FIOE condemns the atrocities committed by extremist armed groups, and deplores linking these to Islam

In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe condemns the atrocities committed by extremist armed groups, and deplores linking these to Islam

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe continues to follow the on-going developments in terms of 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, and journalists, who are terrorised and killed in barbaric fashion.

The Federation condemns in the strongest terms these appalling acts, which include horrific executions and grave breaches, in contravention to the teachings of the religion, human values, and moral principles that can neither be justified nor left unaddressed.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe renews its solidarity with all those affected by these grave violations, and the measures of repression or expulsion documented in reports from the field, while expressing feelings of profound pain for these developments that paint a frightening picture of what is occurring. The Federation notes with alarm the attempts to terrorise local communities and religious minorities, and tear apart the social and historical fabric with its diverse constituents.

The Federation demands an immediate end to breaches, in all forms, of human rights in these areas, as well as all discriminatory measures and actions, and achieving security for all inhabitants and communities, in enabling those displaced to return to their areas and live in them without being targeted, discriminated against, or restricted in their freedom of worship, as well as ensuring protection for religious and historical monuments in their diversity, from destruction and vandalism, and a halt to the targeting, or harming of journalists.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe strongly denounces attempts to malign Islam, and link it to these horrific images, representing the barbaric practices of extremist groups that violate the teachings of the religion of Islam, and perpetrate atrocities against Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Muslims in Europe and worldwide are deeply distressed at the atrocities and grave violations being committed and then linked through slogans and messages falsely related to Islam or the Islamic model of governance and state, and consider that these are a grave offence against the Islamic religion, which rejects aggression, and the terrorising and harming of innocents.

The developments taking place emphasise the importance of treating those environments that incubate violence and extremism, and are a product of regimes of despotism, injustice, absence of democracy, and violation of the rights of peoples, which force the youth to the brink of despair, as has occurred and is occurring in Syria and Iraq over numerous years.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe calls for a serious and wise treatment of all the common challenges that may confront European and human societies; no doubt that preserving social peace is a shared responsibility, and the Federation will exert the utmost effort in raising awareness of this matter, in cooperation with partners represented in religious bodies and civil society.

Brussels, 21 September 2014

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe

Message from the President of FIOE on the blessed occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr

In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Message from the President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe on the blessed occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr

All gratitude is to Allah, Lord of all creation, and peace and blessings on the noble Prophet, his family and Companions.

I offer my cordial felicitations to Muslims in Europe and worldwide on the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr, following the completion of the blessed month of Ramadan – the month of fasting, worship, good deeds, and perfected sincere action; I ask Allah, the Almighty, to accept from all of us, our fasting and good deeds.

Eid arrives, and it is a season of happiness, family bonding, and bridging the gap between generations; it is the event that crowns Ramadan, which represents a profound school for building faith and piety, and nurturing mutual compassion, solidarity, and support for the less fortunate; values of which we, our European societies, and wider humanity are in great need of.

Eid is also an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity. This year’s Eid comes at a moment when the Muslim Ummah is suffering difficult times; with many crises and open wounds. Indeed,  Eid arrives as we witness a hideous military onslaught upon the Palestinian people, with Gaza bombarded round the clock with tonnes of explosive ordnance, and the number of those killed approaches a thousand, and massive numbers of injured. In this Eid, we renew our solidarity with the Palestinian people at this precarious moment, and reiterate our support for their legitimate rights.

I also take this opportunity to salute the intense efforts of Imams, and mosque and Islamic centre administrations across Europe as they worked to revive the rituals throughout the month of Ramadan, and serve their local communities. On this occasion, we urge Islamic and social organisations to continue improving their work, and to shoulder the responsibility towards Muslims and society in the best possible way.

May Allah accept from all of us our good deeds, and may each year pass where we are in the most favourable of conditions.

 

Brussels, 28 July 2014

 

Abdullah Benmansour

President, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe

Letter from the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) to French President, Nicolas Sarkozy

His Excellency, President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy

Dear President Sarkozy,

We, in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) continue to monitor, along with Muslims on this continent, and segments of European civil society, and the public, the disturbing trend in positions taken by some political actors and the media in France in recent weeks, with regard to dealing with Muslims and their organisations in France.

