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Turkish Government/Islamist Group Officials Attend Belgian Religious School Graduation

July 11th, 2021 13:03

Turk­ish-Euro­pean Islamist media is report­ing that Turk­ish gov­ern­ment offi­cials and lead­ers of a Turk­ish Islamist orga­ni­za­tion par­tic­i­pat­ed in a reli­gious high school’s grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny. Accord­ing to the Camia report:

June 20, 2021 The first imam hatip high school in Europe, start­ed by the Islam­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Mil­li Gorus (IGMG) orga­ni­za­tions years ago, pre­sent­ed its 6th term grad­u­ates. A grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny was held in the gar­den of the Avi­cen­na Insti­tute Ana­to­lian Imam Hatip High School in Mons, Bel­gium. At the cer­e­mo­ny, which start­ed with the singing of the Turk­ish Nation­al Anthem and the Bel­gian nation­al anthem, the stu­dents who grad­u­at­ed this year received their diplo­mas. Along with the fam­i­lies of the stu­dents, Abdul­hal­im İnam, Head of Edu­ca­tion of the Islam­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Mil­li Gorus, Nes­li­han Karataş Dur­muş, Edu­ca­tion­al Coun­selor of the Turk­ish Embassy in Brus­sels, Pres­i­dent of the Bel­gian Islam­ic Fed­er­a­tion Muhammed Ünal, and offi­cials from the Islam­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Mil­li Gorus orga­ni­za­tions attend­ed the cer­e­mo­ny where the Qur’an was recit­ed. The Pres­i­dent of the Bel­gian Maarif Foun­da­tion, Zeynep B. Eraslan, also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the cer­e­mo­ny. [Trans­lat­ed by Google Trans­late with edits]

Read the rest here.

Islamis­che Gemein­schaft Mil­lî Görüş (IGMG) is a part of the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment, a Turk­ish reli­gious and polit­i­cal move­ment found­ed by Necmet­tin Erbakan, Erdoğan’s polit­i­cal men­tor and which has called for an end to the sec­u­lar regime in Turkey. The Bel­gian Islam­ic Fed­er­a­tion (Fédéra­tion Islamique de Bel­gique or Belçi­ka İsl­am Fed­erasy­onu) is the Bel­gian branch of IGMG. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has report­ed that accord­ing to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty has inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Germany.

An Imam Hatip High School is a reli­gious high school ini­tial­ly found­ed by the Turk­ish state to train imams. Under Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty rule, fund­ing and atten­dance of Imam Hatip schools have great­ly increased. The arti­cle notes that this par­tic­u­lar high school was found­ed in 1989 by the IGMG and approved by the Turk­ish Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion as an Imam Hatip High School in 2012. A stu­dent at the school receives the same edu­ca­tion as an Imam Hatip High School stu­dent in Turkey.

Abdul­hal­im İnam, IGMG’s Head of Edu­ca­tion, also has gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions. Accord­ing to his IGMG pro­file, he became the Turk­ish Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion’s Gen­er­al Coor­di­na­tor for Imam Hatip High Schools in Europe in 2013 and in 2015, became a deputy con­sul­tant for edu­ca­tion at the Turk­ish embassy in Brussels.

The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment found­ed the Maarif Foun­da­tion (Türkiye Maarif Vak­fı) osten­si­bly to pro­vide edu­ca­tion, dor­mi­to­ries, and schol­ar­ships abroad, from pre-school to high­er edu­ca­tion, and raise a “Turkey-friend­ly youth.” It was also intend­ed to take over schools run by sup­port­ers of Fethul­lah Gülen, which Turkey blames for its 2016 coup. Zafer Sırakaya, Istan­bul AKP MP and AKP Deputy Chair­man of For­eign Rela­tions, has iden­ti­fied the Maarif Foun­da­tion as an ele­ment of Turkey’s soft pow­er and a means to reduce assim­i­la­tion among the Turk­ish dias­po­ra. The Maarif Foun­da­tion oper­ates in over 100 coun­tries glob­al­ly. Its board mem­bers include many AKP officials.

Oth­er rel­e­vant GIOR report­ing has included:

  • In July 2021, we report­ed that an Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment research cen­ter released a report about three Islamist groups oper­at­ing in Aus­tria,  includ­ing Mil­lî Görüş.
  • In May 2021, we report­ed that the head of IGMG and oth­er Turk­ish-Ger­man orga­ni­za­tions met with the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent and the Defense Min­is­ter in Turkey.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that the French gov­ern­ment was try­ing to stop Mil­lî Görüş from receiv­ing a local gov­ern­ment sub­sidy in con­nec­tion with the con­struc­tion of a “grand mosque” in Strasbourg.