Jewish organizations in Europe announced Monday they will not be taking part in the annual meeting in Brussels of religious leaders from across Europe held that day, after Muslim activists affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood were invited to represent Islam in the event.
“We do not consider it appropriate that organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who in the past made, or endorsed, anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to the radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood should be present at such gatherings,” Conference of European Rabbis Executive Director Rabbi Aba Dunner declared.
The meeting, co-hosted by the presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament, José Manuel Barroso and Hans-Gert Pöttering, included four representatives from each participating faith. Three of the four representatives of Islam this year were members of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, a fact that outraged the Jewish groups.
In a joint statement published Monday, the CER and the World Jewish Congress expressed regret that "the positive initiative of the European institutions – bringing religious leaders together to foster mutual trust and understanding – had been undermined by the inclusion of people who are not interested in inter-faith dialogue but in promoting divisive ideologies."
Rabbi Dunner added that The CER "regretted that the European institutions had chosen to patronize extremists that are not representative of the vast majority of Europe’s Muslim citizens who support dialogue and the democratic values of the European Union."