Europe muzzles Muslim intellectuals

Several prominent Muslim intellectuals are increasingly being barred from addressing international gatherings and delivering lectures across Europe on the grounds of extremism or anti-Semitism.

“We face many hurdles while planning for our annual Bourget conference,” Lhaj Thami Breze, Chairman of the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), told “We want to invite prominent Muslim scholars from around the world but are always confronted with a long blacklist of people we can not invite.”

The four-day Bourget conference, the biggest Muslim convention in Europe, attracted last year more than 150,000 Muslims from across the continent. “Many moderate Muslims from the East and West, including prominent European thinkers, are banned from attending,” Breze said.

He cited Swiss-based prominent Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan and his brother Hany, the director of the Islamic Center in Geneva.

Islam Online, 28 February 2007