The positions and statements expressed by state and political bodies paint a worrying picture in terms of some declared intentions towards Muslims. In addition, the content of some media channels comes close to casting French Muslims, their prominent organisations, and mosque imams unjustly in the zone of suspicion.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was quite surprised at some of these measures and views; for example, the announcement by French authorities to refuse a number of prominent Muslim scholars and personalities permission to enter France and attend the 29th Annual Meeting of France’s Muslims, in a step coinciding with a reprehensible smear campaign in the media against these widely respected scholars.

Indeed, we would wish to remind that these steps are incompatible with the requirements of common decency, and that the recurring ill treatment of Muslims in France cannot be in harmony with the values of the French Republic, and also send the wrong signals. In this context, the impression given is that further moral burdens are unfairly being put onto the shoulders of France’s Muslims in the wake of the terrible crimes witnessed recently in Toulouse, whose victims were French citizens from different religious communities, including Muslims. Perhaps, you may have noted the voices in political and media circles that engage in practically dividing French society, instilling fear of Muslims and Islamic organisations in the public, cheaply exploiting the blood of innocent victims, and ignoring the standards of fairness and obligations of human rights.

It is quite disheartening to see general election seasons converted into a cheap contest between candidates vying to out-do each other, where contrary to the spirit of democracy, they employ misrepresentation and agitation, pit citizens against each other, and create division in society, just to win votes or publicity. Political campaigning, especially during election times, must distance itself from stoking resentment, provoking panic, offending communities, and disparaging the cultural specificities of partners in society and citizens of the Republic.

No doubt that acts of violence, aggression, and terror, are condemned in all forms, and cannot be justified. Indeed, these must be prevented and confronted; this is what we have emphasised in repeated statements of position. However, guilt cannot be generalised, nor can the followers of a specific religion, or members of a community or culture be blamed wholesale for acts of violence or terrorism, tarred with same brush of suspicion, or restricted in their public or personal freedoms. Indeed, the ideal response to acts of violence, hate speech, and voices of extremism, lies in isolating these within their actual context, and dealing with them using the tools of justice and systems of the state of law. At the same time, strengthening solidarity and openness, protecting human values and constitutional principles, supporting accord, reinforcing mutual respect, and promoting solidarity and cohesion in society. The confluence of efforts and collaboration in political and societal spheres is, ideally, sufficient to address problems, challenges, and threats.

Feverish misrepresentation and incitement is the wrong response to the shock of Toulouse, as this threatens to practically undermine the values of religious and personal freedom, equality and equal opportunities, openness and tolerance, and mutual respect and solidarity. Moreover, such an approach is irresponsible, as it distracts from the common challenges that require societies with diverse constituents to combat and address their causes, roots, and consequences. It is our expectation that all responsible bodies in France will choose wisdom, broad-mindedness, and concern for national unity, even in the context of political and electoral competition. Everyone is required to work hard at winning hearts, building bridges, reinforcing mutual trust, and closing the door on those voices inciting discord and hostility, creating splits within our European societies, and harming intercultural relations.

With the utmost respect

Brussels, 5 April 2012

Chakib Benmakhlouf

President, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)

The road to Mecca .. The journey of life in a world season

The journey of pilgrimage in the Muslim conscience around the world has become an important and important site, as the experience with which the personality of the Muslim takes place, becomes more disciplined by Islam and more sensitive to the responsibility placed on himself and those he cares for, and towards society, nation and humanity.

Hajj remains the most important and supreme journey in the life of a Muslim. It represents a great rite of the rites of Islam, one of the pillars of this true religion. Millions of pilgrims who flock every year to the holy sites, in days of information, have come to obey the order, to respond to the appeal, and to seek reward and repent from it, blessed and exalted.

 

Pilgrimage

What the pilgrims are looking forward to is the acceptance of God Almighty, and that their pilgrimage is justified by verifying the perfection of it, in anticipation of the reward and the reward mentioned by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in saying: Narrated by al-Bukhaari.

