Strong Voice Against Violent Extremism in Brussels

Over 250 Islamic scholars, academics and opinion leaders from all over the world convened in Brussels on 15 and 16 March to discuss the causes and counter-measures of radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism committed in the name of religion. Organised by Dialogue Platform and KU Leuven Fethullah Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies, the symposium sent a strong and resounding message made all the more meaningful in the absence of a unified voice from the Muslim world.

CVE allFor more information about the symposium and the participating influencers, please visit counteringviolentextremism.eu

The symposium explored the complex links and interactions relating to religious texts, social circumstances and cultural contexts which lead to extremism and violence and provide opportunities to deepen understanding of the patterns of religious violence, its so-called justification as well as  the nature and scope of the moral responses to them. Furthermore, it aimed to stimulate and pool ideas on policy recommendations and community projects that would directly or indirectly undermine violent extremist ideology and recruitment especially within the context of Europe.

The specific questions posed by the symposium organisers to the speakers were:

* Is Islam inherently prone to violence?

* Do Muslims have a particular responsibility to counter violent extremism?

* What tangible steps should Islamic scholars take in countering violent extremism?

* How should we understand jihad today?

* How can we counter hate propaganda spread through social media?

* Does interfaith dialogue have a supporting role in countering violent extremist ideology?

* What should an Islamic studies curriculum look like?

* How can Muslim societies reignite their zeal for freedom of thought?

In first day, there were parallel sessions to discuss and debate these issues over eight workshops in the first day and three panel discussions in the second day. On the second day of the symposium, a final declaratory reflections was read out.

There were 57 speakers including opening speeches. 387 people were registered and attended to the symposium. Some of the key influencers that attended were Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University, USA; Prof Said Chabbar, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Morocco; President of the Council of Muslim Scholars, Indonesia; Bishop of Oslo-Norway, and experts on national security from a number of countries. Belgian Minister of Justice, Prof. Koen Geens sent his message to the symposium.

The symposium was broadcasted live on a number of worldwide TV stations.

Find below media coverage of the symposium:

‘De islam is niet de oorzaak van extremisme, wel de oplossing’

250 islamic scholars condem isis and present solutions to countering violent extremism in Brussels

Scholars from around the world gather in Brussels to debate roots of terrorism

Moslim experts veroordelen terrorisme welke frustraties drijven jongeren naar syrie

Onderzoek IS-tijdschrift: IS verspreidt knip-en-plak-islam en verantwoordt gruweldaden zoals nazi’s

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Fethullah Gulen Condemns Brussels Terrorist Attacks and Extends Condolences to Victims

Fethullah Gulen, the Honorary President of Intercultural Dialogue Platform, has issued a statement to condemn the Brussels terrorist attacks and extended condolences to the victims.

The statement has also been published in Belgian newspapers, De Morgen and La Libre Belgique.  

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To read Mr. Gulen’s message in Dutch click here.

“I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attacks at the Brussels International Airport and Metro station on March 22 that resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people and the injuries of hundreds.

Regardless of the perpetrators and their stated purposes, every terrorist attack is a murder and an attack on the sanctity of life itself, and deserves condemnation in the strongest terms. Neither a religion nor any human being with a conscience can condone such cruelty.

Those who carry out such attacks and who support the perpetrators are oblivious to the ethos of the religion that they proclaim, and inflict the biggest damage to the religion’s reputation in the world. Those who consciously perpetrate such acts have lost touch with their very humanity, and do not represent any religious identity.

In addition to the intelligence and security measures taken to prevent individual terrorist attacks, there is a pressing need for cooperation between states and civil society groups to eliminate swamp-like environments and conditions that facilitate recruitment by terrorist groups.

I am confident that leaders in countries with strong democratic and legal foundations, like Belgium, will act with prudence to develop lasting solutions that incorporate their Muslim citizens and avoid feeding into the hateful rhetoric of terrorist groups.

These heinous terrorist attacks have been inflicted not only on the Belgian people but also on the solidarity of humanity and universal human values. I send my deepest condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and the people of Belgium. I pray for the fast recovery of the wounded.

On this occasion I also send my condolences and prayers to the citizens of all countries, including my home land of Turkey, who lost their loved ones in recent terrorist attacks.

I pray to God, the Most Graceful, the Compassionate, to save humanity from the scourge of terrorism and spread an atmosphere around the world where people empathically embrace each other.”

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To read Mr Gulen’s message in French click here

About Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades‐long commitment to interfaith tolerance and altruism has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Gulen is the honorary chairman of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, Brussels, Belgium; Foundation of Journalists and Writers, Istanbul, Turkey; and Rumi Forum, Washington DC.

MESSAGE DE FETHULLAH GÜLEN

MESSAGE DE CONDAMNATION ET DE CONDOLEANCES  CONCERNANT LES ATTAQUES TERRORISTES DE BRUXELLES

Je condamne fermement les attaques terroristes brutales ayant eu lieu ce mardi 22 mars à l’aéroport de Zaventem et à la station de métro Maelbeek, et qui ont causé la mort de plus de 30 innocents et la blessure de centaines d’autres.

