FIOE Weighs In On Swedish Cartoon Affair, Acknowledges Management Changes


A previous post discussed a report that the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, is planning a fatwa to counter the recent death threat issued by Al Qaida against the Swedish artist and editor of a newspaper that a last month printed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with the head of a dog. A new report from an Islamic news portal carries comments by the new head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the parent group of the ECFR, which also condemned the Al Qaida threat:

The president of the Brussels-based the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), Chakib Benmakhlouf, also strongly condemned the threats. “Islam has taught us to respect covenants and agreements, and made the lives of others and their honor a red line,” he said in a statement e-mailed to IslamOnline. “Al-Qaeda statements, to the contrary, came to add fuel to the flames,” he insisted. “Such statements run counter to religion and reason and help blemish the shining image that European Muslims have endeavored to paint over the past decades.” Chakib said the remarks fuel anti-Muslim campaigns and malicious plots to impose more restrictions on Muslims in the continent. He paid tribute to both the Swedish government and Muslims for their astute handling of the crisis. “Swedish authorities and Muslims joined forces to defuse the crisis,” read the statement. “The crisis has not been escalated and should not be exploited to harm social harmony enjoyed by European societies.” Chakib also urged Muslims in the West and Europe in particular to respect law and act in line with representative organizations in their societies. “We should steer clear of any act that tarnishes the image of Islam and does more harm than good to Muslims.

As a previous post observed, a Swedish Muslim Brotherhood organization played a role in fomenting the controversy and while both FIOE and the affiliated ECFR are also Muslim Brotherhood groups, it is not unusual to see one Brotherhood group foster a crisis while another plays the role of responsible party, a “good cop/bad cop” strategy seen commonly in the global organization.

It should be also noted that this is the first known time that FIOE, an EU-level Muslim Brotherhood organization, has mentioned its new President and Brussels headquarters, changes which were reported in a June post. Based on non-public FIOE documents, the organization appears to be undergoing a series of management changes that are a challenge to analyze given the non-transparent manner in which the organization operates as typified by its failure to publicly report the change of its leader/location as well as a less than informative website which has not been updated since February.

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