20th Mar 2018

Brussels questions EU capitals over approach to Islam

Following failed car bomb attacks at two UK airports leading to the arrest of Muslim suspects, Brussels is pooling ideas on how to tackle radical Islam and create a more tolerant "European" branch of the faith.

EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini is sending out an 18-question survey - seen by EUobserver - asking EU capitals how they address violent radicalisation, mainly related to an abusive interpretation of Islam.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Unfortunately, one of the great religions of the world - Islam - is being abused to foster a new totalitarian ideology that challenges our way of life", Mr Frattini told journalists earlier this week (3 July).

"We have to find out what member states are doing here, to see how to learn from one another – namely, to protect the vast majority of Muslims who deplore this perversion of their religion", he added.

According to Brussels, the questionnaire is particularly designed to bring more clarity and transparency to mosques on EU territory including how they are financed as well as how their imams are recruited and trained.

"Those propagating violent extremist ideologies of some kind may try to influence education establishments", the paper notes, asking EU states "what policies or practical initiatives have you adopted in order to ensure that education establishments are not vulnerable to this type of influence?".

It continues by asking what policies are adopted on funding and supervision of religious schools, as well as what requirements are set by the state on the functions of a religious leader.

It also asks how EU member states are trying to diminish the threat of a radical having access to any form of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear scientific knowledge.

EU states are expected to reply by the end of September.

The answers will then feed into a commission document, due for publication in 2008, that will present an EU-wide strategy on violent radicatization.

\"European Islam\"

In addition, Mr Frattini is set to pursue and further the idea of establishing a so-called "European Islam" or "Islam de l'Europe" – something floated by France's then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy in 2006.

"That is quite difficult and ambitious, but the time has come to put on the table a political discussion to protect the large majority of Muslims living here peacefully who deplore and fight against radicalisation and the distortion of Islam for purposes of violence and hatred", Mr Frattini said.

The concept is to have Islam "fully and unambiguously respecting values and sanctity of life cherished in Europe", Mr Frattini's spokesperson said on the idea, referring to "everything mentioned in the Charter of Fundamental Rights" - document laying out the economic, social and civic rights of EU citizens.

Mosque reality

Meanwhile, a BBC commissioned report has unveiled that only eight percent of imams preaching in British mosques were born in the UK, while only six percent of them speak English as a first language.

Fifty percent of Muslim preachers come from Pakistan, twenty percent from Bangladesh and fifteen percent from India.

"The study reveals a deeply conservative body of individuals maintaining traditional languages, types of qualification and still largely recruited from the place of origin", the report's author, professor Ron Geaves, was cited as saying by the BBC.

In addition, the study has shown that while the imams are well-qualified in the traditional Islamic curriculum, they lack the skills to adapt to modern society.

"Although there are social religious and political reasons that drive a need to transform the Imamate to a 21st century British context there is as yet little sign of the mosque imams or their employers being ready to professionalise", Mr Geaves said.

EU to probe UK 'election-rigging' firm

MEPs are to investigate whether UK firm Cambridge Analytica and Facebook misused private data to sway votes amid increasingly lurid revelations.

EU told to create coalition against fake news

After almost two months of talks, a panel of experts set up by the EU commission have issued a series of recommendations on how to fight fake news or what they prefer to term 'disinformation'.

Poland defends judicial reforms, warns against EU pressure

Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the Commission with 94-pages of arguments backing Warsaw's controversial judicial reforms - while his EU minister warns that constant conflict with Brussels could stoke anti-European sentiment.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections