"The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric conduct of burning a copy of the Holy Quran in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in a heinous act that offends the religious feeling of Muslims around the world, an attack made concurrently with the celebration of the Feast of Sacrifice, at the end of the pilgrimage. ICESCO reaffirms that the repetition of this outrageous act by hard-line extremists stresses that underestimating the values and principles governing the lives of nations and peoples is the most dangerous weapon of destruction, likely to jeopardize the international community’s security and development."
"The Muslim World League has denounced the absurdity of this crime, carried out under the protection of the Swedish police and under the claim of practicing freedom of expression, while in reality it abuses, among many things, the true concept of freedom, which call for respecting and not provoking others under any pretext."
"The World Muslim Communities Council (WMCC) rejects the wave of hatred and bigotry against Islam and Muslim communities in some countries. The Council believes that this wave conflicts with the values of coexistence and tolerance among all members of society of different religions."
The Muslim Council of Elders affirmed its unequivocal rejection of such criminal acts, which express abhorrent hatred and unacceptable racism. It noted that such repeated and heinous crimes against Islamic religious sanctities represent a blatant provocation to the feelings of Muslims around the world and promotes extremist, bigoted, and hateful rhetoric. The Council, in its statement, called for the urgent need to take decisive measures to halt these offensive practices, emphasizing that these repeated insults cannot be justified or declared under the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression.
EULEMA the European Council of Muslim Leaders thanks the main International Islamic Institutions for these testimonies of solidarity. The feast of the Abraham’s sacrifice is a religious holiday that Muslims celebrate with a community prayer with their families honouring the prophet Abraham for his loyalty to God. Muslims, Christians and Jewish have relied on this spiritual reconnection for centuries both in the East and in the West.
The encouragement under the protection of the State Police, of the burning of a book of prayers in Stockholm, while a ritual meeting of religious celebration takes place cannot express an honest, intelligent, and useful interpretation of the fundamental right to religious freedom and freedom of expression. This event is only a dramatic recall of a severe complicity of politics against the identity and practice of a specific religious minority. Burning the Bible, the Quran or any other religious text is an attack and an offense to the believer's connections to his heritage of readings and meditations and invocations. It is also a sacrilege to the cultural openness of every citizen.
EULEMA makes an appeal to the institutions of religious communities in Europe and to the political institutions of the European Union so that the sacred texts, religious symbols, and dignity of the worship practice of every religious community are respected and every believer and citizen in Europe is safeguarded in his freedom and does not became an object of provocations and acts of hatred and violence.
Imam Yahya Pallavicini President
Rome, April 3rd 2023
Ramadan for Muslims of Europe, a blessed celebration
EULEMA wishes to our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters for Pesach and Lent!
The majority of Muslims of Europe share the roots of the Islamic tradition integrating it in Western society and cultural identity. Many are admittedly non-practising, mainly due to the processes of secularisation that reduce religious sensitivity and ritual practice, but despite this, we must not forget that Muslims in Europe comprise over 5% of the population: over 25 million people and citizens.
Secularisation, immigration, radicalism: each of these terms has a dark side that undermines the value of a civilisation. The aggression of modernity as an artificial emancipation and evolutionary separation from the traditional principles and values of faith, the clandestinity and trafficking of migrants with the exploitation of the desperation of people fleeing from barbarism, chaos or poverty, the ideology of an imperialist polarisation, supremacist exclusivism, pseudo-caliphal perversion or victimist and demagogic claims all betray the authentic role played by political and intellectual debate: these are the dark sides of secularisation, immigration and radicalism. If these dark sides were to cancel out the opportunities that come from a liberal vision, from the circulation of people seeking exchange, help or change, from an integrity of thought capable of updating the noble roots of philosophy, then, indeed, civilisation would be in crisis.
In 2019, the magazine Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Civilization, a important Christian magazine managed by the Jesuits) published an article by Giovanni Sale in which he wrote: “Conceptually, Islamophobia reduces religion to ethnicity, so that the religious element is used as an identity-discriminatory factor, while the actual Islamic presence in Europe is, by its very nature, diverse in ethnic and religious terms. (...) In order to break free from this vicious circle, which is hostile to the acceptance and integration of immigrants, all that remains is to combat the culture that underlies Islamophobia, which can be done in particular by calling upon both public institutions - which have an obligation to promulgate just laws i.e. ones capable of holding together the values of acceptance and those of security - and civil society, including the Church.”
