The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) received with great sorrow, the news of the death of the French thinker, Roger Garaudy, known to the world as a distinguished philosopher with a life of diverse contributions and interactions across the world. The late Roger Garaudy rose to prominence in the field of thought and philosophy, and for his opinions and stances, won many friends and opponents, from different schools of thought, in the distinct phases of his life. In addition, his embracing of the Islamic religion was a crowning moment in a journey distinguished by ideological diversity, which embodied a special place for him among the Muslims, who saw in him an example of the confluence of civilisations and cultures. Whether people agree or disagree with pioneering thinkers, they cannot in any way ignore the vibrant ideological and human life of a thinker, who spent close to a whole century of our lifetime, with a keen concern for achieving understanding between nations, and interaction between civilizations. The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe extends its condolences to the family of the great thinker, Roger Garaudy, his admirers, and the Muslim public in France, on the death of this man who left this world, yet lives on through his works, philosophical legacy, and humane example; we ask Allah, the Almighty, to receive him with His Bountiful Mercy, and to accept him among the righteous.
Brussels, 15 June 2012
The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe
The Anti-Defamation League explains the role of Garaudy in promoting Holocaust Denial in the Middle East:
The best known flare-up of Holocaust denial in the Middle East occurred in response to the trial of Roger Garaudy in France in 1998. Garaudy was charged with violating a 1990 French law that makes it illegal to deny historical events that have been designated as “crimes against humanity,” and with inciting racial hatred. These charges stemmed from his 1995 book, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel (Les mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne), in which he stated that there was no Nazi program of genocide during World War II, and that Jews essentially fabricated the Holocaust for their financial and political gain. Garaudy was convicted on these charges in 1998. Before, during and after the trial, he was hailed as a hero throughout the countries of the Middle East –the trial was covered by media from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Formerly Roman Catholic and Communist, Garaudy had converted to Islam in 1982, and married a Jerusalem-born Palestinian woman, but this alone did not explain the outpouring of support he received; the “revisionist” message of his book — whose Arabic translation was a best-seller in many of the region’s countries — clearly resonated across the region. The former president of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, announced in a sermon on Radio Tehran that his personal scholarship on the subject had convinced him that “Hitler had only killed 20,000 Jews and not six million,” and added that “Garaudy’s crime derives from the doubt he cast on Zionist propaganda.” The main establishment newspaper in Egypt, Al-Ahram, defended Garaudy in a March 14, 1998, article that argued that there is “no trace of the gas chambers” that are supposed to have existed in Germany, and that six million Jews could not have been killed in the Holocaust because “the Jews of Germany numbered less than two million” at the time. Numerous professional and social organizations throughout the region issued statements supporting Garaudy as well, including the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the Palestinian Writers Association, the Jordanian Arab Organization for Human Rights, the Qatar Women’s Youth Organization, the Federation of Egyptian Writers and the Union of Arab Artists. Support for Garaudy did not end merely with words. Seven members of the Beirut Bar Association volunteered to defend the writer in France, and Egypt’s Arab Lawyers’ Union also dispatched a five-man legal team to Paris in Garaudy’s support. The United Arab Emirates daily, Al-Haleej, was inundated with contributions and messages of support for Garaudy after it published an appeal on his behalf. The most surprising contribution came from the wife of United Arab Emirates leader Sheikh Zayed ibn Sultan al-Nahayan, who gave the equivalent of $50,000, in cash, to cover the maximum fine that Garaudy would be required to pay if found guilty….Possibly inspired by the outpouring of support for Garaudy, other Holocaust deniers have also cultivated contacts in the Muslim world.
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.