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.
Barcelona. Meeting with the general secretary KAICIID. Present were Mufti Grabus, Imam Munir, Imam Bagadjati, the spokesperson for the Muslim community in Greece Stamou and Rabbi Goldberg
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, Hungary.
EULEMA was born as a legacy of some previous experiences of coordination between Muslims in Europe:
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 Metsola.
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.
European Parliament from EU, CC BY 2.0 , attraverso Wikimedia Commons
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 refugees.