FIOE congratulates the Muslims on the advent of Eid-ul-Adha and the Hajj season

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) offers its fulsome congratulations to Muslims and Islamic organisations across Europe on the advent of the blessed Eid-ul-Adha (1433H) and the Hajj.

These blessed days carry within them many noble meanings relating to faith, humanity, and society. Indeed, whenever Muslims celebrate Eid, they find this an occasion to demonstrate their mutual support, solidarity, and sense of equality, as well as bring happiness to the young, foster mutual compassion among adults, and cement good relations with neighbours, friends, and colleagues in European societies.

Tens of thousands of Europe’s Muslims have travelled to the holy land—Makkah and its environs, to perform the rites of Hajj in these days. Thus, the Federation asks Allah, the Almighty, to accept of them, and their brothers and sisters from all corners of the world, as they circle the great House of Allah—the Ka’bah, stand on the plain of Arafat, and devote themselves to prayer and supplication at the sacred sites; may Allah record their Hajj as pure, their effort as rewarded, and their sins as forgiven, and that they return safely to their families and European homelands, as messengers of goodwill and kindness as guided by Islam.

No doubt that the joy of Eid is tinged by pain and distress at the tragic circumstances suffered by Muslim peoples in many parts of the world, especially Syria and Myanmar, as well as the escalating attacks on the Palestinian people, and violations against the city of Jerusalem, by the Israeli occupation. Therefore, Eid is an opportunity for fraternal solidarity with Muslims in areas of crisis, and with the disaster-stricken, the oppressed, and the deprived in our large human family worldwide.

On this occasion, the Federation hopes for success in advancing cooperation, cohesion, and unity between Europe’s Muslims, and that Allah, the Almighty, preserve the European lands in peace and safety, with greater prosperity, mutual understanding, and solidarity in all European and human societies.

Brussels, 26 October 2012 (10 Dhul Hijjah 1433H)

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe

FIOE: Final Statement of the 5th Shoura Council (9th Term)

The fifth Shoura Council in the ninth term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was held, with the blessing and aid of Allah, from 11-14 October 2012 (25-28 Dhul Qa’idah 1433H) in the city of Istanbul. The Council convened this ordinary meeting, with the participation of the Federation leadership, and representatives of member organisations in the majority of European countries.

The Council deliberated over the developments in the Federation’s work, and the progress in administrative tasks; it also discussed the performance of the Federation, its bodies, and member organisations, considering the achievements realised as motivation for further advances in positive efforts and initiatives. The Council set aside part of the proceedings to review Federation performance over the past decade, and the horizons for potential development in the coming phase.

In line with the resolutions ratified in the current term regarding regulatory changes, the proceedings included election of the governing body for the Federation Shoura Council, comprising Samir Faleh (President), and membership of Basil Mar’i, and Dr. Omar al-Hamdoun. The Shoura Council expresses its gratitude to the Executive Office for the efforts exerted throughout the period in which it assumed the Council presidency and conducted its business.

The Council also discussed the situation in Europe, and the affairs of Muslims on the Continent, as well as related issues and concerns. The Council also considered means of reinforcing cooperation and coordination with partners in citizenship in Europe, and developing participation in societal dialogue, as well as continuing to strive to serve Europe’s Muslims, and contributing to assuring the public interest of European societies.

The Council, at the close of proceedings, articulates the following positions and directives:

First: the Council urges Europe’s Muslims—groups, organisations, and individuals, to adhere to the principles and teachings of Islam, to embody good citizenship and positive examples in their daily life, and to provide the best expression of the spirit of positive communication and noble manners, while participating effectively in the service of their societies, and striving for their prosperity. The Council invites Europe’s Muslims to further develop their cooperative and coordinated efforts in diverse fields, while reinforcing serious communication, and constructive partnership with the constituents of European societies.

Second: the Council expresses its deep distress regarding the wave of abuse and defamation targeting Islamic sanctities and religious values, undermining understanding between the diverse constituents of human society. The Council notes that these reprehensible acts persist in provoking and offending the feelings of Muslim peoples and communities, and are contrary to human values, the decrees of religions, and the stipulations of many conventions. The Council salutes the mature and wise response by Europe’s Muslims to these abuses through civic action and tools of the state of law, as well as efforts to spread awareness and enlightenment, thus denying the opportunity to those intent on stirring animosity and hostility. The Council welcomes the various positive positions expressed by governments, institutions, officials, and personalities, in denouncing the acts of vilification and defamation.

