Brussels conference warns of the danger and effects of Islamic groups on migrants and Muslims in Europe
Brussels, 14 March 2019
Theo Franken: Political Islam is dangerous because they are trying to influence societies
through extremist groups
Boriana Aberg: Freedom of expression in Sweden has become constrained by Islamists
Koen Metsu : Qatar finances the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic groups in Europe
Brahim Laytouss : The problem with Qatar’s financing is its hidden political agenda
Gennaro Migliore : Facing the danger of Islamic extremism is by confronting propaganda
Jean Valere Baldacchino: Qatar has invested in religious associations and institutions in France
Under the framework of the European Assembly against Extremism and Terrorism, the Belgian Federal Parliament hosted in Brussels on Thursday, March 14, 2019, the first European conference on “The effect of Islamism on migrants and Muslims in Europe”. The conference was attended by a large number of deputies, politicians and experts representing various political trends (right, left, center, Greens and nationalists) from six European countries. The conference, the first of its kind in Europe, was attended by more than 90 personalities and associations from 22 countries, including 18 diplomats from 12 different countries.
Belgian MP Koen Metsu and the former head of the Belgian parliament’s counter terrorism committee said that the rise of extremist groups was due to the spread of unauthorized and financed mosques, the refusal of those responsible for integration, the rejection or rather the hate speech and the non-acceptance of laws adopted in Belgium is caused by them. He also stressed the need for Qatar to cut the funding of the Muslim Brotherhood and its propaganda tools, especially the media because of the danger of it to the large Muslim communities. As Qatar financed in recent years many mosques belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood in the whole Europe, especially in Germany. Metsu said that the Belgian law was not yet ready to deal with the families of extremists and Belgian fighters in the ranks of Daech ( ISIL ) in Syria and Iraq, but his country could help the children under the age of 10 years.
For her part, Boriana Aberg, a member of the Swedish Parliament and chair of Swedish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, spoke of the pervasive extremism in the suburbs of Swedish cities, which live entirely in isolation from society away from any integration and turned into ghettos of Islamic extremists and affect the rest of the Muslims . She asked wondered, who finances these Groups ? Here she also pointed out that the donation funds come mainly from Turkey, where there is a great link between some Swedish politicians and Turkey as well as organized crime funds, and I am sorry that the freedom of expression in Sweden has become restricted because any criticism of these radical Islamists is considered to be an attack on the Islamic religion . Aberg called for monitoring the social networks used by Muslims, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, to curb and counter extremism and hatred in society.
Jacques Myard, an honorary member of the French Parliament and a former member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, considered that the political Islam that began with Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood, to Daech is a form of dictatorship while they are trying to impose their ideology and outlook on society without taking into account any diversity. He said that the Muslim Brotherhood enjoys a double discourse in terms of their success in the elections of Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab spring, while political Islam has an authoritarian view of governance. These groups cannot accept the personal freedom and the individual view of man because it must be bound by the nation, In itself is an extremist concept and eliminates the rights of the group. He warned against the danger of exploiting immigrants in the issues and problems of the communities from which they came and thus become a state of rejection of the new society that hosted them, thus stressing the need for the idea of citizenship, which separates religion as a private matter and public affairs.
On the other hand, Ana Surra, a member of the Spanish parliament, said that extremism and Islamic terrorism can only harm Islam and encourage extremist parties in Europe, which are hostile to immigrants of Islamic origin and stressed the need to integrate migrants through openness and communication and live together in peace while respecting the laws and the constitution in each country. Sora called for the separation of religion from politics to fight against the infiltration of Islamic groups.
