Reality of Relationship between European Left and Political Islam in Europe!

European Studies Unit at the Observatory

Despite the stark ideological differences between the European left and the political Islamist parties, political calculations and partisan interests have brought the two parties closer in recent years, showing what is known as the “Islamic Left”, which refers to left-wing political parties defending Islamic movements and raising the slogan of anti-Islamophobia, which at some point turned into a cover under which Islamist groups moved freely throughout Europe and were able to spread their extremist ideology.

This paper examines the relationship between the European left and political Islam, and the attempts of the MB to infiltrate the ranks of left-wing parties in various EU countries, especially with the rise of the extreme right, which led Left-wing parties to pursue an anti-Islam and phobic discourse.

In this paper, we try to analyze the reasons for the alliance of the European left with political Islam in EU through the following axes:

  • The control of political Islam over mosques and Islamic centers in EU
  • Exploitation of political Islam for Islamophobia
  • MB and Islamophobia
  • The penetration of political Islam in European civil society organizations
  • The reality of the relationship between the European left and political Islam in EU countries
  • A future view of the relationship between the two parties

Introduction

The Control of Political Islam over Mosques and Islamic Centers in EU

Western governments have watched their Muslim citizens flock in their thousands to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after it took control of vast areas of Syria and Iraq after 2014 without doing a thing. This wave of migration was followed by terrorist operations carried out by the organization in the heart of EU, especially in France and Belgium, which are countries that have witnessed the active participation of leftist parties in successive governments.

At that time, the MB and other Islamist movements had controlled mosques and Islamic centers in most EU countries for years, and most of these movements were classified as non-violent, but according to many research papers and intelligence reports, they played a major role in spreading ideas calling for the rejection of Western democracy and the establishment of Islamic law, and they also strengthened the isolation of the Muslim community from other societies in EU, so that European media reports came to the fact that political Islam in the medium term is more dangerous than the terrorist organization “ISIS” and Al-Qaeda on democratic life in Germany.

For their part, the political Islam parties have modified many of their ideas and methods to fit the policies of left-wing parties. About this, Mohannad Khorshid, a former adviser to the Austrian government, says that the political discourse of the MB has changed dramatically in EU from a religious discourse to a discourse in which the complex of Islamophobia and the appearance that Islam and Muslims are victims of hatred of Europeans stand out. Khorshid’s words came during a seminar organized by the Trends Center in August last year. ([1])

Exploitation of Political Islam for Islamophobia

The leniency of left-wing parties to political Islam stems primarily from the growth of the extreme right, which adopts a policy hostile to Muslims and foreigners in general, as the extreme right takes advantage of the phenomenon of Islamophobia to get the votes of voters angry with the policy of elite European parties.

The European Left is working in a counter-way through initiatives that seek to increase the acceptance of Muslims in European Society, with the aim of withdrawing this paper from the hands of the populist right, and apparently through cross-reports, the movements of political Islam took advantage of the situation, presented themselves as organizations or entities working against the phenomenon of Islamophobia and racism, and managed to strengthen their presence within some left-wing parties in a number of countries, while taking advantage of the presence of these parties in power in some countries to obtain facilities for their activities.

MB and Islamophobia

The phenomenon of anti-Islamism is not new to European society, but it has gained great popularity over the past years, after the migration of Islamist leaders to the West, and after the occurrence of acts of violence and terrorism associated with political Islam in various parts of the world.

The MB has worked to exploit the suffering of the Arab and Islamic communities in the West, despite the fact that the MB movement itself is the reference for violent movements of an extremist nature all over the world, from Al-Qaeda and ISIS and their sisters, to the Velayat AL- Faqih regime in Iran, which researchers believe was also inspired by the most important literature of the “MB”, despite belonging to a different doctrine to its doctrine. ([2])

The MB worked to strengthen the isolation of the Muslim community in EU, where the French writers “Alexandre Fall” and “Emmanuel Razvi” mentioned in their book “The Project Strategy of Conquest and Infiltration of the MB in France and around the World” that the main the main theorist of the idea of isolation was the Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who they say that although he supports the form of dialogue with non-Muslims, he in essence calls for separation between Muslims living in EU and European civilization, and calls for “Muslims to have their own small communities within the Big Society, otherwise they will dissolve in it like salt in water”.

To this end, the preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi suggested that Muslims benefit from the historical experience of Jews, as he asked, “what has preserved Jewish privacy over the past centuries in European societies?” Adding, according to the researchers, what preserved the ideas and Customs was the small League called the” Jewish Ghetto “and called on Muslims to establish their own” Ghetto”.

The Penetration of Political Islam in European Civil Society Organizations

Recent years have witnessed a change in the discourse of the Mb abroad, especially after the defeat of the group in the Arab world, and the flight of a large part of its leadership abroad, as these elements began to infiltrate many parties that are theoretically far from their vision of society.

Thus, the MB has previously contributed to strengthening the isolation of Muslims in western society, to begin today to raise the slogan of countering racism and hatred of Muslims, in cooperation with European bodies that adopt policies more open to Muslims, namely progressive leftist parties and some European churches.