Third: the Council draws attention to the importance of respect for the religious rights of Europe’s Muslims in the specifications of meat and foodstuffs. The Council expresses its concern regarding attempts to discriminate against Muslims in the area of Halal meat; it is unacceptable for any restrictions or measures to be imposed that violate the right of Muslims to obtain meat and foodstuffs compliant with the stipulations of the teachings of Islam.

Fourth: the Council expresses surprise at the uproar in some European countries over the circumcision of male children. This is cause for concern given the negative consequences of extending the culture of prohibition to more areas, among them circumcision of male children, which has been a religious ritual in a number of faith groups for thousands of years. The Council as it warns of the perils inherent in the trend of interfering in the specificities of the religious practice of faith groups, emphasises that Europe’s Muslims and their organisations reject any form of infringement on religious freedom, while adhering to the necessary health and humane standards in this regard; indeed, any difficulties in application may be dealt with through dialogue among experts on the matter.

Fifth: the Council follows the developments in the financial crisis in a number of European countries, and the consequent rise in levels of poverty, unemployment and social stress. The Council urges development of optimal solutions for the social dimensions of the economic crisis, redoubled efforts in cooperating to find solutions to the dilemmas and difficulties faced by European societies, and contribution to responding to the various shared societal challenges. The Council emphasises the importance of reinforcing solidarity and mutual support among the constituents of society in confronting this challenge, and urges Islamic organisations in Europe to establish constructive collaboration with partners in the European countries,

Sixth: the Council remains abreast of the developments of the economic crisis in Greece, and shares in the concern of the Greek people, as well as expressing alarm regarding news of attacks and acts of terror of a racist nature attributed to extremist groups perpetrated against some inhabitants, which require that the relevant authorities take appropriate measures to deter them.

Seventh: the Council congratulates the European Union on receiving the Nobel Peace prize, and considers this an indication of the importance of the experiment in European union in entrenching a model of peace, reconciliation, and constructive integration. Indeed, this new gain emphasises the responsibility falling on the shoulders of Europe in deepening the culture of diversity and social peace internally, and effective contribution to supporting accord and understanding between nations, peoples, and cultures worldwide.

Eighth: the Council expresses its shock over the extent of atrocities perpetrated against the Syrian people by the ruling regime and its forces, seeking to put down the revolution, in its demand for freedom, democratic change, and an end to tyranny. The Council emphasises its fraternal solidarity with the Syrian people, and deplores the powerlessness and lack of resolve in face of the terrible violations committed by the Syrian regime and its machinery of repression for the last nineteen months.

Ninth: the Council follows the dangerous developments in the level of attack by the Israeli occupation’s authorities, forces, and extremist gangs on the city of Jerusalem, and its Islamic and Christian sanctities, historic features, and civilisational identity. The Council takes especial note of the repeated incursions by the occupation forces on the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, attacks on the worshippers inside, and violation of the sacred Islamic character of this landmark. The Council also condemns the attacks by the extremist occupation gangs on churches in Jerusalem, and the writing of vile graffiti insulting Jesus peace be upon him. The Council draws attention to these developments, which emphasise the necessity to end the Israeli occupation, support the immutable rights of the Palestinian people, and fulfil their just demands without delay. Moreover, the Council condemns the occupation’s repeated attacks on the Gaza Strip, and the continuation of the unjust blockade on the inhabitants.

Tenth: the Council observes with concern the repression, and expulsion of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, in violations rising to the level of ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and denial of the right to citizenship and safe life. The Council demands that the authorities in Myanmar put an end to these grave violations, which must not be allowed in a civilised world, and that European and international bodies adopt positions to deter any such atrocities or violations. The Council calls for activities in solidarity with the repressed in Myanmar be organised, and that aid be provided to the displaced and to the families of victims.

Twelfth: the Council congratulates Europe’s Muslims on the advent of the season of Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, where tens of thousands of Muslims from around the continent travel to the sacred land to perform the rites of Hajj, embodying the values of faith, brotherhood, equality, mutual compassion, and good works; we supplicate to Allah, the Almighty, for their safe return to their European lands, and that Allah accepts of them this ritual—a pure Hajj, commended effort, and forgiven sins.

