network in Brussels and member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in Doha.

Valentin Colombo

ISLAMOPHOBIA AND GENDER AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. AN EXAMPLE OF MB MONOPOLISATION

Islamophobia and Gender at the European Parliament. An example of MB monopolisation.

29.02.2016 Valentina Colombo

MEP Soraya Post is hosting on March 2, 2016 a public hearing on Islamophobia and Gender that confirms the strong link between S&D group and the galaxy of the European Muslim Brotherhood at the European level. It is noteworthy that such a controversial issues such as islamophobia and gender seems, at least in the case of the above-mentioned event, to be almost monopolized by organisations and individuals linked to a single ideological area, namely political Islam, of the immense and variegated universe of Muslims living in Europe. S&D group has already hosted Tariq Ramadan and Malika Hamidi, respectively President and Director of the European Muslim Network based in Brussels, Islamic Relief Belgium, FEMYSO and other actors of European political Islam.

The co-organisers of the upcoming event are the European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW), the Forum of European and Muslim Youth Organisations (FEMYSO) and the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). Although they seem to be independent from one another, it will be shown that they have, both in the past and in the present, not only common goals and strategy, but they also belong to the same Islamic context and trend.

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FIOE, EFOMW and ECFR

EFOMW, founded in 2006, is the European umbrella organisation of women associations belonging to the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), which is the main umbrella organisation of Muslim Brotherhood associations in Europe.

The official goal of FIOE is to broaden the cooperation and coordination of Muslim groups in Europe and to reinforce participation in societal dialogue, emphasizing that extra attention should be “granted to the affairs of youth, women, and the professional segments”. FIOE’s Shura Council, the consultative council chaired by Samir Falah – president of the Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland – has encouraged Muslim participation in the European Parliament elections and has sought to take the lead on certain international political issues such as the situation in Ukraine, “escalating violations of the City of Jerusalem”, opposition to the Assad regime in Syria and Sisi’s government in Egypt, and Islamophobia in Europe.

The fight against Islamophobia and women are declared objectives of FIOE programme. In the Final Statement of the Fifth Shura Council Meeting in the Tenth Term of FIOE (Madrid, 22-25 October 2015) it was highlighted that it “also discussed developing a strategy specifically focused on supporting the values of human rights and equality, and in combating racism, hate, and Islamophobia”. On the other hand, the last paragraph of the Final Statement of the 3rd General Assembly Meeting in the 10th Executive Term of FIOE (Tunis, 21-24 January 2016) “called for greater effort in developing the presence of women and youth in the leadership bodies and councils of Islamic organisations in Europe, and to encourage them to raise their participation in all positive spheres”. Both documents confirm that the upcoming event at the European parliament perfectly fits into FIOE strategy about islamophobia and its tendency to point out women both as the most vulnerable and visible victims of hate against Islam and Muslims and as front-line actors in against Islamophobia.

It is worth pointing out the official link between FIOE and its members and the global Muslim Brotherhood. On July 6, 2009, that is still under Mubarak’s regime, Ibrahim Munir – present deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, was interviewed by the Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Yom and clearly explained the role of the European umbrella organisation:

“Islamic activities [of the MB] in Europe are different, there is a completely independent structure which is called the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE). It is registered at the European Union; it has an office in Brussels and is known at the European level. On this basis, they cooperate. We must obey the laws of our countries and they must obey the laws of their countries. In all European countries, there are Islamic organizations that convey the thought of the Muslim Brotherhood and others that do not. All of these organizations are working for the benefit of their country and according to the laws of that country.”

FIOE is among other things behind the birth of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in Dublin, headed by the controversial preacher Yusuf Qaradawi. ECFR inaugural meeting took place, as stated in the introduction of its First collection of Fatwas, “in London, UK, on 21-22 Dhul Qi’da 1417AH, 29-30 March 1997. The meeting was attended by more than 15 scholars who responded to the invitation of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe.” It is thus clear that EFOMW vision of women in Europe follows the model presented both by FIOE and ECFR.

