Islam Online has reported that the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the umbrella body for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, has announced the formation of a new body to train European imams. According to the report:
Imams from 28 European countries crowned a two-day conference in the Belgian capital Brussels with the launch of an independent, self-regulatory body to train imams across the continent.”The European Assembly of Muslim Imams is a milestone step to bolster the role of imams in their societies and defend their rights,” they said in a final state mailed to IslamOnline.net. Championed by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), more than 120 imams attended the constituent conference in Brussels. The new assembly will be headquartered in Brussels with branches in all European countries. It will seek to unify efforts of European imams on matters of religious guidance and other societal issues. The body will also seek to promote inter-faith and inter-culture dialogue and bridge the gap between different religious Muslim schools of thought. “The Assembly is a new achievement for Europe that will help maintain stability of its societies,” read the statement. “It will help imams fulfill their duties and seek promotion of the European-Islamic identity.” The statement said that women will play a leading role in the new assembly for imams. “The assembly gives priority to women’s participation in its activities as part of a concerted effort to consolidate the principle of citizenship,” it stressed. Recognizing that imams play a leading role in promoting social cohesion, the new body will focus on enhancing their skills and knowledge of European history….The FIOE said the launch of the imams’ body is the latest effort by European Muslims to promote integration into European societies. “The assembly will help remove obstacles to Muslims’ effective, positive participation in Europe as citizens.”
The new body likely reflects the failure of the European Institute for Human Sciences, a FIOE -sponsored theological training facility with campuses in France and the U.K. that was established in the 1990’s. A previous post discussed the low graduation rate of the EIHS. The choice of Brussels as a headquarters for the new body is an indication of the growing importance of the city to FIOE which recently moved its headquarters there from the U.K. An earlier post described the January meeting in Brussels hosted by FIOE where 400 European Muslim organizations were said to have signed the “Muslims of Europe Charter“, a code of conduct with rules rules for the Muslims living in Europe. FIOE itself is the umbrella organization representing some 28 Muslim Brotherhood network organizations in Europe, Turkey and Russia.