The leader of the French Muslim Brotherhood group known as the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF) has weighed in with his comments on the recent remarks by Pope Benedict VXI’s private secretary Georg Gaenswein to a German newspaper regarding Islam and Europe. As a previous post has discussed, Gaenswein warned of the dangers of what he called “The attempts at Islamization of the West.” In his comments, Lhaj Thami Breze, the chairman of the UOIF told Islam Online:
Muslims should not be blamed for the spread of their religion in the West. ‘The Westerners are not coerced into embracing Islam,’ he told IOL. ‘They accept the Muslim faith out of their own volition in a region based on freedoms and secularism.” He said Muslims in Europe do not have a hidden agenda. ‘They are promoting values of much-stereotyped Islam publicly, he said. ‘They don’t have a magic wand to convert people,’ he added, laughing. But Breze said that the statements made by Gaenswein reflect Vatican’s fears of a spreading Islam. ‘But I don’t why on earth they are alarmed despite the fact that churches do have much more potentials and resources compared to mosques and Islamic center in Europe,” he said.
Breze and Fouad Alaoui took over the leadership of the UOIF in 1993 and were known as the ‘Bordelaise Clan’, a reference to the French town in which they met as students. They were generally regarded as more moderate than their predecessors Abdallah Ben Mansour and Ahmed Jaballah who are both serving as officers of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE). Foud Alaoui, the current Secretary-General of the UOIF, is also a FIOE officer.