Major Islamic conference in Paris accused of hosting hate speaker

By Shirli Sitbon, May 1, 2014
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A speaker at France’s biggest Islamic event, the annual meeting of the Union of Islamic Organisations (UOIF), told the crowd that “all the misery in the world originates from the Jews and the Zionist barbarism”, according to a report in Le Figaro.

Renowned sociologist Michèle Tribalat, who researches immigration and Islam and was at last week’s event, reported that speaker Hani Ramadan had said that the hand of Zionists and Jews are behind events that “hit Muslims across the world”.

Ramadan, one of the event’s main speakers, is the director of the Geneva Islamic Centre and the brother of Tariq Ramadan, a Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. The brothers are grandsons of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan El-Banna.

“Islam is being attacked from everywhere,” said Ramadan, according to Mr Tribalat.

Ramadan reportedly cited France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Rwanda and the Central African Republic as places where the “Zionist hand… operates in the dark”.

Shimon Samuels, International Relations Director at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said: “The alleged antisemitic statements can’t be proven. Last year our colleague tried filming the speeches at the conference, but he was told to turn his camera off.”

Mr Samuels added: “We’ve been to the UOIF meeting several times and bought antisemitic tapes and books.

“I call on the UOIF to go transparent and investigate these allegations of antisemitism. The UOIF should prove it stands by its stated values.”

In 2004, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre accused the UOIF of financing terror group Hamas through the Palestinian Charitable and Relief Committee (CBSP), a pro-Palestinian French charity. The CBSP sued the centre for libel and lost at the Supreme Court after a four-and-a-half year legal battle.

Topping the wrong global league:

France leads the world when it comes to violence perpetrated against Jews, according to a new survey by the European Jewish Congress and Tel Aviv University.

The survey, published last Sunday, revealed that in 2013 there were 554 registered violent antisemitic acts around the world.

France topped the table, with 116 recorded violent incidents. The UK came next, with 95 cases, compared to 84 in 2012. There were also rises in Canada, with 83 compared to 74; in Germany, with 36 compared to 23; in the Ukraine, with 23 compared to 15; and in Hungary, with 14 compared to 12 in 2012.

While there was an overall 19 per cent drop in incidents from the previous year, the report said that 2012 saw an “exceptionally sharp rise”.

The 2013 figure was near the annual average of 550 cases over the past decade, a level that is high compared to the preceding decade.

President of the European Jewish Congress Dr Moshe Kantor commented: “Normative Jewish life in Europe is unsustainable if such huge numbers of European Jews are forced to live in fear and insecurity. Governments must be pressed to address this issue with utmost urgency.”

Last updated: 3:48pm, May 1 2014