And justified pilgrimage, is the one that fulfilled its provisions, and signed a site to the request of the taxpayer to the fullest. And the intention is the premise in that, it is necessary to invoke in the Hajj devotion to God Almighty, “but the acts of intentions, but each person what he intended” (Narrated by the two), and follow that the pilgrimage to the legitimate face and the approval of the Prophet peace be upon him.

The pilgrim must prepare in advance for his journey, by preparing for it as he deserves it, renewing his repentant repentance, and spending only halal, and improving the choice of companionship of Hajj, from the people of good and knowledge and to disintegrate from the rights of others.

The justified Hajj is manifested in the creation of the pilgrim and his behavior in word and deed, as achieved by the multiplicity of acts of worship and avoid sin and prevent him from suspicions. It is helpful to this; invoking the pilgrim to the greatness of this ritual and its virtues, sensing its significance and lessons at each of its stations. It is a good pilgrimage to Hajj. In al-Hajj, al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Pilgrimage must be repeated in this world, willing in the Hereafter.”

 

The Sacred House and Makkah are infested with hearts

Muslims, wherever they are, to the Holy House, Mecca and the holy places, in the pilgrimage season, while millions of them travel from the earth to this spot with their bodies. They say, “Let men come to you in every pilgrimage, Al – Hajj.

The Muslim still lives in the hope of seeing the old house, the view of the eye, this house, which God honored, which gathered holiness and majesty, and remained a habitat for the unites and a destination for the worshipers and the two.

The Sacred House remains in the consciousness of the Muslims as proof of the unity of the Ummah, that is, it transcends the limits of the symbolic role to the embodiment of that unity by the Muslims of the world around it in security and tranquility. It is the unity that Allah says in it. ) Al-Baqarah 143, and he also said (and this is your nation, and I am your Lord, and you see).

 

Journey of Hajj and its impact on Muslims

The journey of pilgrimage has affected innumerable people, both in the old and the modern. In the last century, we found, for example, how this journey had established a new consciousness among a Muslim who came from the American Holy Land, Haj Malik Shabaz, who was by Malcolm X. The African-American Muslim lived on his pilgrimage; the highest sense of equality among men of all colors. He returned as an ambassador to the value of equality in his society, which seemed to be divided into two whites, one for whites and one for black people.

The pilgrimage was a journey to Islam. For Muhammad Asad, who was born to a Jewish family named Leopold Weiss, he wrote his famous book, “The Way to Mecca,” in order to explain his journey with the true Islam and his world.

Not far from it; we find many of our contemporaries, who set up the journey of pilgrimage as a profound experience of worship, spiritual, values ​​and humanity, who chose to place it in books and books or to narrate it in anecdotes and narratives, perhaps the most recent contribution of Professor Munir Shafiq. Among them was a Japanese Muslim who, in the late 1990s, chose to portray the pilgrimage with his lens rather than his pen, realizing the effect of the scene on his readers. His work had an impact on several non-Muslims, after being published in prestigious international journals.

If this is a special matter, the general Muslims express their close emotional attachment to the no-man’s country, each according to its environment, culture and traditions. We saw the houses as they read scenes of the Kaaba and the Prophet’s Mosque, as witnessed by the pilgrims.

What deeply affected us, the Muslims of the European continent, was the intimate connection that brought the Muslims behind the former Iron Curtain, in the Holy Land, which was magnified by God. In those communist countries, which confiscated religious rights and deprived Muslims of freedom to perform the Hajj ritual, and narrowed the ports without them; we found them imagine the land is derived from ancestral stories inherited, for example they deliberately to portray Mecca in the drawings traded or attached, come scenes covered with green herbs On the mountains of Mecca closer to the European nature than to the characteristics of Hijaz, which reveals to us about the forced deprivation that was practiced against Muslims there, on the visit of their sanctities and the performance of the duty, which is one of the pillars of their religion.

 

Hajj .. A practical embodiment of the integration of the Islamic message

If the message of Islam is characterized by inclusiveness, integration and balance, the Hajj ritual represents a realistic embodiment of this general characteristic.

