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British Prisoner Advocacy Group Publishes Report Alleging Systematic State-Sponsored Persecution of Muslims in France

April 20th, 2022 10:19

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

Read the rest here.

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.