When it comes to women both Qaradawi and ECFR hold ambiguous positions. For instance, Qaradawi in his essay The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam explains the reason of the prohibition of marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man as follows:

“A marriage between a man and woman of different faiths can be based only on the husband’s respect for his wife’s beliefs; otherwise a good relationship can never develop. Now, the Muslim believes that both Judaism and Christianity originated in divine revelation, although later distortions were introduced into them. He also believes that Allah revealed the Torah to Moses and the Evangel to Jesus, and that both Moses and Jesus – peace be on them – were among the messengers of Allah who were distinguished by their steadfast determination. Accordingly, the Christian or Jewish wife of a Muslim lives under the protection of a man who respects the basic tenets of her faith, her scripture, and her prophets, while in contrast to this the Jew or Christian recognizes neither the divine origin of Islam, its Book, or its Prophet (peace be on him). How then could a Muslim woman live with such a man, while her religion requires of her the observance of certain worships, duties, and obligations, as well as certain prohibitions? It would be impossible for the Muslim woman to retain her respect for her beliefs as well as to practice her religion properly if she were opposed in this regard by the master of the house at every step.”

This position is also confirmed by ECFR fatwa. Although ECFR issues fatawa for Muslims living as minority in Europe and is meant to adapt sharia to a new minoritarian context, ECFR views about women are definitely conservative. For instance, the need of segregation between men and women is confirmed by the following ECFR fatwa regarding the attendance of mixed ceremonies by women:

“Our opinion in this matter is that Islamic Shari’a did not object to men and women being present in one place on condition that three matters are avoided and refrained from:

First: Seclusion, i.e. where a man and woman meet in a position where no one else can see them.

Second: Adornment of women, i.e. where a woman uncovers what Allah (swt) decreed to be covered from her body, perfume or jewellery or walks in such a way which draws attention and raises ill-thoughts and feelings.

Third: Contact, i.e. skin contact.

If these three matters were avoided and refrained from then there remains no legal objection to the congregation, whether it is a marriage ceremony or any other. However, we see that people often do not abide by these conditions in weddings, and thus the presence of men and women in one place becomes unlawful.”

Similarly, in ordinary life ECFR advises a correct form of dialogue between men and women that finally relegates it to greetings and limited intercourse:

“There are many Hadiths which confirm the permissibility of men greeting women and women greeting men, as well as the lawfulness of men visiting sick women and vice versa.

However, this does not imply the lifting of all boundaries, so that women start speaking to all men who come and go or that men start speaking to all women, as this is rejected by logic and good taste before being rejected by Islam. It is permissible for a woman to speak to a male relative, a teacher, a neighbour, a supervisor at work, and others according to the requirements and needs of every day life and complex relations amongst people in our days, as long as trust is established, troubles (fitna) are in restraint and conditions are normal.”

During Session 24, which was held in Istanbul August 16-19, 2014, ECFR issued many fatwas that apparently aimed to appease the West and its standards. For instance Fatwa 24/3 about “the cure for recalcitrance of a woman toward her husband” explains that the Qur’anic verse referring to it as IV, 34 that is “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)”. The key expression is “beat them”.

ECFR states that Muslims have to follow the example of the Prophet who never hit his wives, however, in an interview with the London-based Guardian newspaper, Qaradawi said he accepts wife-beating “as a method of last resort – though only lightly.” He also said that female rape victims should be punished if dressed “immodestly” when assaulted.

ECFR Fatwa 24/4 about khul’ – that is the Islamic divorce at the instance of the wife, who must pay a compensation – is interesting because after stating that in Europe there is no such a divorce, it advises the woman to refer to “Islamic centers or sharia councils if existing, because this is not against the law since the International convention for human rights states that minorities have the right to practice their religion”. The fatwa thus implicitly allows double standards and allows Islamic centers to handle family issues.