If it is

The Arab Spring wins Sakharov Prize 2011

The European Parliament Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought in 2011 goes to five representatives of the Arab people, in recognition and support of their drive for freedom and human rights. It will be presented to the winners by President Jerzy Buzek at Parliament’s formal session in Strasbourg, on 14 December.

Parliament’s 2011 Sakharov Prize goes to Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria) and posthumously to Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia).  This nomination was submitted jointly by the EPP, S&D, ALDE and Green groups.

Following the decision by the Conference of Presidents (Parliament President and political group leaders) Thursday morning, President Buzek underlined “these individuals contributed to historic changes in the Arab world and this award reaffirms Parliament’s solidarity and firm support for their struggle for freedom, democracy and the end of authoritarian regimes”. He added, their award was “a symbol for all those working for dignity, democracy and fundamental rights in the Arab world and beyond.”

Asmaa Mahfouz

Ms Mahfouz joined the Egyptian April 6th Youth Movement in 2008, helping to organise strikes for fundamental rights. Sustained harassment of journalists and activists by the Mubarak regime as well as the Tunisian example prompted Ms Mahfouz to organise her own protests. Her Youtube videos, Facebook and Twitter posts helped motivate Egyptians to demand their rights in the Tahrir Square. After being detained by the Supreme Council of Armed forces, she was released on bail due to pressure from prominent activists.

Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi

Mr Ahmed al-Sanusi, also known as the longest-serving “prisoner of conscience”, spent 31 years in Libyan prisons as a result of an attempted coup against Colonel Gaddafi. A member of the National Transitional Council, he is now working to “achieve freedom and race to catch up with humanity” and establish democratic values in post-Gaddafi Libya.

Razan Zaitouneh

Ms Zaitouneh, a human rights lawyer, created the Syrian Human Rights Information Link blog (SHRIL) which reports on current atrocities in Syria. She publicly revealed murders and human rights abuses committed by the Syrian army and police. Her posts have become an important source of information for international media. She is now hiding from the authorities who accuse her of being a foreign agent and have arrested her husband and younger brother.

Ali Farzat

Mr Farzat, a political satirist, is a well-known critic of the Syrian regime and its leader President Bashar al-Assad. Mr Farzat became more straightforward in his cartoons when the March 2011 uprisings began. His caricatures ridiculing Bashar al-Assad’s rule helped to inspire revolt in Syria. In August 2011, the Syrian security forces beat him badly, breaking both his hands as “a warning”, and confiscated his drawings.

Mohamed Bouazizi

Mr Bouazizi, a Tunisian market trader set himself on fire in protest at incessant humiliation and badgering by the Tunisian authorities. Public sympathy and anger inspired by this gesture led to the ousting of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Mr Bouazizi’s self-immolation also sparked uprisings and vital changes in other Arab countries such as Egypt and Libya, collectively known as the “Arab Spring”.

Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought

The Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded by the European Parliament every year since 1988 to individuals or organizations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. The prize is accompanied by an award of €50,000.

This year, the other two shortlisted finalists were Belarusian civil activist and journalist Dzmitry Bandarenka and the Columbian San José de Apartadó Peace Community.

Current issues and concerns of Europe and its Muslims in the Union’s Shura Council

The Council of the “Union of Islamic Organizations in Europe” at the end of its work on a number of positions and directives, which addressed the concerns of European Muslims and the concerns of European societies and issues of the hour.

This came in the final statement of the Shura Council Union, the third of the ninth session, which was held during the days from 20 to 23 October 2011, in Istanbul. At its ordinary meeting, the Council participated with the participation of the Federation leadership and representatives of member institutions in most European countries and in the presence of a number of guests.

In its final communiqué, the Council congratulated the Muslims of Europe by the Hajj and Id al-Adha season and urged “to highlight the lofty features of this blessed season, such as brotherhood, equality, compassion, righteousness and good deeds, while praying to Allah for the safe return of tens of thousands of pilgrims from the House of Allah Their European countries, and God has accepted from them this ritual pilgrimage justified and seeking a grateful and a forgiving sin. ”

 

Solutions to the dilemmas faced by European societies

The Council recommended that European Islamic institutions redouble their efforts to “cooperate in finding solutions to the dilemmas and difficulties faced by European societies and contribute to responding to various common societal challenges”. “The Union of Islamic Organizations in Europe will continue to fulfill its responsibilities in this area, And their well-being.

