The FIOE Shoura Council, at the close of proceedings, articulated the following positions and directives concerning current issues and interests of European Muslims and societies.
This was included in the final statement of the FIOE Third Shoura Council Meeting in the Federation’s ninth executive term in the city of Istanbul from 20-23 October 2011 (23-26 Dhul Qa’idah 1432H). This ordinary meeting was attended by the Federation leadership, representatives of member organisations from the majority of European countries, and a number of esteemed guests.
The council in its final statement congratulated Muslims in Europe on the arrival of the Hajj season and Eid-ul-Adha, and urged that the noble qualities of this blessed season, such as brotherhood, equality, mutual compassion, noble acts, and good deeds, be prominently expressed; the Council also prayed to Allah, the Almighty, for the safe return, to their European lands, of tens of thousands of pilgrims to the Sacred House of Allah, having gained Allah’s acceptance of this rite, with unblemished Hajj, rewarded effort, and pardoned sins.
Solutions to challenges facing European Societies
The Council directed European Islamic bodies to intensify efforts in cooperating to find solutions to the challenges and difficulties faced by European societies, and to contribute in responding to the shared but diverse societal challenges. The FIOE said that "It will maintain its dedication in shouldering its responsibilities in this regard, as a contribution to the stability and prosperity of societies."
The Council invited Muslims and Islamic bodies in Europe to further develop efforts of cooperation and coordination in the diverse fields, while reinforcing serious communication and constructive partnership with the constituents of European societies. It called for effort to achieve unity in the timing of the start and end of fasting and Islamic festivals, and arriving at the ideal state of cooperation to cater for the religious needs of the general Muslim public in Europe, to include Halal food, and financial and economic activities that are in compliance with the eternal Islamic teachings.
The Council urged the European Islamic bodies towards greater encouragement of girls’ and women’s participation in all areas of work and levels of leadership. It also emphasised the importance of communication and continuity between generations in these bodies, and the provision of opportunities for the youth, giving sufficient attention to meeting the needs of future generations, in terms of the required projects, programmes, and tireless efforts.
Concern over Economic Crisis
Moreover, The council expressed its concern over the current economic crisis in a number of European countries, and the accompanying increases in levels of poverty and unemployment. It emphasised the importance of reinforcing solidarity and mutual support between the constituents of society in confronting this challenge, and to avoid inflicting added economic, social, and psychological burdens on families. It also emphasised on safeguarding opportunities for the new generations, in the areas of education, development, health, and prosperity, and leaving these untouched.
The Council also expressed its recognition for the spirit of solidarity and cohesion witnessed in Norway following the horrific terrorist attacks this past summer. The council said: "Reinforcing solidarity and openness, and protecting human values and constitutional principles is the ideal response to the message of hate, racism, and Islamophobia, and the voices of extremism, and acts of violence and incitement that seek to foment resentment, hatred, and division in the ranks of societies."
The Council encouraged all Islamic bodies and centres in Europe to take the initiative in giving greater attention to the elderly from various aspects, and to sponsor the positive roles of this social segment, on the occasion of announcing 2012 as European Year for Active Aging, while upholding the Islamic and human values that encourage noble acts, positive postures, and communication between the generations.
Arab World Latest Developments
Regarding the latest developments in the Arab world, the Council congratulated the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, who were able through their resolve to remove the symbols of authoritarianism, and corruption, and to impose their will for democratic change, and to work at setting the foundations for states based on rights, law, freedom, justice, and transparent popular participation. The statement added that "The Council expresses hope that the Arab and Muslim peoples, as well as all humanity, achieve security and safety, with protection for the lives of the people, and that the chapters of tyranny are closed forever, with everyone guaranteeing unity, respect for pluralism, and the participation of all sections of society in shaping the nation’s present and its future renaissance, in a climate of freedom, justice, and equality."
The Council also condemned the escalating acts of killing, abuse, and repression, inflicted upon the Yemeni and Syrian peoples, and the bombardment, attacks, and shooting faced by unarmed protesters demanding freedom and democratic change. Moreover, The Council emphasised its solidarity with both the Syrian and Yemeni peoples, and their just demands, and praises the spirit expressed by the peaceful popular mobilisation in unparalleled resolve, to achieve freedom, democracy, transparent popular participation, and building a better future.
The Council also welcomed the announcement of the award of Nobel Peace Prizes to courageous women leaders, who have made noble sacrifices and exerted efforts towards success for rights, freedoms, justice, and human values; the Council considered this an opportunity to address distorted stereotypes, including those that affect Muslim women and girls in European reality.
Jerusalem and Palestinian Detainees
The Council in its final statement congratulated the Palestinian people for the freedom that was achieved for hundreds of men and women detainees in the latest prisoner exchange. The Council called for international and European intervention to put pressure on the Israeli occupation, such that many thousands of prisoners, suffering harsh conditions in the occupation prisons, are given their freedom. It also drew attention to the fact that the release of the occupation soldier held in Gaza removes the feeble excuse under which an inhuman blockade was imposed on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. It also demanded an end to the occupation, and to enabling the Palestinian people to achieve their inalienable and legitimate rights.
In addition, the Council expressed it great concern for the state of affairs in the city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the violations of the sanctity of the noble Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli occupation and its extremist groups, and their unceasing efforts to impose facts on the ground, and change its cultural identity; the Council strongly condemned the successive attacks by settlers on mosques, through vandalism and arson.
At the end the Council reminded of the responsibilities falling on the shoulder of the entire world in containing the disaster of drought, famine and displacement occurring across the African Horn, and expressed its deep concern regarding this escalating tragedy; it also valued the response of Europe's Muslims to calls for charitable giving in favour of those affected, and encourages the continuation of efforts to guarantee water, food, and healthcare in the disaster-stricken area.