The former Belgian Minister of Immigration, Theo Francken, said that political Islam is a danger because, through extremist groups, it tries to influence societies and transform them through the imposition of Sharia and its principles. He noted that a large part of the battle to fight these extremist groups is Muslims themselves and must follow this intellectual confrontation to counter propaganda and propaganda Towards Muslims. The minister considered that this propaganda, which propagates the extremist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood towards the rest of the Muslims, is frightening as it passes through the media channels, books and mosques. In this context, he called on European governments to act urgently to confront this danger. He also talked about the need to develop transparent frameworks to limit the impact of external funding to mosques and associations in Europe. He said that the funding process is very serious but difficult to prove, but the regional government has decided to clarify sources of funding for mosques. As for the Belgian Daesh fighters, he considered it a thorny issue and it was naïve to think that the return of these people directly without trial was now a good thing and he did not want the return of women urging the Belgians.
MP Gennaro Megliore, MP of the Italian Parliament, spoke about the spread of Islamic groups such as epidemics and viruses and turned them into a phenomenon threatening European youth. He said that confronting the danger of Islamic extremism is through confronting propaganda, cooperation between European countries and Mediterranean countries, exchanging information and spreading a culture of diversity. He also called for the creation of a European institution that would be able to communicate with all countries in the world and monitor extremism on the Internet and social media.
Frank Swalba Hoth, a former German MP in the European Parliament, said that credibility in the face of extremism lies in the formation of imams in Europe and the danger that they will become tools to spread extremist ideology from extremist organizations and countries. He stressed the need for priority to remain the laws of the state that spread tolerance and respect for the values of the other and the difference they represent.
John Duhig, senior policy adviser at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, presented a report on immigrants in Europe.
Dr. Brahim laytouss , director of the European Academy for Development and Research in Belgium, presented a special report on the reality of Islamic groups in Europe. He said in his report that there are Islamists growing significantly in Europe and that there is a great correlation between the spread of Islamism and the organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Laytous said in his report that Qatar has provided significant financial and media support to the Muslim Brotherhood in the recent years. He added that Qatar has supported many Islamic groups through the Qatar Charity Association, including the support of 150 Islamic centers in Spain and that the real problem with Qatar is its hidden political agenda.
Dr. Magnus Norell, an adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, pointed out the problems of integration in Sweden since the 1980s, where extremist groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkish groups infiltrated into a democratic society and began to encourage immigrants to live among themselves and isolating themselves of the rest of society. The Swedish researcher pointed to the failure of the successive Swedish governments to intervene in the name of multiculturalism on the one hand, and on the other hand the Muslim Brotherhood, who carefully planned to control this society in Sweden as in other European countries.
Finally, Jean Valere Baldacchino, president of the geopolitical research and analysis in Paris, talked about Qatar’s attempts to control the religious associations and institutions in France, exploiting the international laws in the country, which prohibits government funding for the centers of worship, and thus this vacuum made Qatar funding for associations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Baldacchino added that Qatar has supported many terrorist groups in the world, such as Syria and Iraq. It has also supported many extremist mosques in France. It also supports a number of associations through the Qatar Charity Association and also research centers run by Tariq Ramadan.
A short film entitled “Media Promotion of Extremism, Example of Al Jazeera ” was screened during the conference, a film that refers to the mechanism of promoting the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera to organize an adherent in Syria and Iraq. Commenting on the film, Theo Francken, a former immigration minister in the Belgian government, marveled at the way the Qatari channel was promoted the extremists. MP Gennaro Migliore, a member of the Italian parliament, said that “propaganda must be fought against extremism wherever it is and that an intellectual battle should be launched against the extremists. This kind of promotion is a war, not a propaganda.” For his part, Koen Metsu, Belgian MP and former chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee in the Belgian Parliament, he considered that this type of promotion is unacceptable.
At the end of the conference ten main recommendations were announced, the most important of which was the need to follow up the Islamic groups, the need to establish a specialized academic center in the framework of monitoring and studying of these groups and its consequences on the security in the future, and also the need to establish a special European structure for European Islam working on the training and forming of religion leaders and imams. The international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is politically supported by Turkey and the media support is coming from the State of Qatar. Finally, a special mechanism should be put in place to monitor the media outlets that promote extremism and the discourse of violence and hate speech.