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
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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.
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