ECFR went also so far as issuing a fatwa about the possibility for a woman to ride a bicycle:

“Riding a bicycle or car or any other form of transportation is permissible in itself. The Arab woman during the days of ignorance as well as Islam used to ride camels. The Prophet Mohammed (ppbuh) said: The best of women who rode camels are the women of Qureish; they are the most merciful with their children and the most considerate with their husbands’ wealth” .

However, a woman must abide by Islamic mannerisms when riding a bicycle, such as wearing appropriate Islamic dress and avoiding physical contact with men. As for the possibility of teenage girls losing their hymen; it is important to examine such possibility. If it remains a rare occurring, then Islam has decided that a rule cannot be based upon a rarity.

However, if it is likely that the girl will indeed lose her hymen if she rides a bicycle and no measures can prevent her from doing so, then the Muslim girl ought to be stopped from this, so that people do not think ill of her and that she is not accused of what she has not committed. However, if riding a bicycle is an actual need for the girl, for instance to get to her school or important work, etc., then it remains that necessities make prohibitions permissible. Allah (swt) stated:

“But if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (2:173)” (Fatwa 38)

It is interesting that both Qaradawi and ECFR stand for the veil as a duty for Muslim women, while there are many Islamic theologians saying that it is not a duty, but a free choice. Considering the veil an Islamic duty, any action and/or law against it can be targeted and labelled as islamophobic. This is why not only EFOMW, but also ENAR have been focusing on projects on both gender and islamophobia. Last, but not least it should be noted that Qaradawi also heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars, based in Doha, that on the eve of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women which was held between March 4th and 15th 2013 issued an official statement in which IUMS attacked the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) because it contradicted Islamic principles for the following reasons:

“1- Substituting qawwama (male caretaking or responsibility) with partnership and complete sharing of roles inside the family between the man and woman (spending, child care, household issues).

2- Complete equality in marriage laws (cancelling all forms of: polygamy, `idda, guardianship, dowry, a man’s spending commitment toward the family, allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslims and so on).

3- Equality in inheritance.

4- Withdrawing the power to divorce, referring it to the judiciary, and a sharing of all possessions upon divorce.

5- Giving women the authority to file a complaint against her husband accusing him of rape or harassment. The concerned departments would be obliged to exact a penalty on the husband equal to the penalty specified for a person who commits rape or harassment against a woman of no relation to him.

6- Granting complete sexual freedom to girls in addition to the freedom to choose her sex, and the sex of her partner (i.e. to choose to have natural or homosexual relations) in addition to raising marriage age to 18.

7- Giving teenage girls access to contraceptives, training them to use it, and allowing abortion to dispose of an undesired pregnancy (under claims of sexual and reproductive rights).

8- Equating an adulteress with a wife, equating children from an adulterous relation with legal children completely in all rights.”

IUMS statement eventually clarified its vision of women. Most of IUMS members – such as Qaradawi, Rached al-Ghannouchi, Ali Qaradaghi – are also members of ECFR. It should thus be assumed that ECFR, which is the theological reference for FIOE and EFOMW, shares IUMS views about women. Although EFOMW and FIOE promote women’s activism – which is limited to an élite and a restricted group of leading figures – in society and politics, they consider ordinary women’s role as mainly complementary to men’s role in family and life.

FEMYSO and ENAR

EFOMW partners for the event at the European parliament are FEMYSO and ENAR.

FEMYSO is a transnational umbrella organization, connecting 33 Islamic youth and student organizations in 26 European countries, which can be considered the breeding ground of FIOE.

The first meeting of MB Muslim youth organisations across Europe took place in Sweden in 1995, when the Foreign Ministry of Sweden in co-operation with the Swedish Muslim Youth organization (Sveriges Unga Muslimer), organized an international conference on “Islam in Europe”. The participants expressed the need to establish better communications between the organizations and to undertake steps towards more fruitful and organized cooperation. Jeunes Musulmans de France, Young Muslims UK and Sveriges Unga Muslimer were given the responsibility to further develop this idea. In June 1996 FIOE invited the three organizations in Birmingham to facilitate this process along with the Islamic Foundation based in Leicester. During a successive meeting in the same year FEMYSO was established as a youth offshoot of FIOE, whose Youth & Students section is member of FEMYSO.

