Islam Online is reporting on the visit of three European Muslim Brotherhood leaders to Brussels in the last week of February. According to the report:
In the last week of February, Brussels hosted several Islamic meetings attended by famous voices of Islam in Europe — Tariq Ramadan from Oxford, Tareq Oubrou from Bordeaux, and Hani Ramadan from Geneva, to name just a few. On Friday, February 26, Tariq Ramadan had an audience of more than 400 persons at an auditorium at the Islamic Center of Brussels. The European Muslim Network (EMN), headed by Tariq, organized a discussion on discrimination with some panelists. The first panelist, Ann Isabelle Von Lingen, talked about perception and the relation with the “other.” The second one, Inès Wouters, presented the issue from a legal perspective. Finally, Tariq deconstructed the reality of discrimination in many parts of society and censured Muslim victimization. Tariq advocated the notion of a Muslim citizenship that deals with its specific context, contributes to society, and conforms to the law. The discussion was followed by Tariq’s presentation dedicated to Muslim manhood. Tareq Oubrou visited Brussels and Liège and stayed there for three days. On Thursday, the 25th, he met 30 Muslim intellectuals at the Islamic Center of Brussels in an informal event dedicated to discussing his book Profession: Imam (published by Albin Michel in 2009). The discussion reached a higher level, and the partial deconstruction of the author’s conception opened a new perspective for participants. The variety of profiles permitted the discussion of different themes: secularization and practice of Islam in Europe, the status of the imam in France and in Europe, Usul Al-Fiqh (i.e., principles of jurisprudence), and last but not least the topic of hijab. On Friday 26, in Liège, a third of participants were Christians, and their conclusions reflected a real appreciation that a Muslim imam, Oubrou, dealt with the sensibility of their religion and with crossing bridges. On Saturday 27, Oubrou was invited by one of the biggest mosques in Brussels, El-Mouahiddine, to talk about spirituality and the necessary relation with the transcendent. The event was convivial and opened the door to exploring the reality of Muslims present in Europe. The eternal question, hijab, was considered by Oubrou not a major practice in Islam, not a matter of cult, but one of culture (or mu’amalat in Arabic). The Asbl Unis Vers Cité (an organization of Muslim students) received the latest presentation by Oubrou in Brussels, Saturday evening. More than a hundred persons attended, and the presentation was about the concept of tawheed (i.e. monotheism). But most of the questions were again related to hijab. Last but not least, Saturday morning (February 27), Hani Ramadan (brother of Tariq Ramadan) spoke at “For a Good Comprehension of Islam: the Major Characteristics of Islam,” a seminar organized by the League of Islamic Mutual Aid. On the same day, after Al-‘Asr Prayer, the Cultural and Islamic Center of Brussels hosted Hani for a presentation on the impact of faith on everyday life.
A NEFA Foundation report identifies the Islamic Center of Brussels as chaired by the Saudi Ambassador and receiving most of it’s funding from the Saudi Muslim World League, a Saudi religious organization closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood.
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV. Previous posts have discussed Ramadan’s scheduled speaking appearances in the U.S. sponsored by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations.
Tareq (aka Tariq) Oubrou was born in Morocco and is the director of the Bordeaux Mosque and president of the Association of the Imams of France. He is associated with the Union des organisations islamiques en France (UOIF), generally regarded as representing the Muslim Brotherhood in France.
Hani Ramadan is the brother of Tariq Ramadan and the head of the Islamic Center of Geneva, founded by their father. Hani Ramadan is also a member of the board of the Swiss member of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella organization for Europe of which the UOIF is also a member. He is a frequent speaker at mosques associated with the UOIF and, as a previous post reported, will receive about $230,000 in damages as a result of being fired from a Swiss school for remarks he made defending stoning as an Islamic punishment in an article for a French newspaper.