 Chaque attaque terroriste, quel qu’en soit l’auteur et le but, est un crime. Elle reflète une violation de la sainteté de la vie humaine et ne mérite rien d’autre que d’être condamnée. Aucune religion et aucun être humain muni de conscience ne peut tolérer de tels actes de cruauté.

Les auteurs de ces attaques ignobles et ceux qui les soutiennent ignorent la nature de la religion qu’ils revendiquent et infligent la plus grande dégradation de son image dans le monde. Ceux qui commettent ces actes ont perdu tout sentiment d’humanité et ne représentent aucune identité religieuse.

Outre les mesures de sécurité et de renseignement mises en place pour empêcher la réitération de telles attaques, il y a un besoin urgent de coopération entre les États et les organisations de la société civile, afin d’éliminer les environnements et les circonstances facilitant le recrutement aux groupes terroristes.

Je suis convaincu que les dirigeants des pays aux valeurs démocratiques fortes et aux normes juridiques universelles, tels que la Belgique, agiront avec prudence afin de générer des solutions durables qui incluent leurs citoyens musulmans et qui évitent d’alimenter les discours de haine des groupes terroristes.

Ces attaques terroristes ne portent pas seulement atteinte au peuple belge, mais aussi à la solidarité de toute l’humanité et aux valeurs humaines universelles. Je présente mes sincères condoléances aux familles et proches des victimes, ainsi qu’à l’ensemble du peuple belge. Je souhaite un prompt rétablissement à tous les blessés.

À cette occasion, je présente également toutes mes condoléances et prières aux citoyens du monde entier, y compris à ceux de mon pays, la Turquie, qui ont perdu leurs êtres aimés lors des attaques terroristes récentes.

Je prie Dieu pour qu’Il sauve l’humanité de ce fléau qu’est le terrorisme, et qu’Il répande une atmosphère où les êtres humains s’accueillent les bras ouverts, avec empathie, dans le monde entier.

Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gulen est un savant musulman, prédicateur et défendeur des droits sociaux, dont le long engagement pour l’altruisme et la tolérance interreligieuse a inspiré des millions en Turquie et à travers le monde. Gulen est le président honoraire de la plateforme de dialogue interculturel.

Fethullah Gülen veroordeelt de terroristische aanslagen in Brussel en betuigt medeleven aan slachtoffers en nabestaanden

Boodschap van Fethullah Gülen naar aanleiding van de terreuracties in de luchthaven van Zaventem en het Brusselse metrostation Maalbeek

Met klem en overtuiging veroordeel ik de moorddadige terreuraanvallen die op dinsdag 22 maart jl. in Zaventem en Brussel aan meer dan dertig mensen het leven kostten en er honderden verwondden.

Ongeacht de aard van de daders of hun motieven moet elke terroristische daad zonder enige terughoudendheid worden veroordeeld als een aanval op de heiligheid van het leven, als een moord op de mens en de menselijkheid. Geen enkele godsdienst, geen enkel gewetensvol mens kan en mag dergelijke wreedheid vergoelijken.

Diegenen die deze aanvallen planden, uitvoerden en ondersteun(d)en verguizen de ethiek van de religie die zij claimen uit te dragen. Integendeel, zij beschadig(d)en hun geloof in zijn essentie… bij uitbreiding elke religie. Zij die dit soort van daden bewust bedrijven verliezen elke voeling met hun eigen menszijn, ze kunnen onmogelijk een religieuze identiteit vertegenwoordigen.

Naast en aanvullend aan de vele veiligheidsmaatregelen noodzakelijk om individuele terreuraanvallen te voorkomen, lijkt nu – meer dan ooit – een hechte samenwerking tussen overheden en burgerorganisaties broodnodig. Mede hierdoor kunnen we een einde maken aan de rekrutering en gewelddadige radicalisering door terroristische groeperingen.

Ik heb een groot vertrouwen in de leiders van democratische landen, zoals België. Als rechtsstaat zal jullie land, met actieve participatie van zijn moslimburgers, krachtige en doeltreffende oplossingen vinden om de haatboodschappen van terroristen slagkrachtig te counteren.

Tegelijkertijd bied ik mijn diepste medeleven aan de slachtoffers, hun familie, naasten en vrienden… en de gehele Belgische bevolking. Mijn bijzondere aandacht gaat uit naar hen die overblijven na verlies van een geliefde of naaste bij de vele terreuraanvallen in alsmaar meer landen, mijn vaderland Turkije inbegrepen. Al deze gruweldaden die jullie land zo diep kwetsten, raken de hele mensheid en bedreigen de universele waarden van de mens.

 Ik bid God dat hij de mensheid zo snel mogelijk verlost van de gesel van het terrorisme. Ik hoop – blijf hopen – op een wereld waar broederlijkheid heerst.