The Council called on Muslims and Islamic institutions in Europe to “develop cooperation and coordination efforts in various fields, while promoting serious communication and constructive partnership with the components of European societies.” He also called on the Council to “seek to gather the word in the times of fasting, fungus and Islamic holidays, and to cooperate optimally to care for the religious needs of all Muslims in Europe, including halal food and financial and economic works in accordance with the timeless Islamic teachings.”

The Council urged European Islamic institutions to “further encourage the participation of women and girls in all fields of work and leadership.” The Council also stressed the importance of intergenerational communication in institutions, the launching of opportunities for youth and the provision of a great deal of attention to the needs of the emerging generations and the required projects, programs and efforts.

Concern about the economic crisis

On the other hand, the Council of the “Union of Islamic Organizations in Europe” expressed concern about the current economic crisis in a number of European countries, coupled with the increasing rates of poverty and unemployment. The Council stressed the importance of strengthening solidarity and solidarity among the components of society in the face of this challenge and the economic, social and psychological burdens of families, adding that “the opportunities of new generations in the fields of education, rehabilitation, health and well-being must be supported.”

Referring to the horrific terrorist attacks that took place last summer in and near the Norwegian capital of Oslo, the Council expressed its “appreciation for the spirit of solidarity and solidarity in Norway” and said that “in promoting solidarity and openness, the preservation of human values ​​and constitutional principles; the optimal response to the discourse of hatred, racism and Islamophobia And the voices of extremism and practices of violence and incitement, which seeks to provoke hatred and hatred and divide the ranks of communities, “he stressed.

The Shura Council urged all Islamic institutions and centers in Europe to take more interest in the elderly and to take care of the positive roles of this segment on the occasion of the proclamation of 2012 as the European Year of Older Persons. Charity and intergenerational communication, “the statement said

Transformations of the Arab World

On the current developments in the Arab world, the Council congratulated the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, “which have been able to remove the symbols of tyranny and corruption and impose their will on democratic change and to establish a state of law, freedom, justice and transparent popular participation.” “The Council hopes that the entire Arab, Islamic and humanitarian people will achieve security and safety, inject the blood of their sons and daughters, forever annex the pages of tyranny, ensure unity and respect for pluralism and the participation of all groups in shaping the present and future of the nation in a climate of freedom and justice. Equality “.

In a related context, the Council condemned “the killings, torture and repression escalating against the Yemeni and Syrian peoples, and the face of the defenseless protesters demanding freedom and democratic change from shelling, attacks and shooting.” The Council stressed its solidarity with the Syrian and Yemeni peoples and their just demands, “and praised the spirit expressed by the peaceful popular movement” from the design of its counterpart, to freedom, democracy, transparent popular participation and building a better future, “the statement said.

The Council welcomed the announcement of “the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prizes to courageous women leaders who have made great efforts and sacrifices in the triumph of rights, freedoms, justice and human values” and considered it “an opportunity to address distorted stereotypes, including those affecting Muslim women and girls in European reality.”

 

Jerusalem and the prisoners of Palestine and drought

The final statement of the Shura Council of the Union of Islamic Organizations in Europe went on to congratulate the “Palestinian people for the freedom achieved by hundreds of prisoners and prisoners in the recent exchange process.” The Council called for European and international intervention to put pressure on the Israeli occupation in order to obtain thousands of prisoners trapped in the prisons of the occupation under harsh conditions of their freedom. The Council also drew attention to the fact that the release of the captured Israeli soldier in Gaza “falls under the false pretext under which the inhumane siege imposed on the population of the Gaza Strip.” The Council called for an end to the occupation and the empowerment of the Palestinian people from their inalienable legitimate rights.

The Council also expressed its deep concern about the situation in Jerusalem and the “violation of the Israeli occupation and its fanatical groups for the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its relentless efforts to impose the status quo in Jerusalem and change its civilizational identity.” The Council also strongly condemned the successive attacks perpetrated by settlers on mosques.

