Europe in 2016

 

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi was in Slovakia in Bratislava to give a lecture on how to counter Islamophobia and prejudices in Europe with French Senator Esther Benbassa. She was asked to present what interfaith could do to foster communication and better understanding. Samia reflects on the French example of Muslim communities, its diversity and the need to show another narrative to counter anti-Muslim discourses spreading all over Europe.

Journalists and activists present in the audience issued statements about the rising anti-Muslim discourses coming from the highest political figures in the aftermath of the migrant crisis with less than 2000 Muslims who live in Slovakia.


OSCE Mediterranean Conference (Vienna, Austria)

On October 5-6, 2016, FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi was invited in Vienna as a keynote speaker at The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mediterranean Conference, which focused on "Youth North and South of the Mediterranean: Facing Security Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities" held in its headquarters in Austria. She highlighted the challenges faced by her generation and some examples of best practices to empower young people to become leaders for a brighter future.

Loosing young people to violent extremism and terrorist groups is not about media or politics, it's about real lives, explains Samia Hathroubi, a French-Tunisian activist and European Director of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Samia took part in the 2016 OSCE Mediterranean Conference on Youth North and South of the Mediterranean, organized in Vienna on 5-6 October.

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi is among the 25 Muslim leaders and academics from Western countries participating in IIIT European Summer School 2016 Program, "Muslims in Europe: Challenges of Pluralism" in Sarajevo from August 10-24, 2016. It is organized by the Center foe Advanced Studies, Sarajevo and Institute for Epistemological Studies Europe.


FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi is pioneering a Leadership and Mentoring Program for young Muslim women from disadvantaged areas. One of the programs was a trip to the National French Parliament on July 19th, 2016.


Salam/Shalom BarCamp (Copenhagen, Denmark)

June 1-5, 2016, Salam/Shalom BarCamp held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding European Director Samia Hathroubi attended and took part in the European gathering of Muslim-Jewish youth activists. The participants shared their stories, work and hopes to create a better understanding between people from different faiths in Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Other attendees in this inspiring barcamp were Rabbi Rebecca Lilian from Malmo, the female imam Sherin Khankan from Copenhagen, the Mellem Education, Shalom Salam initiative from Berlin and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.


Professor John L. Esposito with FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi.

Professor John L. Esposito with FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi.

On May 26th, FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi chaired and facilitated the European symposium launching the report of gender dimension on Islamophobia. Among the speakers, Professor John L. Esposito from Georgetown University gave a brilliant presentation of the normalization of Islamophobia.The report and program on Forgotten Women highlighted the appalling situation of hate crime and hate-speech towards Muslim women in Europe and the discriminations they face in the labour market.


French imams with MEP Afzal Khan (center) and Samia Hathroubi.

French imams with MEP Afzal Khan (center) and Samia Hathroubi.

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi shaped a training for French imams to have a better understanding of the different European institutions and be able to engage more on the European levels. On May 25th, the imams then went to the European Parliament where they met with the special representative for the Muslim communities, our friend, Afzal Khan, MEP. The delegation of imams, together with Rabbi Guigui, also met with the Muslim representative in Belgium.


Annual Gathering of Muslims in Le Bourget, France

Professor Tariq Ramadan, intellectual and writer Ghaleb Bencheikh and Samia Hathroubi.

Professor Tariq Ramadan, intellectual and writer Ghaleb Bencheikh and Samia Hathroubi.

On May 15, 2016, FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi was invited to speak at the Annual Gathering of Muslims in Le Bourget, France, the largest Islamic conference in France. She talked about the challenges of the Muslim communities and her work to bridge the gap between communities.

Themed "Together We make the Future", the conference discussed a host of topics of interest for the Muslim community in France, which estimated around 150,000 in attendance throughout the four-day event.


Le Festival Des Conversations (Festival of Conversation)

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi was invited as a speaker for the Festival of Conversation with best-seller author, Alexandre Jardin, and French-Jewish architect Roland Castro. They hold a discussion on how words can break down conflicts. She stressed on the examples of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and interfaith dialogue in Europe and the US.


EHESS National Institute of Social Sciences

FFEU European Director, Samia Hathroubi, gave a lecture to master and Ph.D. candidates on April 12, 2016 at EHESS National Institute of Social Sciences about European Muslim Jewish perspectives. During her presentation and discussion, she highlighted the unique advocacy work done by FFEU in Europe on circumcision and ritual slaughter. She was also invited by the Turkish Director of Sociology Nilufer Gole, a prominent intellectual on Muslim communities in Europe.

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi giving a lecture at EHESS National Institute of Social Sciences.

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi giving a lecture at EHESS National Institute of Social Sciences.

Turkish Director of Sociology Nilufer Gole and FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi (R).

Turkish Director of Sociology Nilufer Gole and FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi (R).


