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).
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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.