“The International Organization of the MB was able to deceive European societies and penetrate into civil society institutions and official institutions within EU through the speech of oppression, presenting itself as the largest representative of Muslims in EU, “said Dr. Ramadan Abu Jazir, director of the Brussels International Research Center in Belgium. ([3])

The movements of political Islam are trying to monopolize the representation of Muslims in EU, for example, the literature of the MB today and the theories of its contemporary leaders in Europe and the world deny any connection of the movement with violence, and say that it calls for its opposite, according to the Federation of Islamic organizations in France, which is known as the front of the “MB” in Paris.

The Reality of the Relationship between the European Left and Political Islam in EU Countries

The MB has an important position on the Dutch scene. According to the local newspaper (NRC Handelsblad), the group was able to expand its influence in the Netherlands, exploiting local and national politics, and its entry into political life was facilitated by left-wing parties, such as the Green Party, and the PVDA Labor Party. ([4])

For its part, France has more than 250 Islamic associations throughout its territory, 51 of which work for the MB, in addition to the anti-Islamophobia Association, the association “faith and practice”, the Center for studies and research on Islam, the European Institute for Humanities; and the Ibn Sina Institute for the graduation of imams.

Religious charities that engage in political activity or work on behalf of these groups pose another danger to French society, and France has directed to subject some 51 religious associations to surveillance, and dissolved a number of them because of their involvement in promoting ideas contrary to the principles of the values of the French Republic.

These movements benefit from the presence of French left-wing parties that defend them, in efforts to fight racism, and in February last year, the former French minister of higher education and scientific research considered that the French university was hacked, as well as the French community by the theses of political Islam and that the National Institute for scientific research should open an investigation into this subject.

In Germany, the Mb sought to get closer to German political parties to achieve its agenda and expand its influence. At the forefront of them are the “Greens” and”Left” parties in Germany, and have benefited from this for years. However, the situation has changed, the authorities are working in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Germany and European countries between 2015 and 2016, according to a new policy, based on a review of its security procedures and legislation. ([5])

According to “Heiko Heinsch”, a writer and researcher specializing in MB affair: the repeated attacks of left-wing parties on extremist organizations recently “reflect the beginning of a new stage in the fight against political Islam in Germany”.

“Political Islam organizations used to protect the positions of left-wing parties and use them to ease the pressure on them, but the situation has changed now, and all German parties are taking strong positions on these organizations,” Heinsch said.

On January 31, members of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany agreed to drop the membership of the association “German Islamic rally”, which is classified by the German security authorities as a group affiliated with the MB.

In Britain, reports indicate that the MB, using “Islamophobia” as an excuse to avoid criticism, throws its violators that they hate Islam, and practice racism against its adherents

“I have seen it, and I must say that in particular with the Islamists in this country, with the Islamist groups that have hijacked the cause and the Anti-Racism movement, whose members are walking around everywhere, calling anyone who criticizes the Islamist ideology a promoter of Islamophobia, the times when I was classified as a Muslim a promoter of Islamophobia, are countless, “said Sarah Khan, who was in charge of combating extremism under Theresa May, as quoted by The Independent newspaper. ([6])

As for Belgium, many terrorist networks involved in the attacks that the country has witnessed over the past few years are active in the Molenbeek area near the capital Brussels, which witnessed the migration of many young people to fight alongside ISIS, and the late socialist mayor of the city, Philippe Moreau, was accused of having established a system based on patronage, and unleashed radical Islamists in exchange for electoral support. This understanding has taken root, significantly. ([7])

A future View of the Relationship between the Two Parties

It does not seem that the comfortable situation in which the Islamic organizations found themselves will last long, as some voices began to rise within the left-wing parties themselves, calling for a review of policy towards political Islam movements. Thus, after the murder of a Muslim Student of the French teacher Samuel Baty on October 16, 2020, “Jusso Kevin Kohnert”, who holds the post of chairman of the Young Socialists of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, drew attention to the blind spots in his party and said: “The political Left has to end its silence,” he said, adding: ” I am convinced that many of us do not want to make statements to political opponents living from racial resentment, but if the political left leaves the war against Islamists, to racists and amateur researchers of Islam, it will finally have to deal with this ideology as its most blind spot, that is, it will have ignored it until it becomes a big and dangerous problem for society.

The steps taken by France, after suffering painful terrorist attacks, are one of the strongest measures taken by European governments to reduce the power of political Islam, but at a slower pace than Paris, but the situation is moving towards greater scrutiny of the movements of Islamist groups in Germany, Belgium and others.

It is important here to pay attention to the mistake made by the European left in considering political Islam as an anti-imperialist and anti-globalization militant force, because the truth is that political Islam is fundamentally hostile to all manifestations of political modernization, including freedoms, human rights and equality.

The reality of the Arab region after the recent wave of Arab Spring revolutions shows beyond any doubt that the theses of political Islam are among the obstacles to modernization and not vice versa, according to a report by the French Radio Monte Carlo. 

The report, published on February 21, 2021, concluded that there is a significant confusion between Islam as a general historical, cultural and social phenomenon, and political Islam as a pre-modern political ideology.


[1] European Centre for counter-terrorism and intelligence studies) November 28. 2021

[2] The British newspaper (The independent) on October 31. 2020

[3] Trendsresearch on August 11. 2021

[4] European Centre for counter-terrorism and intelligence studies 28 November 2021.

[5] Sky News on 1 February. 2022

[6] The Independent on October 31, 2021

[7] Europe’s eye on Extremism Program, January 26. 2020.