Close of proceedings of FIOE Shoura Council in Istanbul

The fifth Shoura Council in the ninth term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was held, from 11-14 October 2012 in Istanbul. The Council convened this ordinary meeting, with the participation of the Federation leadership, and representatives of member organisations in the majority of European countries.

The Council deliberated over the developments in the Federation’s work, and the progress in administrative tasks; it also discussed the performance of the Federation, its bodies, and member organisations, considering the achievements realised as motivation for further advances in positive efforts and initiatives. The Council set aside part of the proceedings to review Federation performance over the past decade, and the horizons for potential development in the coming phase.

In line with the resolutions ratified in the current term regarding regulatory changes, the proceedings included election of the governing body for the Federation Shoura Council, comprising Samir Faleh (President), and membership

FOIE: memorandum regarding the wave of hate directed against Islamic sanctities

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) follows with deep distress and concern the wave of abuse and defamation targeting Islamic sanctities and religious values through some despicable media productions. These persist in provoking the feelings, and offending the dignity of Muslim peoples and communities around the world, contrary to shared human values, the decrees of religions, and the stipulations of many conventions.

In the aftermath of the appearance of a reprehensible film in the United States, and the publication by a French newspaper of hate-filled cartoons, in addition to a number of other developing incidents, the Federation expresses its strong condemnation of this repeating trend in attempts to vilify the noble Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Federation considers that these heinous works represent practices reproduced from ages of darkness and ignorance, intent on disseminating hate, and promoting antipathy between followers of religions through cheap insult of God’s noble Messengers and Prophets, peace be upon them.

At a time when the world needs to reinforce the culture of harmony, and strengthen the ties of mutual understanding, the Federation warns of the perils embodied in the acts of defamation, incitement, and abuse targeting the Muslim religion and its sanctities, which deeply offend the feelings of Muslims. Such abusive acts include the production of hate films, burning copies of the noble Quran, and publishing insulting cartoons of the noble Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, or other noble Prophets and Messengers. The Federation demands that such abusive practices are confronted, as a duty shouldered by all parties within the single social context and shared human environment.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, in reminding of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/65/224, “Combating defamation of religions”, issued on 21 December 2010, invites international and regional bodies, governments, and specialist organisations to take all necessary steps to combat systematic practices of defamation, incitement, and hate.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe emphasises that freedom of expression as well as the right to discuss and express critical views are among the gains secured by humanity that are worthy of respect and protection. Yet, it is not right that such gains are used irresponsibly, as lame excuses to vilify religions, desecrate sanctities, defame cultures, or practice incitement against brothers in humanity and partners in society, let alone disseminating hate speech, fomenting antipathy, and offending the feelings of followers of religions.

The Federation considers that the changes witnessed in communication environments globally impose greater principled obligations, and moral responsibilities on the part of effective actors in the media and culture sectors. It is the responsibility of all parties worldwide to empower peoples and communities on this planet, enabling them to come to know one another on the basis of mutual respect, to enjoy the fruits of human diversity, and to reject racist expressions, prejudgements, and stereotypes, in favour of a spirit of openness, exchange, and understanding.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe renews its condemnation of any aggression targeting the innocent, including diplomatic bodies, as this entails a violation of religious injunctions, moral principles, and diplomatic conventions. The Federation warns that committing despicable insults against Islamic sanctities from any quarter, regardless, cannot justify attacking embassies, spilling the blood of diplomats, and causing innocent victims to fall; these represent a trespass on the teachings of Islam, which stipulate protection for these envoys, even in times of war, and safeguard the lives of protected persons. The Federation emphasises that these attacks and acts of violence represent a wrong response to provocative abuses, and are contrary to the teachings of the noble Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, as well as fomenting malice and feeding negative stereotypes.

Our human societies are expected, through means that include effective civil action, the tools available in a state of law, and efforts to spread awareness and enlightenment, to courageously confront these attempts to spread animosity, and vilify sanctities, religions, and cultural specificities. It is for the good of all concerned to close the door on those seeking to fan the flames of hostility between the followers of religions and cultures for the sake of achieving cheap aims.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, while it warns of the trends of hostility towards Islam and the phenomena of hate, incitement, and defamation, calls for an appropriate response embodied in reinforcing solidarity and openness, protecting human values and constitutional principles, strengthening accord and mutual respect, and promoting solidarity and cohesion in the human family.

Brussels, 5 October 2012

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe