A European rabbinical umbrella organization boycotted an interfaith conference on Monday after it was determined that Muslim delegates included members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The meeting, co-hosted by the European Commission and the European Parliament, took place in Brussels, Belgium. It was intended to bring together four religious leaders from each participating faith community. Three of the Islamic delegates were members of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE).
In a statement explaining the decision not to attend the meeting, the Executive Director of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Rabbi Aba Dunner, said: "We do not consider it appropriate for organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who made or endorsed anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to be present."
The Muslim invitees, according to the CER, are "extremists who are not representative of the vast majority of Europe's Muslim citizens, who support dialogue and the democratic values of the European Union." The statement noted that the interfaith initiative was a positive one, but that it was "undermined by the inclusion of people who are not interested in interfaith dialogue but in promoting divisive ideologies."
While the CER delegates stayed away, Rabbi Levi Matusof of the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE), decided to attend the event. In a news conference after the meeting, Rabbi Matusof said, "This is a dialogue between the religious leaders and the European institutions; it is not an intra-religious dialogue between the religious leaders." The RCE, an Orthodox religious organization like the veteran CER, was founded in 2000.
European Jewish Political Leadership Supports
The European Jewish Congress (EJC), a continent-wide political umbrella organization, expressed support for the CER's boycott.
"At the very root of any meaningful interfaith dialogue is the critically important issue of tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect. Sadly, today's European interfaith gathering reflects neither that spirit nor its practice," said EJC President Moshe Kantor. "Instead, whether by oversight or by deliberate action, three of the
Rabbi Levi Matusof of the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE), decided to attend the event.
four Muslim invitees taken by Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering included Muslim representatives who have links to organizations affiliated with the international Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organization known for supporting jihad against the West."
EU Hosts Upset
The European Commission hosts of the interfaith gathering were perturbed by the absence of the rabbis they invited from the CER.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference Monday that the decision not to attend was regrettable. "This meeting aims to foster dialogue and build on common ground, regarding the importance of this economic and financial crisis and we believe it is important to contribute. ...It is time for unity and not for isolation on such an important topic."
What is the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt. It calls for Islamic domination of all nations under Muslim law, to be carried out by violent jihad or all other means.
A 1991 document revealed the Muslim Brotherhood's view of the strategy to be employed in North America: "The Muslim Brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated, and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
Hamas, the jihadist organization currently ruling the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, is a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, as is the Gaza-based Doghmush clan's Army of Islam terrorist group. Similarly, Al-Qaeda's leader Osama Bin-Laden's mentor was a graduate of the Muslim Brotherhood, as is al-Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahiri.