The First General Assembly in the Tenth Executive Term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe was convened—by the grace and blessing of Allah—in the period 6-9 February 2014 (5-8 Rabi’ al-Thani 1435AH) with the participation of the Federation leadership and representatives of member organisations from the majority of European states.
At the close of the Ninth Executive Term, the General Assembly discussed and subsequently approved the narrative report presented by the Executive Office for the concluded Term, and expressed appreciation for the performance of the Executive Office over the four years. The Assembly thanked the Federation leadership in the previous Term for their efforts, valuing their work in advancing the work of Executive Office, Federation Departments, and member organisations.
Elections for the post of Federation President were conducted, and Mr Abdallah Benmansour was elected as new President of the Federation. He succeeded Mr Chakib Benmakhlouf, whose term of leadership of the Federation ended after completing two consecutive executive terms.
The General Assembly then proceeded to ballot in selecting the elected members of the Shura Council for the 10th Term. Nine leaders, among them three women, were chosen as members of the Shura Council, in addition to the Presidents of the member organisations.
Furthermore, the Assembly deliberated over the horizons of Federation work in the forthcoming executive term (2014 – 2018), in the hope that the achievements of the previous term would provide impetus to greater development in efforts and positive initiatives.
The Assembly also discussed the situation in Europe and the affairs of Muslims on the Continent, along with related concerns and issues. It reflected on current developments in European affairs, and the preoccupations of Europe’s Muslims; these included issues relating to women and youth, and social and human rights, as well as affairs of Muslims around the world.
The Assembly examined the means to widening cooperation and coordination in Europe, and promoting stronger participation in societal dialogue. The Assembly emphasised the importance of developing human resources, as well as the capacity of the Federation and its institutions, in harmony with its aspirations of contributing to social peace and mutual understanding.
At the close of proceedings, the General Assembly articulated the following positions and directives:
1. The Assembly calls upon Muslims in Europe to adhere to the principles and teachings of Islam, propagate noble manners and positive outreach, and promote the spirit of compassion and tolerance. The Assembly greatly values the burgeoning efforts by Europe’s Muslims to embody good citizenship and positive examples, and their growing contribution to the service and prosperity of European societies. The Assembly invites Muslims and Islamic organisations in Europe to further develop efforts of cooperation and coordination in various areas, while reinforcing effective outreach and constructive partnership with societal constituents.
2. The Assembly draws attention to the need to address the social dimensions of the financial crisis, and the required solidarity and mutual support among social constituents in confronting this challenge. Moreover, it urges Islamic organisations in Europe to cooperate with partners in European citizenship to tackle the consequent levels of poverty, unemployment, and social distress.
3. The Assembly encourages Europe’s Muslims to participate effectively in European Parliament elections to be held this year, to have a positive presence in the various aspects of public life, and to interact with the multiple election rounds, locally, nationally, and Europe-wide. The Assembly also warns against the phenomenon of incitement against Muslims in the fever of election competition, whether in campaigns, positions, or statements that are reckless and stir hatred.
4. The Assembly calls for positive solutions and actions that take account of the specificities of Muslim European citizens, and their needs within the general space of citizenship, and in line with fundamental constitutional rights. The Assembly also warns against trends that work at creating division in society, spreading hate, racism, and Islamophobia, as well as overturning the principles of equal opportunities and mutual respect.
5. The Assembly condemns the recurring attacks and abuse directed against mosques, Islamic centres, and Muslim cemeteries in some European towns and cities, as well as the different forms of material and verbal abuse of Muslims on a backdrop of hate and incitement. These odious acts target society as a whole, and undermine social peace, religious freedom, cultural diversity, and human dignity.
6. The Assembly feels the tragedy of those fleeing to Europe from conditions of tyranny and crisis in areas neighbouring Europe, in search of safe haven, risking their lives in crossing the sea. The Assembly urges Europe’s Muslims and their organisations to provide moral support for these newcomers to Europe, and to coordinate efforts with the relevant authorities and humanitarian organisations in the area of relief.
7. The Assembly is disturbed at the level of eavesdropping and surveillance on individuals, the intrusion on personal space and spying on private matters; it considers this a violation of the personal rights of the general citizen occurring without deterrent. The Assembly urges its partners in civil society to reject this excess in the approach to spying on communities, eminent public figures, state leaders and governments, as was revealed recently in reports and leaks.
8. The Assembly follows with great concern the impunity of the authorities of the Israeli Occupation in their grave transgressions against the Noble Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the escalating violations of the City of Jerusalem. The Assembly also expresses its concern regarding the tightening of the strangling blockade imposed on almost 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the ever-present threat to its inhabitants of military attack, the expansion in illegal construction of settlements in the West Bank, and the impunity in violating the rights of the Palestinian people.
9. The Assembly renews its solidarity with the Syrian people, who remain committed to their legitimate demands of liberty, democratic change, and end to dictatorship, despite the massacres and horrors perpetrated by the ruling regime and its machine of repression. The Assembly expresses its strongest condemnation of the on-going terrorisation of the Syrian people, and urges the development of efforts in supporting this just cause on the civil, media, political, and relief levels.
10. The Assembly condemns the military dictatorship in Egypt, which is extinguishing the aspirations for democratic change and transparent public participation. The Assembly calls attention to the horrific massacres, violations, and campaigns of terrorising the public and unjust detention, which the authorities of the military coup continue to commit against the Egyptian people and peaceful protesters. The Assembly demands clear and explicit European positions towards regimes practising repression and tyranny, and the on-going injustices, and grave violations of freedoms and human rights.
11. The Assembly draws attention to the continuing excesses of authorities in Bangladesh in issuing and executing unjust death sentences against political opponents, prominent academics, and religious figures. The Assembly considers this a grave development that must be condemned and censured.
12. The Assembly congratulates the Tunisian people on the huge achievement of ratifying the first constitution of the country in the era of freedom and democracy; this represents an important positive indicator at the level of the Arab and Islamic world. The Assembly hopes that the other countries that had witnessed democratic change are able to overcome the difficulties they face, and to achieve freedom, dignity, stability, and comprehensive development for their people.
Finally, all praise and blessings are to Allah, Lord of all creation.
The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)