The Council expressed its deep concern about this worsening tragedy, as well as the response of European Muslims to appeals for charitable spending for the benefit of those affected, and urged continued efforts to secure water and food. And health care in the affected area.

Current Issues and Interests of Europe and Muslims discussed in FIOE Shoura Council

The FIOE Shoura Council, at the close of proceedings, articulated the following positions and directives concerning current issues and interests of European Muslims and societies.

This was included in the final statement of the FIOE Third Shoura Council Meeting in the Federation’s ninth executive term in the city of Istanbul from 20-23 October 2011 (23-26 Dhul Qa’idah 1432H). This ordinary meeting was attended by the Federation leadership, representatives of member organisations from the majority of European countries, and a number of esteemed guests.

The council in its final statement congratulated Muslims in Europe on the arrival of the Hajj season and Eid-ul-Adha, and urged that the noble qualities of this blessed season, such as brotherhood, equality, mutual compassion, noble acts, and good deeds, be prominently expressed; the Council also prayed to Allah, the Almighty, for the safe return, to their European lands, of tens of thousands of pilgrims to the Sacred House of Allah, having gained Allah’s acceptance of this rite, with unblemished Hajj, rewarded effort, and pardoned sins.

Solutions to challenges facing European Societies

The Council directed European Islamic bodies to intensify efforts in cooperating to find solutions to the challenges and difficulties faced by European societies, and to contribute in responding to the shared but diverse societal challenges. The FIOE said that “It will maintain its dedication in shouldering its responsibilities in this regard, as a contribution to the stability and prosperity of societies.”

The Council invited Muslims and Islamic bodies in Europe to further develop efforts of cooperation and coordination in the diverse fields, while reinforcing serious communication and constructive partnership with the constituents of European societies. It called for effort to achieve unity in the timing of the start and end of fasting and Islamic festivals, and arriving at the ideal state of cooperation to cater for the religious needs of the general Muslim public in Europe, to include Halal food, and financial and economic activities that are in compliance with the eternal Islamic teachings.

The Council urged the European Islamic bodies towards greater encouragement of girls’ and women’s participation in all areas of work and levels of leadership.  It also emphasised the importance of communication and continuity between generations in these bodies, and the provision of opportunities for the youth, giving sufficient attention to meeting the needs of future generations, in terms of the required projects, programmes, and tireless efforts.

Concern over Economic Crisis

Moreover, The council expressed its concern over the current economic crisis in a number of European countries, and the accompanying increases in levels of poverty and unemployment. It emphasised the importance of reinforcing solidarity and mutual support between the constituents of society in confronting this challenge, and to avoid inflicting added economic, social, and psychological burdens on families. It also emphasised on safeguarding opportunities for the new generations, in the areas of education, development, health, and prosperity, and leaving these untouched.

The Council also expressed its recognition for the spirit of solidarity and cohesion witnessed in Norway following the horrific terrorist attacks this past summer. The council said: “Reinforcing solidarity and openness, and protecting human values and constitutional principles is the ideal response to the message of hate, racism, and Islamophobia, and the voices of extremism, and acts of violence and incitement that seek to foment resentment, hatred, and division in the ranks of societies.”

The Council encouraged all Islamic bodies and centres in Europe to take the initiative in giving greater attention to the elderly from various aspects, and to sponsor the positive roles of this social segment, on the occasion of announcing 2012 as European Year for Active Aging, while upholding the Islamic and human values that encourage noble acts, positive postures, and communication between the generations.

Arab World Latest Developments

Regarding the latest developments in the Arab world, the Council congratulated the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, who were able through their resolve to remove the symbols of authoritarianism, and corruption, and to impose their will for democratic change, and to work at setting the foundations for states based on rights, law, freedom, justice, and transparent popular participation. The statement added that “The Council expresses hope that the Arab and Muslim peoples, as well as all humanity, achieve security and safety, with protection for the lives of the people, and that the chapters of tyranny are closed forever, with everyone guaranteeing unity, respect for pluralism, and the participation of all sections of society in shaping the nation’s present and its future renaissance, in a climate of freedom, justice, and equality.”

