As part of a 2 March 2022 event in Paris, CAGE, a controversial British Muslim advocacy group tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, launched a comprehensive report titled “We are beginning to spread Terror: The state-sponsored persecution of Muslims in France.” The report alleges institutionalized Islamophobia and systematic repression of Muslims in the country.:
In late 2020, the French government’s decision to dissolve two of the most prominent and respected Muslims NGOs in the country, Baraka City and the CCIF (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) by decree, shocked French and European Muslims. This decision was to be the opening salvo for a draconian crackdown on Muslims and Muslim civil society in France. Inevitably the situation will deteriorate in the run up to the 2022 Presidential election — which is viewed as ‘open season on Muslims in France’6. The French state has embarked on a systematic programme to silence Muslim and Islam-centred civic activism, as well as to humiliate Muslims in France
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In the report recommendations, CAGE demands the French government reverse the dissolution of the organizations in question and remove the executive power to dissolve such organizations altogether. Other demands include a repeal of the 2004 law forbidding religious signs in schools and the 2010 niqab ban, which CAGE identifies as having “laid the groundwork for today’s witch-hunt against Muslims in France.”
The foreword to the report was written by controversial French political scientist François Burgat, who is known to have incorrectly characterized the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on armed violence. Burgat is a contributor to the online media outlet Middle East Eye, a publication linked to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and whose French edition also published a summary of the CAGE report.
CAGE was founded in 2003 by British-Pakistani activist Moazzam Begg as an advocacy body and platform for Muslims affected by the US War on Terror. It has a history of campaigning against global anti-terrorism efforts and measures against Islamist radicalization, claiming these measures unfairly targeted Muslim communities and undermined the rule of law. CAGE leaders are known to have ties to the British GMB network, and according to British media, during a 2006 protest, CAGE Research Director Asim Qureshi advocated supporting violent Jihad in conflict zones involving Muslims, saying:
When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel, we know where the solution is and where the victory lies. We know that it is incumbent upon all of us, to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West.
In March 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that CAGE was part of an “International Coalition Against Islamophobia” consisting of civil society NGOs and groups tied to the GMB that had submitted a legal complaint letter to the President of the European Commission. The letter demanded political action against the perceived discrimination of Muslims in France, alleging the country’s government exploited the killing of French history teacher Samuel Paty for “its own racist, discriminative and Islamophobic agenda.” In August 2021, the GIOR reported that CAGE had contributed to a Scottish parliamentary Cross-Party Group’s inquiry into the nature and extent of Islamophobia in Scotland, which demanded far-reaching political action to mitigate its alleged effects.