Belgian media is reporting that the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), a French Islamophobia watchdog and human rights NGO that was banned by the French government in 2020, has regrouped in neighboring Belgium under a new name. According to the Le Soir article:
February 15, 2021 Dissolved in France after the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine attack, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) was reconstituted in Belgium, as Le Figaro reported on Sunday . The non-profit organization was set up on November 1, 2020 but its statutes were published on January 6, under the name “Agir défendre contre le racisme et l’islamophobie – CCIE”. CCIE, as “Collectif contre l’islamophobie en Europe”. The headquarters of the new association is located rue du Congrès, in the center of Brussels, in a “letterbox” company which offers its services for 135 euros per month. [Translated from French by DeepL]
Read the rest here (paywall).
The article further reports that the CCIE has two former directors of the banned CCIF: CCIE President Jean-Jacques Megaïde and Fabien Clément, who acts as secretary and treasurer of the newly founded body. In its statutes, CCIE pledges to “fight in particular, by all means provided for by the law, to have the rights of Muslims of French or foreign nationality residing in France or elsewhere recognized.”
The CCIF had been the subject of a media storm since the French government accused it of taking part in a social media campaign against a French history teacher who was beheaded after he had shown his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a class on free speech. In mid-October 2020, GIOR concluded that CCIF was an Islamist influence operation, analyzing in detail its campaigning efforts against secularism and its ties to organizations part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR).
In November 2020, the GIOR reported that the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had dissolved the association, designating it as an “enemy of the republic” and accusing it of associating with Islamism and minimizing terrorism. GIOR also reported CCIF subsequently protested its dissolution, alleging the French President Macron had used “fake news” from the far right to attack it. In late January 2021, CCIF filed an appeal with the French Council of State challenging the government decree. In early February 2021, CCIE published a Facebook post via their existing CCIF page, saying they had transferred their assets and a large portion of the organization’s intellectual property and means of communication to other associations, including the CCIE. Other GIOR reporting on the CCIF has included:
- A December 2020 report that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an important part of the US Muslim Brotherhood, had announced it offered office space and logistical resources to CCIF.
- A January 2021 report that the leaders of Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique (CCIB), likely the Belgian sister organization of CCIF, had links to the Belgian green party Ecolo.
- A February 2021 report that CCIF was part of a coalition of 36 NGOs taking action against France at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) over its alleged systemic discrimination of Muslims.