The 2nd General Assembly Meeting in the 10th Executive Term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was convened, with the blessing of Allah—the Almighty, on 22-25 January 2015 (2-5 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1436H) in Istanbul, with the participation of the Federation leadership, and representatives of member organisations in the European states. The General Assembly meeting was launched with a reception attended by a large number of public figures and civil society representatives.
The work of the Executive Office and Shoura Council was presented to the General Assembly, along with ongoing achievements according to the points ratified in the General Plan for the 10th Term (from 2014 to 2018). The General Assembly also discussed the developments on the European scene, and the affairs of Muslims on the Continent, as well as current challenges and difficulties, and the best options for tackling them. The Assembly meeting included focus groups and workshops on improving the working methods of member organisations, and developing the opportunities for communication and collaboration with local European communities. The General Assembly also focused on improving the recruitment and integration of young women and men into member organisations, and the various managerial positions.
At the conclusion of proceedings, the General Assembly articulated the following positions and directives:
First: the General Assembly emphasises the importance of advancing the efforts of collaboration and coordination between Muslims and Islamic organisations in Europe in diverse spheres, while strengthening effective communication and constructive partnership with the constituents of European societies, and developing awareness of citizenship and participation in public life, while tackling shared challenges.
Second: the Assembly renews its condemnation of the terrorist attacks and killings witnessed in Paris recently, and condemns the hostile postures and terrorist plans of extremist organisations, in their threats and acts that undermine public security, and destroy lives, property, and institutions.
Third: the Assembly highlights the need to be responsible and objective on the part of commentators, and the media at large, in reporting the numerous security-related developments. It is quite concerning that a part of the media’s coverage, reporting, commentaries, and cartoons gives the impression that Muslims or Islam are responsible for terrorist attacks.
Fourth: the Assembly deplores those attacks and abuse against Muslims, mosques, and Islamic centres in many European countries, in addition to provoking Muslims through attacks on Islam, Muslim sanctities, and the Noble Messenger, Muhammad—peace be upon him. The Assembly draws attention to the fact that this wave of attacks, incitement, slander, and abuse are a threat to society as a whole, and not just Muslims; the Assembly calls for these acts to be rejected, warning that acceptance of such behaviour as a status quo, and hence, normal, threatens social peace.
Fifth: the Assembly applauds the responsible stances of local Muslim communities and organisations, and their dedication in denying the opportunity to attempts at gross misrepresentation and provocation. The Assembly urges the development of efforts to tackle these challenges through the instruments of awareness raising, communication, and civil society mobilisation.
Sixth: the Assembly values the responses of a number of European countries, and the positions of solidarity articulated by officials, citizens, and religious and civil society institutions, to confront those inciting hate, and are opposed to our shared values. The Assembly urges further development of these positions, and in particular, expresses great appreciation for the wise statements of Vatican Pope Francis in this regard.
Seventh: the Assembly invites political and religious leaders, civil society, intellectual, cultural, and artistic personalities, as well as the media, to exert more effort to safeguard human rights, fundamental liberties, and the principles of social peace, mutual respect, and equality, as well as the rejection of racism and hate, and to strengthen the cohesion of European societies with their diverse constituents.
Eighth: the Assembly condemns the atrocities and violations perpetrated by extremist armed groups in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, against the local communities, those who differ with them in political or religious persuasion. The Assembly strongly denounces attempts to malign Islam, and link it to these horrific images, representing the barbaric practices of extremist groups, who violate the teachings of Islam, and commit atrocities. Moreover, it condemns the acts of killing and expulsion perpetrated by the repressive regime in Syria.
Ninth: The General Assembly strongly rejects the phenomenon of attracting European Muslim youth to battlefields, jeopardising their lives and future, and exposing their societies to danger; the Assembly calls for treatment of this phenomenon, and intensified efforts to spread awareness, and facilitate reintegration of these youths into their European societies, with cooperation between all partners in reinforcing moderation, tackling the drivers of extremism, and responding to common challenges. The General Assembly urges mosques, Islamic centres, and Islamic organisations in Europe to redouble their efforts in doing what is dictated by responsibility towards these challenges.
Tenth: the Assembly renews its call for the adoption of all effective methods in entrenching moderate Islamic ideology among the Muslims, and promoting immunisation against extremism and extremist ideology, which spread hostility and division among the members of the one society, as well as threaten security and social stability.
Eleventh: the General Assembly follows with great concern the intensified actions by the occupation authorities against the city of Jerusalem, and the escalating Israeli actions and measures against the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, the Assembly condemns the continuing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, and the worsening, and suffocating blockade inflicted on the Gaza Strip.
Twelfth: the General Assembly expresses its concern over the deteriorating conditions in a number of Arab, Muslim, and African states, with widespread unrest, the rise of coups against democratically-elected governments, military dictatorship, and widening armed conflicts, which further feed extremism and hate. The Assembly warns of the dangers inherent in these developments on the security of peoples, community coexistence, and the aspirations for freedom, democracy, and prosperity. The Assembly demands protection for human life, and places of worship belonging to the different faith communities, and preservation of the integrity of the diverse social fabric. The Assembly emphasises the responsibility of the international community, in its public institutions and effective states, for preventing the suffering of several peoples under injustice and oppression.
Thirteenth: the General Assembly follows the difficult humanitarian conditions suffered by those fleeing to Europe from conflicts and crises in a number of countries. The General Assembly invites all the relevant authorities to assure the safety and security of asylum seekers, and to guarantee adherence to human rights standards, and respect for human dignity in the policies and measures applied in dealing with them.
Fourteenth: the General Assembly directs to the importance of developing the areas of social work in Islamic organisations in the European countries, so as to contribute in the response to the challenges imposed by economic and social crises. Moreover, the Assembly urges Islamic charitable bodies to advance effective strategies in this area.
Fifteenth: the General Assembly urges interaction with the “European Year of Development”, along with organising activities throughout 2015 that focus the spotlight on the multiple dimensions of the concept of development, and its applications in the diverse aspects of life.
Istanbul, 22-25 January 2015 (2-5 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1436H)
The General Assembly, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)