The Council also condemned the escalating acts of killing, abuse, and repression, inflicted upon the Yemeni and Syrian peoples, and the bombardment, attacks, and shooting faced by unarmed protesters demanding freedom and democratic change.Moreover, The Council emphasised its solidarity with both the Syrian and Yemeni peoples, and their just demands, and praises the spirit expressed by the peaceful popular mobilisation in unparalleled resolve, to achieve freedom, democracy, transparent popular participation, and building a better future.

The Council also welcomed the announcement of the award of Nobel Peace Prizes to courageous women leaders, who have made noble sacrifices and exerted efforts towards success for rights, freedoms, justice, and human values; the Council considered this an opportunity to address distorted stereotypes, including those that affect Muslim women and girls in European reality.

Jerusalem and Palestinian Detainees

The Council in its final statement congratulated the Palestinian people for the freedom that was achieved for hundreds of men and women detainees in the latest prisoner exchange. The Council called for international and European intervention to put pressure on the Israeli occupation, such that many thousands of prisoners, suffering harsh conditions in the occupation prisons, are given their freedom. It also drew attention to the fact that the release of the occupation soldier held in Gaza removes the feeble excuse under which an inhuman blockade was imposed on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. It also demanded an end to the occupation, and to enabling the Palestinian people to achieve their inalienable and legitimate rights.

In addition, the Council expressed it great concern for the state of affairs in the city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the violations of the sanctity of the noble Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli occupation and its extremist groups, and their unceasing efforts to impose facts on the ground, and change its cultural identity; the Council strongly condemned the successive attacks by settlers on mosques, through vandalism and arson.

At the end the Council reminded of the responsibilities falling on the shoulder of the entire world in containing the disaster of drought, famine and displacement occurring across the African Horn, and expressed its deep concern regarding this escalating tragedy; it also valued the response of Europe’s Muslims to calls for charitable giving in favour of those affected, and encourages the continuation of efforts to guarantee water, food, and healthcare in the disaster-stricken area.

President of FIOE: Islam calls for equality between man and woman on the basis of humanity

Praise is to Allah, Lord of all creation, and peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions, and those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgement…

Allah, the Almighty, says in the Quran: (O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another. Indeed, the most honourable among you with Allah is the one who has most piety [Taqwa]. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware) Surah al-Hujurat 13

Allah, the Almighty, has raised the status of the human being, and appointed him vicegerent on Earth; this elevation in status includes all the children of Adam—men and women, without distinction.

Today, as we embrace the theme of women, we understand that Islam calls for equality between man and woman on the basis of humanity, and within a framework of mutual respect. Islam considers that balanced human life is established on the basis of complementary roles and harmony between man and woman. Thus, Islam rejects any idea or practice that treats women with disdain or takes away their legitimate rights. Moreover, Islam recognises the essential role of women in society, and as such opposes their exploitation, or mistreatment by relegating them to the status of mere object.

On this occasion, we offer abundant praise for the efforts, and patience of mothers, and express our pride in the older generation of women; they have our devotion and gratitude for their contribution over the course of an eventful lifetime, to which many generations of children and grandchildren bear witness. Our appreciation, also, for the working mother; in her home, or in the diverse areas of employment, as well as the young woman in those positions of academic learning and vocational practice, scaling the heights of knowledge, which is what we encourage and support with all our resources.

In this regard, we, in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, commend the continuing achievements of Muslim women and girls across Europe; those who succeeded in the areas of academic and working life, and are a positive presence in many fields, role models to be followed, and mentioned with pride.

Despite this, we are aware that there is much more that must be done, and that there are obstacles that need to be overcome. In particular, we appreciate the scale of difficulties, and the gravity of challenges, confronting women and girls in the worlds of study and work, in the restrictive measures on choice of dress, or discriminatory practices that target, quite sadly, Muslim females. In this regard, we stand firmly in support of the right to education and learning, and the right to work and self-fulfilment, and will confront every form of discrimination and restrictive measure, through effective societal participation, and conscientious and focused civic action, in cooperation and partnership with defenders of justice and rights in our European societies.