Five years after this wise analysis, the statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres echoed it, as he declared his solidarity with Muslims a few weeks ago in the face of the perverse campaign of hatred that seeks to justify the error of associating certain recent forms of bigotry with a thousand-year spiritual tradition inscribed in Abrahamic monotheism: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1v/k1v0r1kuof.
In his message, Secretary-General Guterres also mentions the ongoing month of Ramadan, which brings together adult Muslims in the practice of daytime fasting for the duration of this lunar month. This year, the two Christian-Catholic and Islamic calendars meet, with the period of Lent coinciding with the period of Ramadan, and the two great feasts of Easter 2023 and Eid al-Fitr 1444 occurring less than two weeks apart. If we also add the concomitance with Pesach 5783, the Jewish Passover, the temporal convergence of religious holidays for Jews, Christians and Muslims seems to recall a coincidence with the roots of the tradition of the Abrahamic communities. Fasting and prayer vigils, death and resurrection, liberation and exodus are all common rituals and symbols for Jews, Christians and Muslims in a time that seems to bring together sincere citizens and believers, natives and immigrants, East and West, but also every honest intellectual and responsible politician, in an intelligent and sensitive civilisation, without ever creating confusion.
It would be a great honour for the Muslims of Europe if this year, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, would take the opportunity to send a message for the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr 1444, and join in this noble custom of care and civilisation in support of the spiritual inclusion of the Muslim citizens of Europe.
EULEMA wishes our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters a very blessed Pesach, Lent and Easter!
21 March 2023
EULEMA and the UN International Day against Islamofobia: news from Greece, Germany, Ireland and Italy
Greece, Athens / Round Table Discussion, 14 March 2023
By Anna Stamou / Coordinator of the event
Athens welcomed the Round Table Discussion on the occasion of the International Day to Combat Islamophobia on March 14th 2023. The Muslim Association of Greece organized a discussion where different distinguished speakers had the chance to share their thoughts and insights about Islamophobia. This was really fruitful because each one of the participants had different expertise: University professors in social sciences, theology, history, anthropology, law, interacted along with diplomats, politicians, civil society reps, educators, diplomats and community leaders.
The key point that came as an outcome is the strong common efforts, with clarity, visibility and action plans. The Islamophobia rises in our region due to the political agendas that use media as their tool to attract ultra right voters was commonly admitted by all. Most of the participants indicated the systemic racism as a core problem that generates hate. So a coordinated action is absolutely needed, a more specific legislation along with a more efficient EU support.
Although the discussion only scratched the surface of the problem, it was evident that set the base for more, longer and more crowded discussions in Greece. It was a natural result after such an interesting and enlightening event. Getting to know everyone’s perspectives and actions is precious for a human society, and when society factors interact for evolving and comforting the people, then success is the only way.
Interview with the Secretary General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany
With Abdassamad El Yazidi
Islamophobia "is a form of misanthropy that has entered the mainstream," Abdassamad El Yazidi, the secretary general of Germany's Central Council of Muslims, told DW. "It has become acceptable and can be expressed openly."
The 47-year-old El Yazidi said Islamophobia was "common in the Bundestag, as well as the state parliaments, for fascists, but increasingly also for representatives of the so-called established democratic parties who are fishing in murky waters aiming to catch votes on the right-wing fringe."
El Yazidi, a native of Hesse, has long been involved in interfaith dialogue. He said Muslims in Germany were "stigmatized." The Central Council, he said, has asked the federal government several times to appoint a commissioner for Muslim life, just as there is a commissioner for Jewish life and a commissioner against antiziganism. "There are very many commissioners, about 35, who fulfill very important functions," El Yazidi said. "But this is being denied to Muslims, with hypocritical arguments." He said people don't want to admit that there is a problem with anti-Muslim racism, "and Muslims feel that."
Ireland, 15 March 2023
By Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri / Chair, Irish Muslim Council
As the world becomes more interconnected and diverse, it’s important to recognise and combat forms of discrimination that continue to harm marginalised communities. One such form of discrimination is Islamophobia, which refers to prejudice and hostility towards Muslims. Today on March 15th, the world observes the UN International Day to combat Islamophobia, an initiative aimed at raising awareness about the impact of anti-Muslim discrimination worldwide. In Ireland, Islamophobia is a growing concern, as highlighted by Dr James Carr, a researcher at the University of Limerick, who has conducted extensive research on the rise of Islamophobia in Ireland...