FEMYSO is headquartered in Brussels, where it is registered as an international NGO. It adopts a formal administrative structure and communications activities similar to that of other MB EUOs. The organization has tried to maintain its autonomy from the global MB; however, FEMYSO’s composition and ideology represent indelible marks indicating that it is an important component of the MB European network. By operating out of Brussels FEMYSO is well placed to foster contact with EU institutions, allowing it to position itself as the voice of young Muslims in Europe.

FEMYSO Executive Committee confirms the nepotism in its upper ranks, as sons and daughters of senior MB leaders hold its key roles. Many past and current Executive Committee members have remained in power for extended periods, sometimes only switching offices. For instance, FEMYSO former President Intissar Kherigi – Rached Ghannouchi’s daughter – is a former Vice President, just like Huda Himmat – Ali Ghalib Himmat’s daughter – who was replaced by her brother Youssef at the end of her term. Youssef Himmat is now FEMYSO President. At present Intissar Kherigi sits on the Board of Trustees both of FEMYSO and ENAR and acts more behind the scenes.

Founded in October 1998 by grassroots activists on a mission to achieve legal changes at the European level and make decisive progress towards racial equality in all European Union member states and based in Brussels, Belgium, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) connects local and national anti-racism NGOs throughout Europe and acts as an interface between member organizations and the European institutions. ENAR is a result of the 1997 European Year Against Racism. Between March and September 1998, more than 600 NGOs were involved in national and European roundtable discussions regarding the viability of such a structure. The Constitutive Conference of ENAR brought together more than 200 representatives of these organizations to draw up a common program of action. According to its website, ENAR is the only pan-European anti-racism network that combines advocacy for racial equality and facilitating cooperation among civil society anti-racist actors in Europe.

ENAR states its “mission is to achieve full equality, solidarity and well-being for all in Europe” by fostering a collective voice in civil society and to influence decision-making in the EU. To this end, its main activity is to lobby the European Parliament on behalf of its member organizations, notably by calling on MEPs and political groups to establish a strong cooperative on anti-racism in the European Parliament, to advance a comprehensive anti-racist agenda and to jointly react to manifestations of racism and hate.

ENAR issues an annual Shadow Report on racism in Europe, which is a compilation of information and data collected by member organizations and produced to fill the gaps in the official and academic data while offering an NGO perspective on the realities of racism in the EU.

The Belgian convert Michael Privot, who started as networking and campaigns officer in January 2006, in March 2010 became ENAR director. Besides being an international expert on radicalization processes within Muslim communities, in 2008 the Belgian newspaper Le Soir published an article of his, entitled “Muslim Brotherhood: Time for Coming-Out”, where he declared his belonging the MB. Later he explained that he did not join the Egyptian Brotherhood, but he felt close to the way of understanding Islam of an Islamic organisation close to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Policy officer is Julie Pascoet, who joined ENAR in April 2010 after working as communication and advocacy assistant for the NGO Islamic Relief Belgium and converting to Islam.

The presence in ENAR’s board of Intissar Kherigi has strengthened the relation and coordination with FEMYSO.

