The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), an organization associated with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has issued a statement calling the French decision to ban him from the country “surprising and offensive to Muslims.” According to the announcement:
Brussels, 27 March 2012 Denying the eminent scholar al-Qaradawi permission to enter France is both surprising and offensive to Muslims. The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) received with great surprise the announcement by French officials of their intention to refuse to allow the eminent Muslim scholar, Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to enter France to attend the 29th Annual Meeting of France’s Muslims; a step coinciding with a reprehensible smear campaign in the media against this noble scholar, who commands wide respect. The Federation calls upon the French officials to reverse this step, which sends the wrong message, and offends Muslims in France, Europe, and abroad, as well as Muslim scholars in general. The Federation expresses its concern as to the implications of this step, which throws unfair moral burdens on France’s Muslims following the recent terrible crimes witnessed in Toulouse, whose victims were French citizens from different religious communities, among them Muslims. The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) considers this step not only offensive to the person of Shaykh Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, but to Muslims in France, Europe, and elsewhere, and to Muslim scholars generally, and harms efforts to achieve dialogue and understanding. Dr. al-Qaradawi is one of the most prominent Muslim scholars, and heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars, aside from the special place he enjoys with Europe’s Muslims, as President of the European Council of Fatwa and Research (ECFR), and as a well known advocate of dialogue between religions and cultures. The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe points out that all responsible parties in France and Europe are required to work at winning hearts, building bridges, and reinforcing mutual trust, as well as closing the door on those voices inciting discord and hostility, creating splits within our societies, and damaging relations between cultures. The Federation indicates that Muslims in France and Europe express extensive feelings of solidarity with Shaykh al-Qaradawi in face of these measures, which are contrary the essentials of common courtesy, given that he is the eminent scholar, renowned as an advocate of dialogue, champion of moderation, opponent of extremism, promoter of mutual understanding, and supporter of the integration and positive participation of Muslims in their European societies.
Qaradawi heads the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), one of FIOE’s central organizations. A post from yesterday reported that an association of Islamic scholars headed by Qaradawi had also criticized the French decision.
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.
A post from February discussed a trip to Gaza by FIOE President Chakib Ben Makhlouf where he visited Hamas facilities, praised Palestinian “martyrs, and visited the grave of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasine who was killed by Israel.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.