The global Muslim Brotherhood continues to react to the Swiss decision to ban new minaret construction. Gulf media reported that Mohammed Mahdi Akef, “the Supreme Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, said “the vote ran against international customs, human rights, and religious freedom.”The same media reported on the reaction of a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan.
In Pakistan Khurshid Ahmad, vice president of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, said the restriction “reflects extreme Islamophobia” and “represents very serious discrimination against Muslims.” Indeed, he continued, it is “an effort to provoke Muslims and prompt a clash between Islam and the West.” Yahya Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, complained that “This new decision violates the principles of mutual understanding and religious tolerance.”
Previous posts have discussed the ties between Jamaat-e-Islami and the global Muslim Brotherhood and Khurshid Ahmed has held held positions or had ties to both the U.S., U.K., and German Muslim Brotherhoods.
In an attempt to portray a common position as widespread among European Muslim leaders, Islam Online reported the reactions of the following individuals:
The success of Switzerland’s rightists to ban the building of mosque minarets would spill over Europe and encourage right-wing parties to seek more restrictions on Muslim minorities in the West, Muslim leaders have warned. “The Swiss ban would encourage rightists in other countries to take similar steps,” Dr. Nadeem Elyas, Chairman of the Higher Council for Muslims in Germany, told IslamOnline.net Friday, December 4….“It is a grave sign on the rise of the rightists,” Elyas said. “It also reflects the indifference of many classes in European societies to what is going on in their societies.”….“We ask Muslim countries and peoples to wisely deal with the issue and not to leave European Muslims deal with the situation by themselves,” said Elyas.
“The ban has been cheered by Europe’s right-wing parties,” Yahia Bouyafa, chairman of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in the Netherlands, said….“Muslims should abide by the tenets of Islam, close their ranks and give up acts that tarnish the image of the faith,” Bouyafa, chairman of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in the Netherlands, told IOL. He also called on Muslims to hold dialogue with NGOs and civil society organizations in the West to help show off their faith. “Muslims should also seek the support of religious and rights organizations to defend the rights of the religious minorities,” he said.
“We hear voices demanding similar referendums,” Ali Ali Abu Shwaima, the leader of the Islamic Center in Milan, citing efforts by the right-wing Northern League to seek a similar ban on minarets in Italy…..The Italian Muslim leader blamed wrong behavior by some Muslims for tarnishing the faith image.“This plays into the hands of the right-wing to fuel anti-Muslim campaigns.”“European Muslims don’t exert enough efforts to show the true and tolerant image of Islam to European societies,” Abu Shwaima said.
Mahmoud Khalfi, chairman of the Islamic Association of Sweden, agrees. “There is a growing drive against Islam across Europe,” he said, saying the minaret ban reflects a hidden hatred to any Islamic symbol in Europe.“Muslims should exercise self-restraint and work to show the bright image of the faith,” Khalfi said. …..“Muslims should exercise self-restraint and work to show the bright image of the faith,” he said. The Swedish Muslim leader urged Muslim minorities across Europe to expose the negative aspects of the anti-Muslim campaigns by the right-wing. “This would help win Muslims the sympathy of their societies and help isolate the right-wingers.”….Khalfi, the Swedish Muslim leaders, echoes a similar call. “Muslim countries can act to highlight the need to protect the rights of the minorities,” he said. “Muslim countries can also underline that such anti-Muslim initiatives leave the European economic interests at risk.”
However, all four individuals are linked to a common network of European Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) and the Union of Good.
Finally, Chinese media reported on a statement by the Muslim World League:
The Muslim World League (MWL) said on Saturday it appreciates efforts exerted by Swiss President Hans- Rudolf Merz and his government to prevent a ban on building new mosque minarets in the country, Saudi Press Agency reported.MWL Secretary General Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Turki said in a statement the Swiss president’s call on his people not to respond to racists’ urge for voting against building new minarets and the Swiss government’s rejection of the ban as well as the European condemnation have reassured Muslims and proved the governments of Europe confront racist trends through promoting anti-discrimination laws….The MWL chief’s statement also hailed stance adopted by Swiss clergymen which rejected the ban. He warned against the threats posed by acts of what he called “extremist racial parties” to interfaith dialogue between Muslims and followers of other religions. Turki condemned anti-Islam media campaigns launched by some racists in Switzerland which aimed, he said, to tarnish the image of Muslims. He also condemned attacks against some Islamic institutions and mosques in the country, referring to two assaults prior to a referendum on banning minarets. The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) also expressed concerns over the minaret ban, Turki said, affirming that Islamic communities coexist with Europeans and contribute to the development there.
The Muslim World League was established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and, to date, the League has been strongly with the Brotherhood. The MWL, together with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), are Saudi organizations believed by U.S. government officials to have helped to spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India.