ISLAMOPHOBIA AND GENDER EVENT

All the speakers of the public hearing on Islamophobia and Gender at the European Parliament belong to the above-mentioned network:

  • Raghad Al Tikriti represents the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), which is member of FEMYSO and FIOE. Al Tikriti is the sister of Anas Al Tikriti, one of the key people of the MB network in the UK and president of the Cordoba Foundation;
  • Ilham Skah, presented as researcher on conditions of Muslim women in Norway, is an activist in the Islamiska Forbundet, which is member of FIOE;
  • Julie Pascoet is the responsible of the ENAR project Forgotten Women Project and ENAR policy officer;
  • Nora Rami is presented as an expert on the question of “laïcité” (The March 15th Freedom Committee). As a matter of fact, the March 15th Freedom Committee has been founded to defend the right of women to wear the veil and has been working very closely with the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), member of FIOE;
  • Fatima Doubakil, Swedish Muslim Human Rights Committee. She is very active in Swedish Islamic organisations close to and members of FIOE;
  • Yasser Louati represents the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), which is a partner of FEMYSO in the IMAN Project about Islamophobia, funded by the Directorate of Justice of the European Commission;
  • Assia Oulkadi represents FEMYSO;
  • Lamia Elamri is President of European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW) and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

The above-mentioned list of speakers totally belongs to the same area of influence and to the same ideological background. The event organised at the European Parliament will consequently deal with the issue of Islamophobia and Gender only from one point of view without any questioning and true debate and will empower and strengthen the idea that organised/political Islam is the main representative of Muslims in Europe.

The event thus confirms the monopoly of Muslim Brotherhood linked organisations not only within the S&D group, but also within European institutions. On June 24-25, 2015 S&D group and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), which is headed by former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema, co-organised a conference in Brussels entitled “Call to Europe V: Islam in Europe”. The conference was attended by some European actors of the ideological galaxy of the MB, notably the Belgian Michael Privot, German Mehmet Celebi, deputy head of the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (Central Muslim Council of Germany), and Tarafa Baghajati, chairman of the Austrian Muslim Initiative (AMI).

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the European Commission, presented the closing remark suggesting European policy should include not only Islam, but also political Islam:

“I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always for bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not. That is what matters to us, the key point.”

The 2nd March public hearing finally highlights the trend of confusing Islam and political Islam at the European level, of turning the latter in the only representative of Islam and Muslims in Europe which is unfortunately very far from the reality on the ground and discriminating towards the variegated majority of Muslims who live their religion in an apolitical way and do not recognise themselves in the above-mentioned organisations.

Valentina Colombo

JIHAD BY COURT: A MODERN STRATEGY TO “TERRIFY THE ENEMY OF ALLAH”

Jihad by court: a modern strategy to “terrify the enemy of Allah”

27.09.2015 Valentina Colombo

Hasan al-Banna in the Letter of teachings, which is still one of the key documents in the Muslim Brotherhood curriculum, explained the meaning of jihad in the following way: “By jihad, I mean that imperative duty until the day of Resurrection which is reflected in the following saying of the Messenger of Allah – praise and benediction of Allah upon Him: “Whoever dies without carrying out a military expedition, or wishing to do so, dies a pre-Islamic death.” Its lowest degree is the heart’s abhorrence of evil, and its highest degree is fighting in the path of Allah. Between these two degrees are other forms of jihad: jihad with the tongue, pen, hand, and speaking a word of truth to the unjust authority. The call can survive only with jihad. The more lofty and far reaching is the call, the greater is the jihad in its path. The price required to support it is immense, but the reward given to its upholders is more generous: ‘And strive in the Way of Allah as you ought to.’ By this you know the meaning of your slogan ‘Jihad is our path’.”

Jihad by court is another form of “intermediate” jihad and is a modern and aggressive form of jihad through legal means. It is the Westernised and pseudo-democratic form of the Islamic institution called hisba which is derived from the Qur’anic order upon every Muslims of “commanding good and forbidding wrong”: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors” (Qur’an 3: 110).

