In December 2020, a think tank close to the Turkish government announced a panel discussion titled “Criminalization of Muslim Political Activism in Europe. According to the event page:
Islamophobia is on the rise in Europe. Not only Muslims but also Muslim political activism is increasingly becoming subject of restrictions and harassment in Europe. Austria’s right-wing Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a raft of new measures which would make “political Islam” a criminal offence. President of France, Emmanuel Macron also announced a controversial plan to tackle what he calls “Islamic separatism” in France, claiming that the faith of Islam is in “crisis” all over the world and promising to “free Islam in France from foreign influences. In this context, SETA will organize a web-panel titled “Criminalization of Muslim Political Activism in Europe”. The web-panel will be moderated by SETA European Studies Director Enes Bayraklı and the panellists include, Yasser Louati from Justice and Liberties for All Committee in France, Hatem Bazian from Zaytuna College & UC Berkeley and Salman Sayyid from University of Leeds.
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SETA’s statement that “Austria’s right-wing Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced a raft of new measures which would make ‘political Islam’ a criminal offence” appears to be lifted directly from a Turkish state media article. The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a similar panel from SETA in November 2020, accusing France of Islamophobia and featuring individuals close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
The panel participants are:
- Yasser Louati (previously a spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, an Islamist influence operation tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe)
- Hatem Bazian (founder and national chair of American Muslims for Palestine, a US Hamas support group)
- Salman Sayyid (co-edited a book with Arzu Merali, co-founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a UK Iranian front group)
Panel moderator, Enes Bayraklı is SETA’s European Studies Director and was the founding director of Yunus Emre Cultural Centers, a Turkish public foundation. Together with Austrian political scientist Farid Hafez, Bayaraklı also co-edited the European Islamophobia Report. As recently reported by the GIOR, Hafez was one of the targets of police raids directed against the Muslim Brotherhood in Austria, as well as having personal and family ties to the Austrian MB.
The SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (Turkish: Siyaset, Ekonomi ve Toplum Araştırmaları Vakfı; SETA) describes itself as “a non-profit research institute dedicated to innovative studies on national, regional, and international issues.” SETA has its headquarters in Ankara and offices in Istanbul, Washington DC, Cairo, and Berlin. SETA has close links to Turkish President Erdoğan.
The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to both the US Muslim Brotherhood and to the Hamas support infrastructure in the US. An Anti-Defamation League report describes the AMP as “the leading organization providing “anti-Zionist” training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country. The ADL also reported in 2014 that speakers at the 7th annual AMP conference called for violence against Israel.