The International Center for Multiculturalism of the Republic of Azerbaijan organized the first international conference in Baku on the topic of Islamophobia. On the recommendation of the grand mufti of the Caucasus Pashazade, imam Yahya Pallavicini was also invited, as vice president of Coreis, Icesco ambassador for dialogue and president of Eulema, the European Council of Muslim representatives...
General Secretary of COMECE receives EULEMA President in Brussels
Rev. P. Manuel Enrique Barrios Prieto, General Secretary of COMECE, the Commission of the
Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, received imam Yahya Pallavicini, President of
EULEMA European Muslim Leaders Council, in COMECE headquarters in Brussels.
Following their first meeting in 2022 during a session of Article 17 at the European Parliament this
meeting goes in the direction to develop a brotherly cooperation between EULEMA and COMECE
receiving inspiration and experience in a common engagement on Religious Freedom in Europe.
Imam Yahya Pallavicini underlined the need to increase a better understanding about religions in
Europe avoiding conflicting polarizations promoted by some ideologies of aggressive secularization
that provoke islamophobia, anticlerical hatred, and antisemitism.
The President of EULEMA proposed a public conference in Brussels together with COMECE in 2024,
in the occasion of the UN International Day of Human Fraternity, to present comments in Europe on
the outcomes of the historic document signed in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and shaykh al-Azhar,
imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb, five years before.
Rev. Barrios Prieto will be invited later this year, during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to the EULEMA General Assembly in Seville. “EULEMA is organizing a meeting
with the CER Conference of European Rabbis, and we hope to invite COMECE to share their wisdom
on interreligious dialogue and the promotion of an added value to the culture and soul of Europe”.
Imam Pallavicini also shared with COMECE General Secretary the concern with several EULEMA
founding members of some violent persecutions of Christians in Africa and Asia as well as some recent
provocative actions against Muslims in Europe and the burning of a copy of the Koran. Mons. Barrios
agreed that this has nothing to do with “freedom of expression as it is a sign of disrespect, hatred and
ignorance”. The respect of religious symbols and practice is part of a civil society and a wise political
management of democracy and fundamental rights.
27 December 2022 - Rome
Muslims in Europe will pray this Friday in solidarity with their Muslim sisters and their right to education and knowledge in Afghanistan and in every region of the world.
Since March, the first day of school year, the Taliban armed guards have prevented girls the right to
enter in their classes and follow their education. Last week the Taliban announced they will ban women
from attending university and teaching in Afghanistan. Nida Nadim, the Higher Education Minister,
opposes female education, saying it is against Islamic and Afghan values.
On Wednesday, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation said, “The OIC cannot but denounce the
decision, calling on Kabul authorities to reverse it for the sake of maintaining consistency between
their promises and actual decisions.” No country or Islamic organization has backed the Taliban’s
policy on women’s education and work thus far.
EULEMA is focusing on European policies on Islam and for the Muslim communities in Europe.
Nevertheless, we want to express our solidarity for education, human rights and religious freedom and
dignity with all believers and citizens, including our sisters and their families in Afghanistan.
We agree with the statement of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of
Elders Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb that the Taliban decision “contradicts Islamic Shari’ah and conflicts
with its explicit call for men and women to pursue knowledge from the cradle to the grave. That call to
pursue knowledge has produced mighty minds among women along the scientific and political history
of Islam. (…) I explicitly reject this decision since it does not represent the Shari’ah of Islam. Rather, it
radically contradicts the call of the Noble Qur’an, the book in which the words knowledge and reason, with all their derivatives, recur more than a hundred times.”
EULEMA European Muslim Scholars Council, together with senior leaders such as Mustafa Ceric
from Bosnia and shaykh Muhammad Ismail from the UK, we are very careful to link, without any
confusion, the authentic reading and interpretation of religious doctrine with the universal dimension of
HR Human Rights, including education for all. There should not be any artificial abuse of Shari’ah in
conflict with the Fundamental Rights.
We are happy to quote a statement as well from the Secretary General of the World Muslim League
Dr. Al-Issa: “Education is encouraged in Islamic law and that includes everyone, men and women, and
no party has the right, under any pretext, to exclude women from pursuing their education, or restrict
their education” only to certain levels.