Jihad by court is one of the favourite means of the organizations and individuals ideologically linked with the Muslim Brotherhood in the West and sometimes is connected with the accusation of islamophobia. The strategy is clear: any journalist, writer, intellectual, academic, activist or any newspaper, organisation, association criticising or exposing an MB individual or organisation is very likely to be sued for defamation. The Legal Project, based in the USA, has given a very useful definition of this tactic: “Such lawsuits are often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, but undertaken as a means to bankrupt, distract, intimidate, and demoralize defendants. Plaintiffs seek less to prevail in the courtroom than to wear down researchers and analysts. Even when the latter win cases, they pay heavily in time, money, and spirit. As counterterrorism specialist Steven Emerson comments, “Legal action has become a mainstay of radical Islamist organizations seeking to intimidate and silence their critics.” Islamists clearly hope, Douglas Farah notes, that researchers will “get tired of the cost and the hassle [of lawsuits] and simply shut up.”

This has been going on for years in Europe and the US. In some countries there are Western lawyers representing generations of leaders of political Islam from Yusuf Qaradawi to Rached al-Ghannouchi, from Tariq Ramadan to the UOIF, from the global Muslim Brotherhood to national organisations.

Only a few recent examples. On September 4, the Police Tribunal in Lille found Soufiane Zitouni guilty of non-public defamation and non-public insult toward the Lycée Averroès in Lille, linked with UOIF and his president Amar Lasfar, for an email he had sent colleagues accusing the school’s leadership of being a “hypocritical vipers’ nest.” The court assessed that Zitouni did not substantiate his claim and thus found him guilty. In a press communiqué, Averroes high school welcomed the court’s decision against Zitouni’s guilty verdict: “The Lille Court sentenced Soufiane Zitouni and found him guilty of defamation and insults against the Lycée Averroès.” It further stated that “this decision comes after a report from the Ministry of National Education which demonstrated no violation of the Republic’s values.” In the same press release the Lycée “mistakenly” wrote that Zitouni was condemned for public defamation instead of “non-public defamation”.

The court judgement has been an apparent victory for the Lycée, that however did not dare to sue Zitouni for his articles on Liberation where he exposed the methods and the contents of classes in the high school. A few days later, Mohamed Louizi, another prominent critic of the MB in France, announced on his Facebook page that he was being sued for public defamation by the President of the Association Lycée Averroès, Amar Lasfar for a series of critical articles he published last Spring on his Mediapart blog. If found guilty, he could be liable for a fine of up to 12,000 Euros.

On July 29, 2015, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale launched a call to financially support its journalist Magdi Cristiano Allam after an Italian court ordered him to pay more than 8,000 Euros because he linked the Italian Union of Islamic Organisations in Italy (UCOII) with the MB and Hamas during a TV program in 2006. Although I do not agree with his political choices and his harsh stand against Islam, Magdi Cristiano Allam was condemned to death by Hamas and has been living under the protection of the Italian Ministry of Interior since 2003 as a result. During the program, he accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being at the origin of his death sentence.

Allam has been one of the staunchest accusers of the MB network in Italy and has been for years the target of the jihad by court, led by the Italian lawyer Luca Bauccio who counts among his clients Rached Ghannouchi, Tariq Ramadan, Yusuf Qaradawi, Youssef Nada and all Italian leaders of political Islam.

Another example is the lawsuit that was initiated by the Union of the Islamic Organizations of France and the Great Mosque of Paris against “Charlie Hebdo” for republishing the Danish cartoons about Muhammad is one of the most famous examples of this kind of jihad. In March 2008, the Paris Court of Appeals rejected all the accusations as, the cartoons, “which clearly refer only to a part not to the whole Muslim community, cannot be considered neither an outrage nor a personal and direct attack against a group of people because of their religious faith and do not go beyond the limits of freedom of expression.” However, the deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 2015 confirms that jihad by court can turn out to be the green light to more radical organisations that decide to use less democratic means.

The French Court acted in a responsible and sensible way, but what happened to “Charlie Hebdo,” and keeps on happening to many writers and journalists should lead us to conclude that: first, the attacks of “jihad by court” do not come from all Muslims, they come from so-called “Islamic communities and organizations”, that usually are simple non-profit associations which do not represent anybody but themselves, and from individuals and organizations who protect themselves by attacking the others in the name of freedom and defamation.