Fethullah Gülen

Islamitische geleerde en prediker

Fethullah Gulen Condemns Brussels Terrorist Attacks

EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO VICTIMS

Intercultural Dialogue Platform issued the following statement from Fethullah Gulen on the Brussels terrorist attacks.

I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attacks at the Brussels International Airport and Metro station on March 22 that resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people and the injuries of hundreds.

Regardless of the perpetrators and their stated purposes, every terrorist attack is a murder and an attack on the sanctity of life itself, and deserves condemnation in the strongest terms. Neither a religion nor any human being with a conscience can condone such cruelty.

Those who carry out such attacks and who support the perpetrators are oblivious to the ethos of the religion that they proclaim, and inflict the biggest damage to the religion’s reputation in the world. Those who consciously perpetrate such acts have lost touch with their very humanity, and do not represent any religious identity.

In addition to the intelligence and security measures taken to prevent individual terrorist attacks, there is a pressing need for cooperation between states and civil society groups to eliminate swamp-like environments and conditions that facilitate recruitment by terrorist groups.

I am confident that leaders in countries with strong democratic and legal foundations, like Belgium, will act with prudence to develop lasting solutions that incorporate their Muslim citizens and avoid feeding into the hateful rhetoric of terrorist groups.

These heinous terrorist attacks have been inflicted not only on the Belgian people but also on the solidarity of humanity and universal human values. I send my deepest condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and the people of Belgium. I pray for the fast recovery of the wounded.

On this occasion I also send my condolences and prayers to the citizens of all countries, including my home land of Turkey, who lost their loved ones in recent terrorist attacks.

I pray to God, the Most Graceful, the Compassionate, to save humanity from the scourge of terrorism and spread an atmosphere around the world where people empathically embrace each other.

About Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades‐long commitment to interfaith tolerance and altruism has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Gulen is the honorary chairman of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, Brussels, Belgium; Foundation of Journalists and Writers, Istanbul, Turkey; and Rumi Forum, Washington DC.

Europe and the Muslim World: Perceptions and Realities

Roundtable Lunch Discussion

with Prof. Mark Sedgwick, Aarhus University, Denmark

on Thursday, 25 February 2016, Dialogue Platform

At this event Prof Sedgwick has responded to the questions like to what extent perceptions are grounded in reality? What are the challenges of war, jihad and global terrorism?

Most of the individual Muslims who are best known in today’s Europe are not Western European Muslims but Middle Eastern Muslims such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The public visibility of Muslims in Western Europe is in part a function of the public visibility of the Muslim world, and especially of the Middle East. And what is most visible is conflict.

This roundtable discussion asked why and looked into the political and cultural relations between Western Europe and the Muslim world.

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Dialogue Platform Denounces Seizure of Zaman

Press Release

Brussels , 07 March 2016

The Turkish government’s seizure of Zaman, the most circulating newspaper in Turkey, is an attack on the country’s human rights, freedom of expression and the media. Alongside with Zaman daily, Today’s Zaman (the English language daily of the group), Cihan News Agency and Aksiyon weekly have also been confiscated. This is another evidence that president Erdoğan seeks to consolidate his power and silence the opposition which serves to his growing authoritarian tendencies.

“As expected, the biggest Turkish daily which has been critical of Erdogan and the government has now been turned into a government mouthpiece overnight. The seizure comes just before the Turkey-EU summit as if mocking the European values. This will surely be a test for defenders of these values.” said Ramazan Guveli, Executive Director of Dialogue Platform, a Brussels-based NGO dedicated to promoting intercultural dialogue, respect and mutual understanding. “We urge the proponents of freedom of expression and the friends of Turkey, and the EU leaders who believe in press freedom asa fundamental right to condemn Erdoğan’s actions and pressure him using all available means to return Zaman to its rightful owners”

This is not the first time that the dissent voices have been crushed. Last October, the government seized critical media outlets Bugun and Kanaltürk, with the purpose of turning them into sources of pro-government propaganda machines. Numerous journalists have been fired, prosecuted or jailed simply for criticizing the government and “insulting the president” or reporting the allegations of corruption. Similarly, Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, Can Dündar, and Ankara Bureau Chief, Erdem Gül, were jailed for three months and released only after an appeal to the Constitutional Court – whose ruling Erdoğan refused to acknowledge or respect. In addition, two judges who ordered the release of Hidayet Karaca, Director of Samanyolu Media Groups, were dismissed from their duties, arrested in April 2015 and remain in prison today.

Furthermore, the seizure of Zaman explicitly violates the Turkish constitution. Article 30 states that, “A printing house and its annexes…shall not be seized, confiscated or barred from operation on the grounds of having been used in a crime.” Sadly, the space for democracy and press freedom is unprecedentedly shrinking in Turkey.

About Dialogue Platform

Dialogue Platform is a non-profit organisation in Brussels which serves as a voice for dialogue organizations affiliated with Hizmet in Europe. (also known as Gulen movement). The Platform also serves as a central source of information on Hizmet and Fethullah Gulen who holds the honarary presidency of the platform. For more information, please visit www.dialogueplatform.eu