On 30 August 2022, the Council of European Muslims (CEM) issued a press statement saying a proposed ban on hijabs (Islamic headscarves) in Danish primary schools by a governmental commission on women’s rights was discriminatory and “inciteful against Muslims in Europe.” According to the statement on the CEM website:
Hijab ban recommendation violates freedom of religion, and can never be a solution to social problems within the so-called immigrant societies in Denmark. Such topics should not be used as a political tool during elections, as it incites discrimination against Muslims. We call upon the Muslim community in Denmark to unify their position towards the proposal.
Read the rest here.
In its statement, the CEM also said that they commended the opposition of the Jewish community in Denmark to the hijab proposal.
The topic stirred controversy in late August after a government-appointed commission recommended a series of measures to ban religious garments in primary schools. The expressed purpose of the “Commission for the Forgotten Women’s Struggle” is to develop ideas on how Denmark could ensure that women with minority backgrounds can enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other Danish women. Measures also included strengthening sex education in primary schools and tightening control of Muslim independent schools. Several organizations, including the main Danish Islamic foundation, have criticized the proposed hijab ban, saying it would result in more polarization and harm in schools. The commission shortly later reversed course and included an exemption for older primary school students.
The CEM, previously known as The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), describes itself as a “cultural organization, with hundreds of member organizations spread across 28 European States, all subscribing to a common belief in a methodology based on moderation and balance, which represents the tolerance of Islam.” In reality, the CEM is an umbrella group comprising the Global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Its current President is Abdullah Benmansour, a long-time leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in France. The CEM has a headquarters office in Brussels and has successfully positioned itself as a “dialog partner” for the EU and other important institutions. The CEM has also spawned numerous other organizations, including the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and the Federation of Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO).