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Jewish leaders snub EU religious talks

BRUSSELS, May 11 – Jewish leaders are boycotting a meeting of EU officials with European religious leaders on Monday due to the inclusion of "anti-semitic" Muslim groups, the Conference of European Rabbis announced.

"No rabbis or Jewish leaders are to take part in Monday’s meeting in Brussels… in a protest against the participation of Islamist organizations and individuals closely linked to the international Muslim Brotherhood," the CER said in a statement.

It is inappropriate that "organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who in the past made, or endorsed, anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to the radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood should be present at such gatherings," declared Rabbi Aba Dunner, executive director of the CER.

The CER "regrets that the European institutions have chosen to patronize extremists who do not represent the vast majority of Europe’s Muslim citizens who support dialogue and the democratic values of the European Union."

The World Jewish Congress expressed support for the CER’s decision.

The statement did not name any individuals participating but seemed aimed particularly at Shakib Benmakhlouf, president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, a group reputedly close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso invited the religious figures to Brussels on Monday for the 50th annual meeting of European and religious leaders.

This year’s meeting is looking in particular at the economic crisis.

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The Muslim Brotherhood movement has, since its foundation in 1928, become a model for Islamist movements around the world, and now holds around a fifth of the seats in the Egyptian parliament.

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