X

European Muslim Brotherhood Youth Group Supports Female Soccer Players Challenging France’s Hijab Ban

June 7th, 2022 15:42

On 20 April 2022, the Forum of Euro­pean Mus­lim Youth and Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tions (FEMYSO) tweet­ed a state­ment in sup­port of a French ini­tia­tive demand­ing the lift­ing of a ban on reli­gious cloth­ing for female soc­cer play­ers by the country’s soc­cer fed­er­a­tion. Accord­ing to the tweet:

We are proud to stand with @leshijabeuses ✊ @FIFAcom @UEFA need to guar­an­tee the rights of all peo­ple who play the beau­ti­ful game we all love in the face of struc­tur­al racism #Equal­Game

Read the rest here.

Found­ed in 2020, Les Hijabeuses are a group of young female soc­cer play­ers from Paris protest­ing their exclu­sion from match­es over their reli­gious dress and advo­cat­ing for a more inclu­sive sport. The French soc­cer fed­er­a­tion bans women from wear­ing the hijab in offi­cial club match­es, and  FIFA, the inter­na­tion­al soc­cer gov­ern­ing body,  lift­ed its hijab ban dur­ing inter­na­tion­al games in 2014. In 2010, France was the first West­ern coun­try to ban reli­gious veil­ing in pub­lic, lead­ing to an intense debate on head­scarves and reli­gious coverings.

FEMYSO is the youth/student arm of the Coun­cil of Euro­pean Mus­lims, for­mer­ly known as the Fed­er­a­tion of Islam­ic Orga­ni­za­tions in Europe, known to rep­re­sent the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Europe. One of the impor­tant lead­ers of FEMYSO over the years has been Ger­man Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) leader Ibrahim El-Zay­at, and in recent times, its lead­er­ship has also been drawn from the fam­i­ly of impor­tant GMB lead­ers. Almost all FEMYSO mem­ber orga­ni­za­tions are also tied to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Europe. Over the years, FEMYSO has devel­oped rela­tion­ships with the Coun­cil of Europe, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, and many oth­er sig­nif­i­cant orga­ni­za­tions at the Euro­pean and inter­na­tion­al levels.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has long been cov­er­ing GMB efforts to dom­i­nate the Euro­pean dis­course on anti-Mus­lim racism and Islamophobia:

  • In Octo­ber 2020, the GIOR report­ed about FEMYSO par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cam­paign against “struc­tur­al racism,” a term orig­i­nat­ing from left-wing aca­d­e­mics and describ­ing insti­tu­tion­al­ized process­es and behav­iors that amount to dis­crim­i­na­tion of minor­i­ty eth­nic peo­ple through unwit­ting prej­u­dice and racist stereotyping.
  • In Jan­u­ary 2021, the GIOR report­ed that FEMYSO had issued a state­ment prais­ing a deci­sion to allow reli­gious cloth­ing in high­er edu­ca­tion in the Wal­lo­nia-Brus­sels region.
  • In April 2021, the GIOR report­ed that a group of Mus­lim activists, includ­ing FEMYSO lead­ers, had pushed a viral social media cam­paign protest­ing a pro­pos­al by the French sen­ate to ban minors from wear­ing the hijab in pub­lic spaces.