In Europe and the US there is a long list of people who have been victims of jihad by court: from Daniel Pipes to Fiammetta Venner, from Mohammed Sifaoui to Magdi Cristiano Allam, from Soufiane Zitouni to Heiko Heinisch, from Souad Sbai to Mohamed Louizi. Most of them perfectly know political Islam, its actors and strategies. Some of them have also been in the past active members of political Islam. However, Western judges have not realised yet that anti-defamation laws have been exploited by political Islam in the West to silence the other, that political Islam is not Islam and does not represent the majority of Muslims living in Europe.

Last but not least, Western judges and law makers should realise that jihad by court is one of the new strategies to implement not only Hasan al-Banna’s Letter of teachings, but also the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood represented by the following Qur’anic verse: ““And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged” (Surat al-Anfal, 60).

Jihad by court is the non-violent, but aggressive way to “terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

JEREMY CORBYN FUNDAMENTALIST FRIENDS

Jeremy Corbyn fundamentalist friends

14.09.2015 Caroline Fourest

Should we celebrate Jeremy Corbyn’s victory? The radical left speak of an “earthquake”. For others, however, it is a political suicide. In fact it all depends how one views Jeremy Corbyn. From a purely economic angle, shared by most newspapers, his victory is encouraging and shows that in England there is still a left which can defend the welfare state. The new Labour Party leader is firmly opposed to austerity policies. He is even calling for renationalization of energy and the railways. After so many years of deregulation and privations under Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair it is refreshing.

Corbyn’s election can be seen as the death of Blairism, the sign that after Syriza and Podemos it is possible to dream of a Great Britain which is not only obsessed with scuppering political Europe, but on the contrary favours a real European recovery policy. If such were the case it would indeed be heartening. But this victory is misleading.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn will not be the death of Blairism, but will plunge the left in England into a very long coma, for with him as Labour leader, as soon as the public becomes aware of his policies, the Conservatives are sure to remain in Downing Street for many long years.

Support for victims of…. anti-terrorism

The Conservatives are already looking forward to confronting him given his accumulation of questionable positions over the years, and we are not referring here to his economic position. Corbyn’s alternative and ambitious economic policy, which does not have the favour of many English people, merits a debate and being defended. No, we are referring here to his positions on international policy, freedom of expression and terrorism, subjects which are sometimes minimized by political commentators, but which are in no way minor subjects.

For example, certain associations are concerned by Corbyn’s frequentations in conspiracy theory and anti Semitic circles, those he calls his “friends”: leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, with whom he has the “pleasure and honour” of addressing meetings.

Corbyn’s entourage defends him by explaining that he was unaware of the negationist convictions of two of his friends and that anyway he refers to everyone as “his friends”. Yet the fact remains that Corbyn has offices with his friends at Finsbury Mosque (“a wonderful community asset” according to Corbyn), one of the most radical mosques in Europe and which the Muslim Brotherhood took over from the jihadists.

He also supports CAGE, an association founded by Islamists not, as incredible as it seems, to support victims of terrorism but victims of anti-terrorism! A question of priority.

The “inclusive” left alongside the extremists

Still on the subject of questionable positions, Corbyn is always happy to give interviews on Iranian TV and Russia Today, the propaganda channel of the Russian regime, which is his favourite channel. He even described it as the most “objective” channel in the audiovisual landscape. Which speaks volumes for his vision of the world.

In 2006 he demonstrated against the publication of the drawings of Mahomet, alongside English fundamentalists, compared to whom our Islamists look like protesters from the 60s and 70s. Apart from that he was really and truly sorry about what happened on January 7.

To summarize, his rebellious streak and elementary anti Americanism make Jeremy Corbyn a pure product of the radical left which flirts with the worst extremists in the world.

His priority is not so much to reduce inequality as to promote an “inclusive” multiculturalist policy, a seductive expression which can be translated as the Anglo-Saxon communitarian model, which encourages competition between communities for fundamentalist derogations, to the detriment of gender equality and secularism.

