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Turkish Influence Group Holds Panel On “Criminalization” Of Islam In Europe

January 24th, 2021 13:13

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.

Read the rest here.

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:

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.