FIOE Shoura council discussing issues of Muslims and Institutions


The fourth Shoura Council in the ninth term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was held from 9-12 February 2012 in the city of Istanbul. The Council was convened in this ordinary meeting, with the participation of the Federation leadership, representatives of member organisations in the majority of European countries, and a number of esteemed guests, enriching the sessions.

The Council deliberated over the developments in the Federation’s work, and the progress in administrative tasks; it also discussed the performance of the Federation, its bodies, and member organisations, praising achievements, and urging further advances in positive efforts and initiatives.

The Council reflected on the situation in Europe, and the affairs of Muslims on the Continent, as well as related issues and concerns. The Council also considered means of reinforcing cooperation and coordination with partners in citizenship in Europe, and developing participation in societal dialogue, as well as continuing to strive to serve Europe's Muslims, and contributing to assuring the public interest of European societies.


Embodiment of good citizenship

In its closing statement, the council urged the European Muslims- groups, organisations, and individuals, to adhere to the principles and teachings of Islam, and embody good citizenship and positive examples in their daily life, and to provide the best expression of the spirit of positive communication and noble manners, while participating effectively in the service of their societies, and striving for their prosperity. The Council reminded Europe's Muslims of the importance of following the example of the noble Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, in all their affairs, and that the anniversary of his birth, peace be upon him, should be the motivator for them to improve their situation, and express the noble human values emphasised by Islam in the life of the individual and society.

The Council stressed the importance of moving towards inclusion of the youth—young men and women, by European Islamic organisations in the various spheres of work and levels of management, including leadership levels. The Council encouraged providing opportunities for the youth, and directing sufficient attention to meeting the needs of the younger generations, in terms of the necessary projects, programmes, and efforts.


European Affairs

The Council drew attention to the obligations of officials and political leaders in European countries, to respect religious and cultural diversity, and advance the spirit of harmony and understanding. The Council deplored the stances and statements offensive to Muslims adopted irresponsibly by prominent political figures, particularly during the fever of election competition. The Council also called for this phenomenon to be addressed, and solidarity and mutual understanding to be strengthened, in the interest of protecting human values and constitutional principles.

The Council consoled the families of those falling victim to the wave of cold and ice that swept across Europe, and felt the pain and suffering of those lacking shelter, or the opportunity to warm their homes; the Council prayed to Allah, the Almighty, for relief of their suffering. The Council also invited Europe's Muslims, and their social and charitable organisations, to provide help and assistance to the affected groups, and to reinforce their readiness to respond to emergency cases requiring urgent aid. Moreover the Council urged Islamic centres to open their doors to those affected, and offer shelter, warmth, and care; the Council praised and valued the initiative of European Islamic organisations that have already assumed this noble role.

On the other hand, the Council expressed its concern regarding the repercussions of the current economic crisis in a number of European countries, and the consequent rise in levels of poverty and unemployment. The Council emphasised the importance of reinforcing solidarity and mutual support among the constituents of society in confronting this challenge. The Council also urged Islamic organisations in Europe to establish constructive collaboration with partners in the European countries, and seek optimal solutions and ideal remedies for the social dimensions of the economic crisis, to redouble efforts in cooperating to find solutions to the dilemmas and difficulties faced by European societies, and to contribute to responding to the various shared societal challenges.


Arab Spring and International developments

Regarding the Syrian affair, the Council expressed its profound sorrow for the escalating massacres and atrocities perpetrated against the Syrian people, for merely demanding freedom, democratic change, and an end to tyranny. The Council emphasised its solidarity with the Syrian people, and consoled the families of those killed or injured, while renewing its severe condemnation of the massacres and intimidation currently taking place. The Council deplored the powerlessness and lack of resolve in face of the terrible violations committed by the Syrian regime and its machinery of repression; the Council urged the Arab and Islamic world, the European Union, and the international community in its bodies and councils, to support and aid the Syrian people, and that Europe's Muslims take the initiative in providing greater fraternal solidarity and support for this just cause. Furthermore, the Council condemned the restrictions placed by the Syrian authorities on the entry of aid convoys, human rights delegations, and the media.

Moreover, the Council expressed its great concern regarding the situation in the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the violation by the Israeli occupation and its extremist groups, of the sanctity of the Blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, and their continuing striving to impose a status quo in al-Quds, and altering its civilisational identity, as well as the policies of apartheid inflicted on the inhabitants and the expulsion of their elected parliamentarians. The Council also strongly condemned the repeated attacks by settlers on mosques and churches, involving vandalism and burning.

The Council also congratulated the Arab peoples that have made important steps on the road to freedom, democracy, and reform, and have submitted to the outcome of the ballot box in historic elections, heralded by revolutions restoring dignity, and the resolve to bring about reform, concluded in a civilised manner. The Council noted the huge challenges faced by the Arab peoples, in laying the foundations of freedom, pluralism, and participation, shouldering the economic and social burdens, caring for the youth and providing opportunities for them, paying attention to the different generations and their needs, achieving prosperity in the various spheres, protecting civil rights, and preserving diversity and plurality. The Council expressed its wish for the best and the success of the people and their elected leaders, with the aid of Allah, to realise these dues, after long periods of adversity, tyranny, and corruption.

In its closing statement, the council expressed its concern for the escalating political despotism in Bangladesh, and the increasing restrictions on civil liberties, as well as waves of arrests targeting scholars, pioneering reformers, and public figures. The Council condemned these grave violations, and called upon the Bengali authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to lift the restrictions on general civic activity, while assuring transparent popular participation for all citizens, and ceasing all forms of repression against them.

The Council also expressed its sorrow for the latest developments in the crisis between France and Turkey, and showed its disappointment regarding the deterioration in relations between the two important countries within the extended European family. The Council hoped that the French leadership will move quickly to address the causes of the crisis, and that Ankara and Paris strengthen mutual relations on a base of consensus and mutual respect. The Council reminded that laws criminalising discussion of historic issues are not the wise course to do justice to victims of conflicts, past and present.


Halal Meat and Hijri Calendar

The Council drew attention to the importance of respect for the religious rights of Europe's Muslims in the specifications of meat and foodstuffs. It expressed its surprise at attempts to discriminate against Muslims in the area of Halal meat; it is unacceptable for any restrictions or measures to be imposed that violate the right of Muslims to obtain meat and foodstuffs compliant with the stipulations of the teachings of Islam.

The Council also called upon Europe's Muslims and their organisations to adopt the recommendations of the symposium, "the Hijri calendar in light of scientific astronomical facts", held in Paris, on the invitation of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which endorsed the resolution of the European Council of Fatwa and Research in its 19th Session to employ astronomical calculation to determine the beginning of lunar months, and so help unify Muslims, especially in fasting Ramadan and celebrating Eid.