More than 400 Muslim organization from all European countries will sign a charter this week in Brussels. The charter will specify a code of conduct for Muslims who live in Europe, but also ask non-Muslims to respect a number of issues.
In the second phase, non-Muslim organizations will be asked to sign the accord. Farid El Machaoud, spokesperson for the League for Muslims in Belgium (LMB) says it had cost a lot of energy to get this far.
Representatives of 400 Muslim organization from Russia to Spain will meet in Brussels Thursday to ratify and sign the accord. Having 400 organizations agree on the text is already a success. The initiative came from the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe to work out a common standpoint on Islam in Europe, but also on the question how Islam can contribute to the building of a modern Europe.
El Machaoud explains that the charter is a code of conduct with a number of rules for the European Muslim citizen. "He must know that the European culture is a democratic culture in which he can practice his religion, but that it's also another culture in which some issues are not self-evident and that not everything is accepted, such as for example the wearing of the headscarf in some functions."
On the other hand, the charter also asks for respect from non-Muslims. For example, respect for the fact that a Muslim can't decide on his own about issues imposed by religion.
The manifest will urge Muslims to take an active part in society and concentrates especially on the values of mutual understanding and inter-cultural dialog.
El Machaoud says that especially the fact that the European Council of Fatwa and Research supports the accord is of historic importance. The accord is supported by the most prominent scholars of the theological side. They contributes to the duties of the European Muslim citizen. That was certainly not simple and they will also ensure that the Muslim community will be acquainted with the contents of the accord. Other organizations, such as youth and women organizations, will inform Muslims through their activities.
In the second phase, non-Muslim organization will be asked to sign the accord. Currently there are talks in various European countries with national center-wing umbrella organizations. The European Commission will not be signing the charter so as not to give it a political tint, though that naturally exists.
El Machaoud says the accord had been written, rewritten and adapted. The attacks of September 11 and those in Madrid and in London took place during the process and the accord was also adapted in light of those events.
Source: De Morgen (Dutch)