France Dissolves Islamist Group, Founder Requests Political Asylum in Erdogan’s Turkey

NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images
NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images

The former head of the Islamist NGO Barakacity, which was dissolved by the French government, has requested political asylum from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The founder and former head of the now-defunct Islamist NGO, Idriss Sihamedi, took to Twitter to speak about the aftermath of the government ban.

“The French state decided to dissolve the humanitarian aid and human rights organisation Barakacity, which operates for two million poor people in 26 countries. This is despite there being no real charges in the files after a three-year investigation,” Sihamedi wrote in Turkish.

He went on to address President Erdogan’s Twitter account directly, asking: “I would like to request political asylum for myself and my team since I am not safe in France on behalf of our NGO.”

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced the formal dissolution of Barakacity earlier this week after stating that the group “incited hatred” and “maintained relations within the radical Islamist movement”.

Sihamedi has been labelled a Salafist in the past, and French media revealed that he had previously been under observation by the French domestic security agency, the Directorate General of Homeland Security (DGSI).

The NGO has also been accused of strange financial practices in 2013 when it raised around €3 million but claimed to have a “profit” of nearly €2 million.

The ban on the group is just one step taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government since the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty.

A mosque which shared a video on Facebook targeting Paty was also closed by the government following the attack. Earlier this week, a court confirmed the closure of the Patin mosque for the next six months.

Sihamedi’s request to President Erdogan is likely not a coincidence as Erdogan has called President Macron mentally unwell over his policy to crack down on Islamist groups and tensions between the two countries remain high.

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