European Muslim Brotherhood Says Islam Protects Religious FreedomBy
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) has issued a statement asserting that “Islam elevates the issue of religious freedom, and protects places of worship belonging to religious communities from any vandalism or violation, and rejects coercion in religion, giving Man the right to choose their creed.” According to the FIOE statement:
Brussels – The Citizenship and Public Affairs Department in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) urged the protection of diversity, and reinforcement of human rights and gains of citizenship in countries in the Muslim world, as well as achieving security and peace of mind for Muslims and non-Muslims. Commenting on the series of developments and events witnessed in some Muslim countries recently, and the feelings of fear provoked regarding the religious freedom of non-Muslim communities, the Citizenship and Public Affairs Department pointed out in a written press release that ‘Islam elevates the issue of religious freedom, and protects places of worship belonging to religious communities from any vandalism or violation, and rejects coercion in religion, giving Man the right to choose their creed’. The Department in its press release stated: ‘needless to say that Islam recognises the principle of diversity and difference existing between people, and is not at all uncomfortable with the reality of religious and cultural diversity existing among them, rather it invites to mutual recognition, cooperation, and complementarity between the constituents of the one society, and the larger human family on the basis of mutual respect'; as asserted. The Department explained in this regard: ‘sometimes, reprehensible developments or steps may occur, which cannot represent the teachings of Islam, or the reality existing in the Muslim world in the past and present, in terms of respect for freedom of religious belief and ritual practice, and the preservation of places of worship. In contrast, in some media reports, scattered incidents and unrepresentative statements may be blown out of proportion, which may paint a negative, and unrealistic picture of the conditions of religious communities in Muslim countries’. The Department, belonging to the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, invited Muslim scholars, intellectuals, media professionals, and decision-makers, to ‘express the tolerance of Islam, reassure partners in citizenship from religious communities, cooperate to protect places of worship from any vandalism or attack, achieve security in societies, and rectify positions and statements so as to be in harmony with the teachings of Islam, and human and civilisational values'; as mentioned in the statement.”
A report on FIOE by the NEFA Foundation describes the organization as follows:
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) claims to be an independent organization representing the interests of Muslims in Europe. In reality, the FIOE is an umbrella group that comprises the global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Strong links connect FIOE’s leadership central institutions and member organizations to the Brotherhood, as well as to Saudi Arabia. Funding for the FIOE is derived largely from Gulf sources, including some of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates. The FIOE has strong ties to Hamas and Hamas fund-raising organizations, and some FIOE member organizations show evidence of links with Al-Qaida. The FIOE recently opened a headquarters office in Brussels and has had some success in positioning itself as a “dialog partner” for the EU and other important institutions.
A recent post discussed the vista of the FIOE president to the Gaza Strip on an extended tour where he visited Hamas facilities, praised Palestinian “martyrs, and visited the grave of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasine who was killed by Israel. In August 2011, another post discussed a seminar featuring Dr. Sultan, a virulent anti-Semite, and sponsored by the European Assembly for Imams and Spiritual Guides, closely associated with FIOE.