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Banned French Islamophobia Watchdog Regroups In Belgium

February 16th, 2021 11:08

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.