It is alarming that such unsavoury positions did not scupper his chance to be elected leader of Labour. But one thing is certain, they will be dragged up and seen by the British public at the next general elections as fatal for the country.

Jeremy Corbyn will never convince a broad public

If the Labour left wanted to remain in opposition, they could not have made a better choice. For some of their sympathizers it doesn’t really matter. For someone who is a leftist through and through and not a progressive, the objective is not to convince a majority to sign up for progress but to be right, standing alone against the world. This way they remain pure.

In this respect those who defend an alliance between the radical left and the fundamentalists and tyrants of the world can rest assured. Until they can demonstrate their ability to propose an economic alternative and rid themselves of their indulgence, blindness even, towards fundamentalists and dictators there is no risk they will dirty their hands by governing the country.

In spite of the crisis and all they could have going for them the radical left will never attract the democratic left. During the past decade, marked by the risk of terrorist attacks, all the radical left has done is contribute to the progression of the far right. They have absolutely no influence on the future of Europe, except as a fear factor.

Caroline Fourest

This post is also available in Français .

TUNISIA, A TESTING GROUND FOR AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND JIHADISTS

Tunisia, a testing ground for an alliance between the muslim brotherhood and jihadists

31.08.2015 Hala Abdennour

Political Islam in general and the Muslim Brotherhood ideology in particular can lead to terrorism. There are many examples of connivance between the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadists and Tunisia seems to provide a testing ground for this alliance.

Four dates to be retained:

  1. No sooner was he elected Mohammad Ghannouchi granted an amnesty to political prisoners, including Seif Allah Ben Hassine (aka Abu Iyadh), convicted of terrorist activities and who on his release immediately founded Ansar Al Sharia.
  2. Not only did the Ennahda government (24/12/2011-13/3/2013) tolerate this movement, but several party members attended their meetings, as Seif Allah Ben Hassine preached freely in mosques and his organization multiplied their “humanitarian” actions across the country.
  3. After the attack against the American embassy, the assassination of Chokri Belaïd and subsequently of Mohammed Brahmi, two major figures of the secular opposition, Ansar Al Sharia pursued its activities in Tunisia.
  4. One month after the last assassination evidence of Ansar Al Sharia’s implication was brought to light. Ansar Al Sharia was designated as a terrorist organization and banned.

Why was there such a delay in discovering this when it was well known that Ben Hassine was one of Bin Laden’s right hand men? Was the Ennahda government   unaware that this organization is led by an extremist who preaches violence?

As Richard Spencer observed in The Daily Telegraph when he posed the question about the murky relationship between Ennahda and Ansar Al Sharia, was it necessary to wait until Ben Hassine had recruited and trained many young Tunisians who would go on to carry out other terrorist attacks at the Bardo Museum and in Sousse before neutralizing him?

Can Ennahda and its leader Rached Ghannouchi be trusted when Ghannouchi continues to appeal to certain Western intelligentsia despite his blatant double speak, for example in a video which circulated on social networks and in the main media in Tunisia and France? Yet again, on 25 August, Rached Ghannouchi demanded that Tunisia take back jihadists returning from Syria. He was quoted in the newspaper “Ettounsiya” as saying that showing clemency to terrorists returning from Syria would enable them to free themselves from the dark and obscure thoughts which they adopted out of ignorance and naivety.

Today Rached Ghannouchi states that his is the only party capable of countering the jihadists, because they can tell the difference between extremists and moderate Muslims. In fact Ennahda are not moderates, it is an extremist party whose aim is to establish an Islamic state and apply the Sharia. The truly moderate Muslims are those who believe that religion is a personal matter and must not be instrumentalized by politics. They are the ones, and no one else, who will be able to counter the extremists through a tolerant Islam.

Yes, we can say that the main rampart against Islamist violence is a non political Islam, i.e. the exact opposite of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hala Abdennour

This post is also available in Français .