France has barred four Islamic preachers from entering the country after banning prominent preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi and another Egyptian cleric who wanted to attend a Muslim conference in Paris. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and Interior Minister Claude Gueant said in a joint statement on Thursday the four preachers “call for hate and violence … and, in the current context, present a strong risk of upsetting public order”. President Nicolas Sarkozy, who ordered a crackdown on extremists after the Toulouse killings by an al Qaeda-inspired gunman last week, said on Monday that Qaradawi and Mahmoud al-Masri were not welcome in France. The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), which invited the scholars to an April 6-9 conference, said it was surprised and hurt by the government’s “manifest determination to prolong a polemic … based on total ignorance”. The UOIF said the bans “risk deepening the feeling French Muslims have of being blacklisted and treated with prejudice”. The four preachers – a Palestinian, an Egyptian and two Saudis – were due to take part in an annual conference in Paris hosted by the UOIF. They are Ikrima al-Sabri, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, Egyptian preacher Safwat al-Hijazi, Saudi self-help preacher Ayedh al-Qarni and Saudi imam and Koran reciter Abdallah Basfar. The UOIF said none of them advocated violence. The ministers regretted the UOIF had invited Swiss-born Tariq Ramadan, who teaches at Britain’s Oxford University, but they did not bar him. They said his views “are contrary to the republican spirit and do no service to French Muslims”. Ramadan has a following among young French Muslims, whom he encourages to insist on their right to practice their faith despite official bans on religious symbols in state schools and in the public service. France’s five million Muslims are the largest Islamic minority in Europe. Juppe and Gueant said France respected all religions and upheld the right to free speech. ”But while France is hit by extremists who attack it in the name of ideologies and errant beliefs, it is crucial that these liberties are exercised within the law and with respect for our fundamental values,” they said.A report from the NEFA Foundation identifies Ikrima al-Sabir (aka Ekirma Al-Sabri) as a trustee of the Union of Good (UOG), an organization described as follows:
……a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. It is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United States, although neither Youssef Qaradawi nor any of the Trustees were similarly designated. Despite the fact that action has been taken against some of its member organizations in Europe, many of its other European member organizations continue to operate. Further, the Union of Good itself does not appear to be under investigation in Europe.In November 2000, al-Sabri expressed his views admiring child “martyrs” involved in “jihad” against Israel. A post from 2009 discussed remarks by Al-Sabri in which called on Muslims to protect Al-Aqsa from “Zionist plots and evil designs.”
An Israeli terrorism research center provides background on Ayedh al-Qarni and his 2008 fatwa calling for “attacks on Israeli interests worldwide”:
Many Islamic sites with forums which identify with the Global Jihad, reported on 28 December 2008, that Awad Al-Qarni, a senior Saudi Arabian Islamic cleric, published a fatwa calling for attacks on Israeli interests worldwide “in response to the slaughtering which the Occupation is perpetrating in the Gaza Strip”. Awad Al-Qarni states in his fatwa: “I am publishing a religious ruling according to which all Israeli interests and anything which has an Israeli affinity, constitutes a legitimate target for the Moslems wherever it may be”. He added “The Zionists must be targets, and their blood must be shed as the blood of our brothers is being shed in Palestine”. Awad Al-Qarni Also stated that: “If not for the laxity of the Arabs and the involvement of some of the Arab governments in this conspiracy, the Zionists would not dare to perpetrate this slaughter”. Awad Al-Qarni has a Ph.D. in Islamic traditional law. He is employed as a lecturer at the King Khaled University in Saudi Arabia, as well at as other educational centers in the Kingdom. He is considered to be one of the harshest rivals of modernization and secularism in the Saudi arena and he frequently voices his radical opinions at the conferences which he attends, in his essays and his publications. Awad Al-Qarni is one of those who signed the opinion paper in March 2006, calling for the support of the Palestinian people and the Hamas, as well as the opinion paper of November 2004, signed by 26 Saudi clerics, who called for Jihad in Iraq.The Al-Faloja forum, which is identified with Global Jihad, called Al-Qarni the Mufti of the Al-Qaida organization in the Arabian Peninsula.In March 2006, Al-Qarni attended a conference in Bahrain that was also attended by leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood including Youssef Qaradawi.
Safwat al-Hijazi is the chairman of the board of an organization known as Trustees of the Egyptian Revolution which is known to have coordinated with the The International Committee to Break The Siege on Gaza, in turn closely tied to Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In July 2011, he gave a TV interview in which he made virulently anti-Semitic remarks including:
“Those who profess to be Jews are foreign riffraff, as I told you. They originated from the Khazar Jews who lived in Romania or Poland, after having been banished from Spain during the Inquisition. They were Jews by religion, and they were banished, and they lived in these countries as Khazar Jews… They are not related in any way to the Israelites – not in their race, their dynasty, or their religion. […] ”What was on the minds of Theodor Herzl and his forefathers was the hatred of the international community toward those so-called Jews, and the corruption and evil that they have brought upon the world, ever since they tried to kill Christ. These people earned much hatred and loathing. Herzl wanted to give himself and the world a break, so he began to consider establishing this state.” […]Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV. A ban on Ramadan traveling to the US was lifted in January 2010 and several posts have discussed his recent visits to the US where he appeared at various US Muslim Brotherhood venues including giving the keynote at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago annual banquet in April 2010. He was scheduled to give the keynote address at the 16th annual CAIR banquet in October.
Earlier posts discussed the ban on Qaradawi entering France to attend the annual conference of the Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF). The UOIF is widely regarded as representing the Muslim Brotherhood in France. Fouad Alaoui and Lahj Breze took over the leadership of the UOIF in 1993 and were known as the “Bordelaise Clan”, a reference to the French town in which they met as students. They were generally regarded as more moderate than their predecessors Abdallah Ben Mansour and Ahmed Jaballah who have both served as officers of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Foud Alaoui is also a FIOE officer. In June 2011, a post reported that the UOIF elected Ahmed Jaballah as its new President, replacing Fouad Alaoui who was elected to a four-year term in 2009 but resigned his post. An earlier postreported that Jaballah was identified as a member of the “Meeting of Muslim Scholars and Thinkers”, an organizaton sponsored by the Saudi Muslim World League. A post from last week discussed a UOIF condemnation of the recent shootings in France that echoes standard Global Muslim Brotherhood themes about terrorism.