EULEMA will propose in 2023 the establishment of some working groups on Religious Education and
comparative Theology as a counter narrative to radical and ideological misinterpretations in Europe. A
focus on Human Rights and the prevention of discrimination or hatred against Muslims will be
Mustafa Ceric (Bosnia), Muhammad Ismail (UK), Yahya Pallavicini (Italy), Nedzad
Grabus (mufti Sarajevo), Amina Bagadjati (Austria), Suaad Onniselka (Finland), David Munir
(Portugal), Anas Tigra (Belgium), Abd al-Wahid Pedersen (Denmark), Anouar Kbibech (France),
Umar al-Qadri (Ireland), Sulayman De Diego (Spain), Anna Stamou (Greece), Liya Makhmutova
(Estonia), Roman Jakubauskas (Lithuania), Yusuf Murat (Romania), Nevzet Poric (Slovenia), Senaid
Kobilica (Norway), Faid Said (UK), Muhammad Adham Abd el-Aal (Poland), Abdassamad El Yazidi
(Germany), Karim Askary (Iceland), Zoltan Sulok (Hungary)
24 November 2022 - Bruxelles
Blessed Friday prayer in the mosques of Europe!
EULEMA, the Council of Muslim Religious Leaders of Europe has been formally registered in
Brussels and its statute has already obtained the favourable opinion of the Belgian Ministry of Justice.
22 founding members from 22 European countries have set up a platform for internal
confrontation and representation and dialogue with the institutions of the European Union. It includes the
muftis of Sarajevo, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, the imams of the mosques of Brussels, Lisbon,
London, Malmoe, Milan, Seville, Muslim women protagonists in the field of education and communication from
Athens, Helsinki, Vienna and in the Baltic region. The list of founding members is completed by the
representatives of the Muslim communities in Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Norway,
EULEMA was born as a legacy of some previous experiences of coordination between Muslims in
the Conference of the Imams of Europe promoted in Austria in Graz, the European
Capital of Culture in 2003 and resumed under the Presidency of the OSCE in Cordoba in 2007.
the European Islamic Conference promoted in France by Muhammad Bechari, current
secretary general of the World Council of Muslim Communities based in the United Arab Emirates.
Of great inspiration for the formation of EULEMA were two European Muslim theologians:
Mustafa Ceric, mufti emeritus of Bosnia and Sheikh Muhammad Ismail, jurist of Pakistani
origin and professor in England. Both, with over 40 years of training experience in the Western context,
represent a point of reference of religious knowledge and Western wisdom for many Muslim citizens and
believers in Europe.
The multicultural richness of EULEMA's founding members is noteworthy: second generation
immigrants from Egypt, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan alternate with a majority of native Muslims from
Bosnia, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Hungary. The founding members were selected on the basis of
their qualifications in religious doctrinal preparation and for their recognized experience of national
representation of the Islamic cult. Muslims with direct affiliations with governments foreign to the European
context and any collusion with radical ideological movements are excluded.
KAICIID has generously accompanied these three years of gestation by favouring the organization
of training meetings in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bologna, Brussels, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Matera, Palermo,
Srebrenica, Vienna. Of particular value is the participation of EULEMA delegates in the dialogue with the CER
European Conference of Rabbis during a visit at Auschwitz and the preparatory exchanges held in 2021 with the
President of the European Parliament Davide Sassoli and with the current President Roberta
The first governing council was entrusted to six founding members: mufti Grabus of Sarajevo, imam
Munir of the central mosque of Lisbon, principal Onniselka from Finland assumed the function of treasurer
while sister Bagadjati from Austria is secretary, the young imam Anas from Brussels trained with enlightened
masters in Egypt and Yemen completes the council presided over by imam Yahya Pallavicini from Italy.
EULEMA has the duty to encourage the coordinated maturation of Muslim identity and religious
practice in full awareness of the European social and cultural context by curbing ghettos and speculation or
exploitation extraneous to the authentic spiritual and pacifying root common to all communities of faith in
God Unique. Development of interreligious dialogue and institutional collaboration and internal training are
the first points in the program for the three-year period 2022-2025.
4 March 2022
Prayer for Ukraine
“God of Life and Peace,
We pray for the people of Ukraine.
For all who have the power to stop war and destruction
For victims and refugees, and all those who are able to help
For Europe that is our home.
God, for generation after generation,
You have been our refuge in conflict, crisis and disasters.
Have Mercy on Your world!
Show us the path of light and give us the will to walk it.”
This prayer was read Thursday February 24th in Stockholm by Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the
Church of Sweden and Imam Yahya Pallavicini, head of the European Muslim Leaders Council (EULEMA). The
occasion was part of the programme “A World of Neighbours” on “Keeping our humanity” which Chief Rabbi Michael
Schudrich from the Jewish community in Warsaw and Anna Stamou from the Muslim community in Greece also
attended. Indeed, we need to remind each other of our humanity and how to be good neighbours.
