Muslims of Europe Organize the Inauguration Conference of the European Authority for the Defense of Muslim Rights in Brussels On the initiative of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe the Inauguration Conference for the European Authority for the Defense of Muslims Rights was held in Brussels on December 19th 2009. Many experts in law and many Muslim activists were invited to join this event from all European regions. This initiative comes in response to the rising wave of Islamophobia, which has become a challenge to the Islamic presence in Europe and a dangerous threat to the rights of Muslims in the region. This step was expedited by the murder of Dr.Marwa El Sherbiny, on the grounds of her being a Muslim, which was made clear by the villain in court, and the recent referendum results in Switzerland. What is despicable in both cases is that the European standpoint did not blanch at wasting a human life or subjecting a civil right to the voting process, which indicates a dangerous decline in the level of Muslim rights in Europe and beyond. In a telephone conversation with the Federation of Islamic Organizations, Dr.Fouad Elawy the Head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in France mentioned that the aim of this initiative is to take the responsibility of defending the rights of Muslims from the level of public organizations to the level of a specialized organization run by lawyers capable of protecting these rights, and to warn European communities of the danger of ignoring the rights of minorities. It is expected that the conference will attract European and international media presence, due to the importance of the topic, and its relation to the Islamic status in Europe, and the interest taken by Europe and the world in the hardships facing the Muslims of Europe with regards to their rights.
Islam Online provides further details on the new organization:
Muslims activists from 26 European countries have come together to launch the first rights association to enlighten European Muslims about their rights, monitor rising Islamophobia and defend Muslim rights in European courts of law. “We think European human rights groups are not doing enough to defend the rights of Muslims,” Ali Abu Shwaima, the director of the Islamic Center in Milano, told IslamOnline.net on Monday, December 21. “Therefore we though that we need this new association, especially that all laws and constitutions in Europe respect freedom of religion and oppose all forms of discrimination and racism.” The Association for European Muslims Rights was launched Sunday, December 20, in the Belgian capital Brussels. Abu Shwaima said the launch was attended by activists from nearly 26 European countries. The participants had formed a general committee to elect the association steering team. The association would include four committees for violations monitoring, media outreach, governmental liaison and financial issues. “We are now seeking to register the association with European countries and the European Union,” Abu Shwaima. “We have taken into consideration that the association’s statues confirm with laws in all European countries to avoid any registration problems.” The launch of the new body was attended by activists from nearly 26 European countries.The fledging association seeks to play multiple roles in serving Muslims in Europe, estimated at nearly 25 millions. “The association will seek to enhance Muslims’ awareness of their rights under the laws and constitutions of their European countries,” says Abu Shwaima, a founding member. “This could help abort far-rightists’ attempts to deprive them of such rights.”….”The association will also monitor violations of Muslims’ rights in view of rising Islamophobia in Europe,” says Abu Shwaima. “It intends to use the media to defend Muslim rights as well as highlight Muslim contributions to European societies in the cultural, economic and sports fields.” The association also plans to take Muslim grievances to European courts of law through a group of lawyers and legal experts. “We will coordinate and cooperate with EU organizations, especially those that people can resort to when authorities in their own countries fail to protect their rights,” says Abu Shwaima.
In 1998, Dr. Ali Abu Shwaima, an Italian Brotherhood leader and former FIOE officer was implicated in the operation of a clandestine circumcision clinic where operations were performed in unsanitary conditions. Dr. Shwaima was sentenced to five months in prison in connection with these activities.
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.
Previous posts have discussed the role of FIOE in alleging various Israeli conspiracies to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Swiss FIOE member organization’s speaking invitation to an individual known for virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American comments.