Europe must increase its efforts to integrate Muslims and eradicate religious hate speech, Muslim World League (MWL) chief Mohammed al-Issa has declared.
“We believe that European countries, where there is much debate now, and other countries around the world … need to enhance national assimilation programmes and criminalise hatred and contempt for adherents of religions because this threatens the safety of the community,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Without giving specific details, the wealthy Saudi figure told the international news agency that the MWL “has programmes and curricula that enhance national assimilation and which can courageously and forcefully confront all forms of extremism, as well as special programmes to thwart efforts to infiltrate the Muslim community”.
Widely regarded a promoter of the Kingdom’s fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology which critics allege is the basis for jihadi violence across the globe, the MWL is very active in nations of Europe which have a large number of Muslim residents, such as Britain and France.
As well as encouraging followers of Islam to be more religiously observant and promoting global solidarity among Muslims, the body also seeks to propagate a conservative brand of the religion and convert nonbelievers, according to the Pew Research Center.
Islamic Org Claims Europeans Need Millions of Muslim Migrants to Pay Their Pensions
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 8, 2017
At the weekend, al-Issa said the MWL is pouring all of its resources into fighting “the extremism wrongly labelled as Islam, and the opposite extremism known as Islamophobia” — both of which he labelled ‘evil forces which threaten the global safety of humanity”, according to Arab News.
But critics say that the teachings at MWL-controlled mosques promote hatred, with the Belgian government just last month terminating Saudi Arabia’s 50-year lease of the country’s oldest mosque, which was accused of promulgating a strain of Islam suspected of “playing a very significant role in violent radicalism”.
Concerns about the mosque, which is situated less than half a mile from the European Commission headquarters, grew after Islamic fundamentalists carried out a string of jihadi terror attacks in Belgium, including bombings at Brussels airport and a city metro station in 2016 that claimed 32 lives.
At a roundtable event last month, commission vice-president Frans Timmermans discussed migration, anti-Muslim discrimination, and the threats of “right-wing and ‘Islamic extremism’ with ten imams who are based in EU member states”.
“Islam is part of our history, Islam is part of our present and Islam will be part of our future,” he said, adding that “the Commission is strongly committed to promoting diversity in Europe”.