The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) has announced that it has elected Abdallah Benmansour as its new President. According to the announcement:
The General Meeting of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe has elected Mr Abdallah Benmansour as new President of the Federation. He succeeds Mr Chakuib Benmakhlouf, whose term of leadership of the Federation ended after completing two executive terms.
Mr Abdallah Benmansour from France has previously occupied a number of leadership posts in the Federation Shura Council and Executive Office in several executive terms. He also previously held the post of Secretary-General of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), and has long experience in the area of institutional work on the European scene. Mr Abdallah Benmansour has made diverse contributions in the areas of inter-civilisational communication and media and public relations, and has participated in many public meetings, and workshops of intellectual nature, as well as dialogues with the youth.
Convened from 6-8 February in Istanbul, the First General Meeting in the 10th Executive Term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe held elections, and also approved the narrative report for the Executive Office at the end of the Ninth Term. The Constitution and Byelaws of the Federation stipulate a maximum time in office for the Federation President of two consecutive terms, each of four years duration.
Following the balloting process among several candidates, as proposed by the General Meeting, Mr Chakuib Benmakhlouf, ending his second term in office, expressed his hope and supplication to Allah, the Almighty, to grant success to the new Federation President in bearing the responsibility of leadership. In turn, Mr Abdallah Benmansour expressed his appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Executive Office in the previous term, pledging to continue development in the trajectory of the Federation, and striving to achieve new successes and gains for Europe’s Muslims, while reinforcing communication and cooperation with civil society.
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A confidential source provides the following background information on Abdallah Benmansour:
Abdallah Benmansour was one of the co-founders of the UOIF in 1983 when he was described as a student from Tunisia. In 1989, Mansour and Ahmed Jaballah, Secretary-General and President of the UOIF respectively, visited the headmaster of the College of Creil Oise in order to persuade him to reinstate three young women who had been suspended from the school over wearing the hijab. They carried a hidden tape recorder in order to try and entrap the headmaster into making incriminating remarks. However, the operation was discovered when the tape recorder made noises inside the bag that Mr. Mansour was carrying. They later began a mail campaign to important French politicians including the French prime minister explaining that the veil is required by the Koran. In 1993, Abdallah Ben Mansour resigned as Secretary General of the UOIF and was replaced by Lhaj Thami Breze as President and Fouad Alaoui as Secretary-General. In April 2003, Mr. Mansour attracted substantial worldwide media attention when he compared the law requiring French Muslim women to remove their headscarves for identity photographs to the Nazi decree that forced Jews to wear a yellow star.
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 has known to have come 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 has a headquarters office in Brussels and has had some success in positioning itself as a “dialog partner” for the EU and other important institutions. Ayman Ali, known to have served as the FIOE Secretary-General, was selected in August 2012 as one of Dr. Morsi’s four Presidential advisers. In February 2013, an Egyptian newspaper identified Dr. Ali as a senior member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau.