FIOE Supports IslamOnline Strikers; Egyptian Brotherhood Distances


The Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE) has issued a strong statement of support for the striking employees of IslamOnline. According to the statement:

In a statement issued by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the Federation expressed its concern over the news that was circulating about the escalation of issues at Islam Online in such a way that foreboded a regression in its role as a pioneer, which was often felt by the Muslims of Europe as being the lifeline connecting them to the Islamic world. The Federation, which includes in its membership hundreds of Islamic organizations and institutions which work in approximately 30 countries, stressed that the site of Islam Online supported the Federation in its projects of tolerance in Europe. The Federation in its statement considered the site Islam Online to be a partner in achieving the vision and message of the Muslims of Europe towards their religion and their western societies. This partnership was clear during the Muslim Family campaign in Europe throughout 2009. For all these reasons “we send this message to all those concerned at the Balagh Cultural Society to find a way to overcome the crisis to protect the human value and the abilities and creative potential that gained experience through their work at Islam by true exposure to the status of Muslims” as per the statement of the Federation.

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.

According to an Egyptian newspaper however, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to distance itself somewhat from the IslamOnline crisis. According to a report in Bikya Masr:

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to distance itself from the Islam Online crisis. Spokesman and Executive Bureau member Mohamed Morsy said in a press statement that linking the country’s largest opposition group to the battle over the website is “an error.” Morsy said the group “rejected attempts to link the crisi of the Islam Online website.” According to the group’s English language website Ikhwanweb, he rebuffed the attempt “by some to associate the MB in the issue,” stressing that they had “nothing to do with the matter.” However, while attempting to distance the Brotherhood from the crisis, he did give a show of support for the embattled workers from IOL. He called on the website’s management to “expedite steps to put an end to this crisis so that the news website may resume its activities.” Islam Online has been under fire since employees began a sit-in earlier this month demanding their editorial and contractual rights be upheld by the new al-Balagh board that had taken over the company. Morsy asserted that IOL was a “respectable website, which contributed much to the global Islamic media.” He added that the MB is always “working to expand and encourage media freedom through legitimate channels. “The Muslim Brotherhood expresses its utmost sympathy with the staff of Cairo-based Islamonline website,” Morsy said. He added that the significance in preserving the material and moral rights of the employees who are still waiting to see the outcome of the crisis. He added that the “MB policy opposes any attempts to harass individuals or destroy their means of livelihood.”

The Egyptian Brotherhood web site has also published a detailed chronology of the crisis.

Earlier posts have reported on the strike being carried out by Egyptian employes of IslamOnline who claim that Qatar plans to control the site and impose a new editorial policy on it. IOL is probably the most prominent and influential media outlet of the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

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