On Friday 25th , many imams across Europe included a special reference to the military invasion
of Ukraine in their sermons with a prayer for the life and health of the people, the citizens and believers,
the elderly, the women, the youth, the families, their homes, churches, mosques, synagogues, schools,
hospitals, offices, artistic symbols, and whole cities under attack and threatened with destruction.
On Sunday 27th, imams visited the Christian Catholic or Orthodox communities from Ukraine in
their European countries. Delegations of Muslim representatives were hosted during Ukrainians’ holy mass and a
message of hope, brotherhood and peace was conveyed to Ukrainian worshippers all over Europe, including many
families who have recently arrived in European cities to escape the current conflict.
A few nights ago, the coincidence of the celebration of the blessed night journey of our beloved
Prophet Muhammad during the 27th of Rajab gave us a new occasion to remember the meeting of all Prophets
together as brothers and messengers of Truth and Peace.
Meanwhile, Mufti Iusuf Murat from Romania, Mufti Tomasz Miskiewicz from Poland and President
Zoltan Sulok from Hungary are working together with local institutions and other faith-based organizations to
manage the thousands of refugees escaping from their homeland in Ukraine to survive in neighbouring countries.
These are some facts; not empty statements but actions of prayer and concrete help that EULEMA
members have offered in this first week of war and occupation of Ukraine by the Russian army. Our colleague
the Christian Orthodox Bishop in Athens asked us, weeping in desperation, how Christian Orthodox from Russia
could possibly fight and kill their own Christian Orthodox brothers in Ukraine? But we get no answer from the
Orthodox Church in Moscow.
In correspondence with Imam Pallavicini, Sheikh Akhmed Tamim, leader of a Muslim Ukrainian
community, requested that the EULEMA send him a message to be shared with his community.
Dear Sheikh Tamim, dear brothers and sisters in Ukraine, Peace be with you all. This
Friday, another moment of prayer and coordination among Muslim leaders will take place in our mosques in
Europe. We are in solidarity with the people, families, believers and citizens in Ukraine. We are your
neighbours and we stand with you in hope and justice, brotherhood and peace. Together with our national and
European institutions, we are working to manage hospitality for families and refugees from Ukraine in Europe
and are sending goods that might help your resistance in Ukraine during this cold winter weather while the
abhorrent market of bombs and guns are shooting against innocents. Our action and daily prayers are with
you all. Al-salamu alaykum wa rahmatAllah Ta’al wa barakatuHu.
Imam Yahya Pallavicini, ITALY, Mufti Nedzad Grabus, BOSNIA, Sheikh Mohammad Ismail DL, UNITED
KINGDOM, President Anouar Kbibech and Imam Mohamed Bajrafil, FRANCE, Mufti Jusuf Murat, ROMANIA, Mufti Romas
Jakubauskas, LITHUANIA, Mufti Nevzet Poric, SLOVENIA, Imam Tarafa and Ms. Amina Baghajati, AUSTRIA, Imam Umar
Al-Qadri, IRELAND, Imam Antonio de Diego Gonzalez and Mr. Muhammad Escudero, SPAIN, Imam David Munir,
PORTUGAL, President Imam Senaid Kobilica, NORWAY, Imam Abdul-Wahid Pedersen, DENMARK, Ms Suaad Onniselka,
FINLAND, Ms Anna Stamou, GREECE, Imam Mohamed Adham Abd El Aal, POLAND, President Zoltan Szabolcs Sulok,
HUNGARY, Ms Liya Makhmutova, ESTONIA, Abdassamad El Yazidi, GERMANY, Imam Anass Tigra, BELGIUM.
The statement is issued in the name of its signatories and does not necessarily represent the
views of the EULEMA’s supporting or partner organizations.
20 January 2022
EULEMA best wishes for President Metsola election at the European Parliament
One year ago. Imam Yahya Pallavicini remembers his first meeting with President Metsola in 2021.
President Yahya Pallavicini thanked VP Metsola for her generous video participation in the event
COREIS had co-organized for International Remembrance Day, where she delivered the opening message from the
European Institutions. On that occasion, VP Metsola expressed her solidarity with the Jewish communities in
Europe, praising the other religious communities who actively defended the religious and civil rights of their
Jewish brothers and sisters when they saw them being denied.
