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Controversial French Islamophobia Watch Group’s Dissolution Final After Hearing Before Highest French Administrative Court

October 17th, 2021 08:55

On 24 Sep­tem­ber 2021, the suc­ces­sor of the con­tro­ver­sial French Islam­o­pho­bia watch group Col­lec­tif Con­tre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF) pub­lished a state­ment report­ing the final deci­sion by the French author­i­ties to dis­solve the group fol­low­ing a 3 Sep­tem­ber 2021 hear­ing before the country’s high­est admin­is­tra­tive court. Accord­ing to the state­ment:

Sep­tem­ber 24, 2021 The Coun­cil of State has just con­firmed the French Inte­ri­or Ministry’s deci­sion of 19 Novem­ber 2020 to dis­solve admin­is­tra­tive­ly the CCIF, (the Col­lec­tif Con­tre l’Islamophobie en France, a human rights orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vid­ed legal sup­port to thou­sands of peo­ple tar­get­ed because of their mus­lim faith in France every year.)

Read the rest here.

CCIF and anoth­er group, Islam­ic char­i­ty BarakaC­i­ty, were dis­solved on the grounds they fell under Arti­cle L. 212–1 of the Inter­nal Secu­ri­ty Code, which makes it pos­si­ble to dis­solve groups that pro­voke dis­crim­i­na­tion, hatred, or vio­lence towards peo­ple because of their eth­nic­i­ty, nation­al­i­ty, race, or reli­gion. At its 3 Sep­tem­ber 2021 hear­ing, the court large­ly upheld the assess­ment of the French Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which affirmed that CCIF main­tained “close links with sup­port­ers of rad­i­cal Islamism invit­ing the eva­sion of cer­tain laws of the Repub­lic.” The court, how­ev­er, dis­missed the accu­sa­tion that CCIF direct­ly legit­imized or encour­aged acts of terrorism.

In its state­ment, the CCIF’s suc­ces­sor Col­lec­tif Con­tre l’Islamophobie en Europe (CCIE) said the deci­sion con­sti­tut­ed a “major turn­ing point” in the insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of harsh repres­sive pol­i­tics in France and called on Euro­pean author­i­ties to “show lucid­i­ty and polit­i­cal courage” by denounc­ing the “many vio­la­tions” com­mit­ted by France on its Mus­lim cit­i­zens. On 11 Octo­ber 2021, the CCIE pub­lished a doc­u­men­tary series about the dis­so­lu­tion, which is avail­able to stream for pay­ing mem­bers. Days before, a coali­tion of 18 French and Euro­pean human rights NGOs sup­port­ing CCIF pub­lished a joint press release accus­ing the Coun­cil of State of devi­at­ing from the French legal code in order to attack human rights associations.

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 show­ing his class car­i­ca­tures of the Prophet Muham­mad as part of a class on free speech. In mid-Octo­ber 2020, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GOIR) 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.

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.