In this respect, we are fully aware that improving the condition of Muslims in Europe, cannot be achieved in isolation from an effective role for Muslim women and girls, in the various spheres and at all levels; as such, the bird can only fly with two wings. Therefore, the responsibility for establishing this, and overcoming the difficulties along the path, is shared by all concerned.

We ask Allah to bless the efforts of our women and girls in what is good, and help us all achieve the goodness and success of this life and in the hereafter.

Wa assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah

Your brother, Chakuib Ben Makhlouf

President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)

Message from the President of FIOE about Imams, Du’at, Mosques and Islamic centres

Praise is to Allah, Lord of all creation, and peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions, and those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgement…

Allah, the Almighty, says in the Quran: (In houses—mosques, which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered. Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings  • Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from performing Salah, nor from giving Zakah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be in commotion.  • That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.) Surah al-Nur 36-38

First, I wish to address our noble Imams, and esteemed workers for Islam (Du’at) in Europe, brothers as well as sisters, spiritual guides and teachers (Murabbis). I offer to all, our appreciation in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE); we appreciate their role, and value their efforts. Indeed, they follow the noble path walked by the Prophets (peace be upon them).

On the road of migration (Hijrah) from Makkah to Madinah, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, stopped at Quba, and established the very first mosque in Islam. This was the first mosque founded on piety, as mentioned in the Noble Quran. Moreover, the first act of the Prophet, peace be upon him, on arriving at Madinah, was to establish the Prophet’s Mosque, which was the principal foundation of the new society, characterised by its diversity, and inclusiveness of Muslims and non-Muslims on the basis of mutual respect, and the rights, and responsibilities dictated by citizenship.

The mosque was not simply a place to perform prayers, but a school and university where Muslims received the teachings and directives of Islam, a forum harmonising the different tribal elements that had long in history been in conflict and wars borne of ignorance, a headquarters for administering society’s affairs, and a council chamber for consultation and resolution. Even more so, the Prophet’s Mosque was also home to a large number of the poor and dispossessed, who had nowhere to stay, no wealth, no family or children. The Mosque also opened its doors to non-Muslims, as related in the biography of our Messenger, peace be upon him.

This connection between migration (Hijrah) and establishing the mosque has made clear the extent to which the mosque plays a key role in securing peace, establishing stability, and enshrining openness and transparency. The prior period in Makkah had been characterised by repression of belief and hounding of the believers, thus preventing the mosque from being established occupied, and assuming its natural role; as such, the prayer in the mosque at Quba was a turning point in Islamic history, from the era of trial, fear, and suffering, to a new era of stability, security, tranquillity, and collective participation.

Muslims in Europe, in the trend to establish mosques and Islamic centres, in the appropriate architectural form, and including proper facilities and services, embody one of the forms of positive integration in their European societies, and also express an appropriate presence within the space of citizenship that must remain wide enough to include everyone within the framework of law, public and private rights, and personal and religious liberty. No doubt that in the ideal sense, the role of mosques and Islamic centres, lies in serving the cross sections of the Muslim community, and supporting social cohesion, as well as a shining light for the wider public in their diverse colours, with opportunities for fruitful, mutual interaction.

In this context, we summon the directives in the Quran, and the lessons learned from the noble Prophetic life—peace be upon him, in inviting to Allah with wisdom and good preaching, in the spirit of sincerity and selflessness, while appreciating the burden of responsibility, and the scale of the trust in conveying the message of Islam, and promoting its lofty values, and observing moderation in thought and practice.

In the book of Allah and the example of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, there is much to encourage and urge Muslims to cooperate in acts of goodness and piety, as well as invitation to the workers for Islam (Du’at) in the European countries to unite upon the Truth, hold fast to the rope of Allah, and reject division and disunity, while focusing on the vital and weighty issues.

We ask Allah to bless all good efforts, and help us all attain piety and success in this life and the hereafter… and all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation.

Wa assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah

Your brother, Chakuib Ben Makhlouf

President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)