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Turkish Think Tank Panel Accuses France Of Islamophobia

November 3rd, 2020 10:28

In the wake of the behead­ing of French school­teacher Samuel Paty, a think tank close to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment is hold­ing a web pan­el dis­cus­sion accus­ing France of Islam­o­pho­bia and fea­tur­ing indi­vid­u­als close to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Accord­ing to the event page, the dis­cus­sion is titled “Islam­o­pho­bia and Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Mus­lims and Mus­lim NGOs in France”:

Islam­o­pho­bia is on the rise in France and Mus­lims are increas­ing­ly becom­ing of sub­ject of restric­tions and harass­ment. Espe­cial­ly after the hor­ri­ble mur­der of French teacher Samuel Paty by an extrem­ist (on 16 Octo­ber), French Mus­lims are held some­how respon­si­ble for the mur­der of Paty. French Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Gérald Dar­manin, on 19 Octo­ber  called for the dis­so­lu­tion of Mus­lim anti-racist organ­i­sa­tions, such as the Col­lec­tive against Islam­o­pho­bia in France (CCIF). Dar­manin described these organ­i­sa­tions as “ene­mies of the Repub­lic”. In this con­text, SETA will orga­nize a web-pan­el titled “Islam­o­pho­bia and Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Mus­lims and Mus­lim NGOs in France”. The web-pan­el will be mod­er­at­ed by SETA Euro­pean Stud­ies Direc­tor Enes Bayrak­lı and the pan­el­lists include, Farid Hafez from George­town Uni­ver­si­ty The Bridge Ini­tia­tive, Chafi­ka Atta­lai from Col­lec­tive Against Islam­o­pho­bia in France (CCIF), Yass­er Louati from Jus­tice and Lib­er­ties for All Com­mit­tee in France and Monia Bouguer­ra from Coor­di­na­tion Against Racism and Islam­o­pho­bia in France (CRI).

Read the rest here.

In addi­tion to Chafi­ka Atta­lai, Yass­er Louati was pre­vi­ous­ly a spokesper­son of the Col­lec­tive Against Islam­o­pho­bia in France (CCIF). A Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) post report­ed last month that the CCIF is ide­o­log­i­cal­ly aligned to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) as well as main­tain­ing mul­ti­ple rela­tion­ships to the GMB. In March 2018, the CCIF also joint­ly co-orga­nized a con­fer­ence in Istan­bul on “Com­bat­ting Islam­o­pho­bia” with the AKP, the Islamist polit­i­cal par­ty of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan.

Farid Hafez is an Aus­tri­an polit­i­cal sci­en­tist with per­son­al and fam­i­ly ties to the GMB net­work in Aus­tria. He is a senior researcher at George­town University’s Bridge Ini­tia­tive, whose staff includes mul­ti­ple indi­vid­u­als tied to US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood groups such as the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions and the Islam­ic Soci­ety of North Amer­i­ca. The Bridge Initiative’s direc­tor is John Espos­i­to, a for­mer US State Depart­ment advi­sor, also with var­i­ous ties to the GMB, includ­ing serv­ing on a board with GMB leader Youssef Qaradawi.

With this event, SETA joins the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment whose Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Direc­tor tweet­ed on Mon­day that Macron is dis­crim­i­nat­ing against Mus­lims in France and Europe while also doing this for a polit­i­cal pur­pose, claim­ing that Macron is “try­ing to instru­men­tal­ize fears and igno­rance” and “fol­low­ing the old Fas­cist play­book that tar­get­ed Jews in Europe in this manner.”

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, including:

  • The cur­rent Gen­er­al Coor­di­na­tor Burhanet­tin Duran has been a mem­ber of the Turk­ish Pres­i­den­cy Secu­ri­ty and For­eign Poli­cies Coun­cil since 2018.
  • Many of the indi­vid­u­als above have also been colum­nists for the pro-gov­ern­ment Sabah and/or its Eng­lish-lan­guage ver­sion Dai­ly Sabah news­pa­pers, which are also linked to Erdoğan. Their par­ent company’s chair­man of the board of direc­tors is a close friend of Erdoğan. Addi­tion­al­ly, Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, and Albayrak’s broth­er have been board mem­bers.

The panel’s mod­er­a­tor, Enes Bayrak­lı, is SETA’s Euro­pean Stud­ies Direc­tor and was the found­ing direc­tor of Yunus Emre Cul­tur­al Cen­ters (a Turk­ish pub­lic insti­tute). Bayarak­lı also co-edit­ed the Euro­pean Islam­o­pho­bia Report with Farid Hafez, an Aus­tri­an polit­i­cal sci­en­tist with per­son­al and fam­i­ly ties to the GMB net­work in Aus­tria. Hafez is a senior researcher at George­town University’s Bridge Ini­tia­tive, whose staff includes mul­ti­ple indi­vid­u­als tied to US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood groups such as the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions and the Islam­ic Soci­ety of North Amer­i­ca.

A 2011 report authored by the GIOR Senior Edi­tor detailed Erdoğan’s ide­o­log­i­cal ties to the GMB and con­clud­ed that since 2006, Turkey has become a new cen­ter for the GMB.