A group of 17 European civil society organizations that includes several groups tied to the European Muslim Brotherhood has called on EU member states and institutions to adopt broad political action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Muslim communities. According to a joint position paper:
The sanitary crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020 in Europe will have a long-term effect on minorities in particular, including Muslims. (…)
Crises are opportunities for policymakers to adjust their policies and meaningfully address racial issues, including islamophobia. The following recommendations for actions are key to adequately respond to the crisis and tackle the structural manifestations of Islamophobia by mainstreaming it in key policy areas.
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The paper goes on to list key policy recommendations addressing structural discrimination, Islamophobia, as well as racism in law enforcement. It further calls for assessing restrictions of freedom of religion in an upcoming New Strategy on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, whose adoption by the European Commission is planned for late 2020. The paper’s signatories also demand EU institutions to:
Explore the possibility to initiate infringement proceedings based on the Employment Directive (2000/78/EC) to address the systemic discrimination faced by Muslim women wearing the headscarf.
The document was co-signed by several groups tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) in Europe, a transnational Islamist network covered by the GIOR. The document was also brought forward during an NGO roundtable with the EU Commission coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred in late May 2020. Its signatories include:
- European Forum of Muslim Women, affiliated with the Council of European Muslims (CEM)
- European Network on Religion and Belief, among whose founding members are the Cordoba Foundation and the FIOE
- European Network Against Racism, formerly headed by Michaël Privot, former Vice-President of FEMYSO
- Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie de Belgique, whose President is tied to a Hamas-related family in Verviers
All of these groups are notably also members of an informal “European Coalition Against Islamophobia” launched in 2019 that is mainly comprised of organizations and one individual tied to GMB.
One of the paper’s co-signatories, the European Network Against Racism, in the weeks leading up to its release, had organized informative exchanges highlighting the effects of COVID-19 on minority communities, at one time hosting a dialogue with the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) and also publishing an EU-wide interactive map on the matter.
As part of a series, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) in June and July 2020 has analyzed how GMB groups in the United States and Palestine have tried to capitalize on developments related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The GMBDW has also frequently reported on attempts by the GMB to dominate the European discourse on Islamophobia. Such reporting has included:
- In March 2016, the GMBDW reported that the European Forum of Muslim Women had organized a hearing at the European Parliament on the impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women.
- In May 2015, the GMBDW reported that FEMYSO held an Islamophobia event in a facility of the Council of Europe.
- In November 2013, the GMBDW reported that the “UK Islamophobia Awareness Month” was controlled by the UK Muslim Brotherhood.
- In May 2011, the GMBDW reported that a coalition of UK Muslim Brotherhood groups held a conference on Islamophobia.
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