A reference to the model of respect for Jewish symbols and families demonstrated by the Muslim
community in Sarajevo was highlighted as a positive example. Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish
Committee (AJC) from Jerusalem as well as H.E. Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary General of the International
Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)- both of whom support the MJLC and EULEMAhave expressed their congratulations and
agreement with this important message.
The MJLC and EULEMA, inspired by the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025, are organizing events
to counter hate speech and discrimination (Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia) and promote cooperation and
knowledge through interreligious educational training and capacity building of European religious leaders in
2021. The support of the European Parliament and the participation of VP Metsola, for example with a keynote
address, has been requested and would be highly valued.
During the meeting Imam Pallavicini focused on the need for programs to develop cross-sector
cooperation with the Muslim communities and institutions in Europe in order to develop a European Muslim
Identity based on a culture of belonging to European society where Freedom of Religion and Interreligious
Dialogue are part of the core values of life.
Vice President Metsola was interested to hear the vision of the representative Muslim members of
EULEMA to develop cooperation with secular actors and institutions from local to the international level,
trying to bridge and unite tradition and modernity, East and West, religion and secular democracy, and to
avoid any ghettoization or ideological interference that corrupts the harmonious integration of any religious
believer into contemporary society.
The conversation also touched upon issues such as the legislation regulating halal/kosher rituals
and the integration of migrants due to the debate about these matters in recent weeks. The ban from the
European Court of Justice concerning ritual slaughter and the experience of COREIS in Italy managing the
difficult journey of migrants towards achieving citizenship, with support and respect for religious diversity
in the context of western society, are evidence of the challenges which remain to be solved. Future
initiatives with Religions for Peace International and UNHCR will be focusing on this program.
Vice President Roberta Metsola looks forward to developing this important cooperation and she
hopes to organize a face-to-face meeting in Brussels in June.
15 September 2021 - Bologna, Italy
Europe meets with European Muslims
The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, held talks with leaders of Islamic communities at
the G20 summit.
“I think it is a privilege that European Jews, European Christians, European Muslims and secular
Europeans can all live together in Europe".
These words by David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, were greeted favourably
by members of Eulema, the Council of European Muslim Leaders, who met with him privately
during the G20 Interfaith Forum held in Bologna from 11th-14th September.
“The rules cannot be set by economics and science alone: religion also has a crucial
role to play - so Mr Sassoli went on to say - we must all work harder to bring together our
different religious families and Europe should be the testing ground for this unity of
religion and diversity. In this respect religion can help democracy and we must strive to get rid of this
notion that Islam is something that does not belong to Europe”.
This appeal met with the approval of the 12 Muslim men and women representing Islamic communities
from 9different states, including the Imam Yahya Pallavicini, coordinator of EULEMA for
Italy, Nedzad Grabus, Grand Mufti of Slovenia, Souad Onniselka from
Finland, Imam Shaykh Muhammad Ismail from the United Kingdom, Amina
Baghajati from Austria, Sheikh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, President of the Irish
Islamic Council for Peace and Integration, Anna Stamou , the spokeswoman for the Association
of Muslims in Greece, Anouar Kbibech , President of the Rassemblement des Musulmans de France
(RMF), Tarafa Baghajati , Islamic Religious Authority of Austria, and Liya
Makhmutova , President of Muslim Baltic Women from Estonia.
The meeting also involved Prof. Alberto Melloni, secretary of FSCIRE, who hosted
the event, Halima Rubbo from the Italian COREIS, and Prof. Mohammed
Abu-Nimer, Senior Advisor to KAICIID, the International Dialogue Centre founded by Austria, Saudi
Arabia and Spain.
Muslim leaders from Eulema told the president of the European Parliament that “they were
concerned about the increasing spread of anti-Muslim sentiment against religious people in
Europe and that a new generation of Muslim experts must work together more effectively to overcome the
challenges facing intercultural and interfaith dialogue as a way of combating prejudice”.
With this in mind, they asked President Sassoli to devise “better policies for promoting the
religious freedom of Muslim citizens in Europe”. The various proposals included backing
training courses for imams and murshidats (female religious leaders) on the
issue of shared European values and fundamental rights, working in partnership with Hebrew and Christian
organisations including the Giovanni XXIII Foundation for Religious Sciences (FSCIRE).
On the subject of integrating immigrants, Eulema also plans to work with Caritas and Sant’Egidio
in Italy to provide professional-social training and psychological and spiritual support to help prevent the
risk of alienation and the creation of ghettos. A special plan will be studied for Afghan