Festival Voice of Peace 2016 in Paris, France 

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi gave an interview in French about FFEU's mission in Europe especially after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, and about the challenges and ways to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations particularly in France. This is for the upcoming Festival Voice of Peace to be held in the City Hall of Paris on March 22nd, 2016.

Click on the link for more information: http://www.lesvoixdelapaix.fr/3_questions_a_Samia_Hathroubi.html

In the picture: Afzal Khan, MEP of Manchester and Special Representative of Muslim communities; David Friegheri, Commissioner of Anti-Muslim hatred in Europe; Rabbi Guigui, Great Rabbi of Brussels; Stephanie Lecesne, Coordinator of CEJI; Julie Pascoet, Advocacy officer of European Network against Racism; Mustapha Chairi, CCIB Organisation against Islamophobia in Belgium and Ilan Scialom, Vice President of Coexister youth interfaith movement.

In the picture: Afzal Khan, MEP of Manchester and Special Representative of Muslim communities; David Friegheri, Commissioner of Anti-Muslim hatred in Europe; Rabbi Guigui, Great Rabbi of Brussels; Stephanie Lecesne, Coordinator of CEJI; Julie Pascoet, Advocacy officer of European Network against Racism; Mustapha Chairi, CCIB Organisation against Islamophobia in Belgium and Ilan Scialom, Vice President of Coexister youth interfaith movement.


The Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders (GEMJL) is the only trans-European Muslim-Jewish body. GEMJL is the platform for Muslim and Jewish leaders across Europe to communicate with one another to build bridges between their different communities and to work together for the rights and freedoms of all Europeans. GEMJL's Rapid Response Committee also provides space for GEMJL members to come together and respond immediately to crises.

In 2009, the FFEU brought a mission of European Muslim and Jewish leaders to Washington D.C. to plant the seeds of a meaningful European Muslim-Jewish body. We then held conferences in Brussels (2010) and Paris (2012) to serve as a permanent year-round structure dedicated to strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations and protesting for the rights of both communities in countries across Europe. GEMJL worked on issue areas such as the Council of Europe's proposed ban on circumcision and Denmark's prohibition of kosher/halal slaughter, as well as, stood together after terror attacks.

 

ISSUE AREAS

Rapid Response Committee

GEMJL founded the Rapid Response Committee to effectively and rapidly respond to times of crisis, particularly, episodes of violence and terror; and to rebuild broken bridges and fight against Islamophobic and Anti-Semitic backlash. The committee, which consists of a rotating group of GEMJL members, communicate with one another on plans of action and statements to make immediately when a crisis occurs. In January, 2015, after horrific terror attacks in Paris, Samia and GEMJL worked with Coexister to coordinate a delegation of Muslim and Jewish European leaders who marched together in the Paris Unite March.

 

Denmark slaughter legislation

When Denmark passed a law requiring pre-stunning of animals before slaughter, thereby prohibiting kosher and halal, FFEU and GEMJL immediately responded. Delegations of Muslim and Jewish leaders met with: Denmark's ambassador to the U.S., Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Denmark's ambassador to France, Anne Dorte Riggelsen, and, the man who passed the mandate, Denmark's Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dan Jorgensen; to explain the challenges that the legislation posed to the free practice of both Islam and Judaism in Denmark. While Denmark has not yet changed the law to allow exception for religious minorities, with continued pressure, we hope they will soon.

 

Council of Europe resolution

The first policy-based initiative of GEMJL was to fight against the Council of Europe's resolution advocating the banning of circumcision. The delegation met with the Council of Europe's Secretary General, Thorbjorn Jagland, a meeting made possible by Imam Senaid Kobilica, chief imam of Norway and fellow countryman of Mr. Jagland. At the meeting, the delegation presented Mr. Jagland with the first pan-European Muslim-Jewish petition, protesting the resolution. Mr. Jagland reassured the Muslim and Jewish leaders that he will do everything in his power to protect religious freedom.

Click here to view the GEMJL petition

 

Statements:

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi with Afzal Khan, European Union S&D Group President's Special Representative to Muslim Communities. 2016. 

FFEU European Director Samia Hathroubi with Afzal Khan, European Union S&D Group President's Special Representative to Muslim Communities. 2016. 

  • February 16, 2015

    GEMJL's Rapid Response Committee statement about the terror attack in Copenhagen.

  • January 8, 2015

    French Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders' statement Standing Up for the Other in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo and HyperCacher terror attack.

  • May 25, 2014

    GEMJL's statement on results of European Parliament elections.

  • May 25, 2014

    GEMJL's statement on the shooting attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24th, 2014.

  • For more information on GEMJL, check out FFEU 2014 Highlights Brochure here


Interviews: 

FFEU European Director, Samia Hathroubi on Al Jazeera UK after the Paris attacks, calling for unity among French society. 

FFEU European Director, Samia Hathroubi on Al Jazeera UK after the Paris attacks, calling for unity among French society.