Symposium in the European Parliament responds to the growing threat to Europeans of radicalising extremist groups operating in the EU.
The day after an article was published in Newsweek entitled ‘How Iran’s Tentacles Are Reaching Into Europe’ its co-authors joined MEPs and experts on counter-terrorism, security and international law to warn the European Union of the rising dangers to its values of democracy, tolerance and community cohesion posed by extremist groups in general and one, Samidoun, in particular. The symposium was convened in response to a rally held in October 2022 led by the Canadian-based de facto organisation Samidoun. Moderator and Chair of Brussels-based NGO IMPAC (International Movement for Peace and Coexistence) Patricia Teitelbaum, co-author of the article,said she had attended the rally and was shocked by what she witnessed.
Samidoun’s European Coordinator and rally leader Mohammed Khatib had, she said, “praised terrorists from proscribed groups which have murdered innocent men women and children; glorified terrorism by (illegally) wearing face masks and other terrorist garb; called for genocide “by any means necessary”, and promoted hatred and violence by calling for “defeating the European Union and United States” by using “bullets and missiles”.
“There can be no ambiguity about this group’s message”, she said, “it despises our values and calls for the destruction by violence of our EU”.
Angel Mas, President of Spanish NGO ACOM said that the Spanish branch of Samidoun is one of the most active internationally and whose leaders have known links to terrorism, particularly the PFLP, a terrorist group proscribed by the EU and US. “Supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, its goal is to import is fanatical methods to Europe. That makes Samidoun a clear and evident threat to public security” concluded Mas.
This threat was echoed by Itai Reuveni, Director of Communications at NGO Monitor. He said that whereas some countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands have taken action against Samidoun, and credit card companies had blocked it from their systems, these actions are not enough on their own.
“Europe must ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to terror-linked actors, and those actors are not misusing the strong and valuable European freedom of speech, especially on European soil. Failing to do so
not only endangers the lives and safety of people, it also empowers radical hard-line elements at the expense of moderates” he said.
“Radicalisation and extremism remain a key danger to the internal security of the EU. It manifests itself in threats, the use violence and incitement to violence and hatred. The October 2022 rally in Brussels is a deeply concerning event which should not be repeated.”, Bert-Jan Ruissen MEP.
One of the Newsweek article’s co-authors, human rights attorney and CEO of The International Legal Forum Arsen Ostrovsky, launched a 22 page report presenting a detailed moral and legal case for the EU designating Samidoun as a terrorist organisation: “There is irrefutable evidence of a deep-seated and systematic connection between Samidoun and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which continues to spread its tentacles of terror across Europe, through proxy groups like Samidoun. This presents a direct, clear and unequivocal security threat to the European Union and EU citizens. Enough is enough, the EU must take immediate steps, as required under EU law, to invoke the process of designating Samidoun and their senior leaders to the EU Terror List.”
Imam Hassan Chalghoumi, president of the conference of imams in France, concluded by stating that “There should be legal process against the repeated hatred against European civilisation. There are legal means against all discrimination. There should be the same against extremist threats to European civilisation. Why? Because hatred against the West is the engine of radicalisation.”
ORIGINAL SOURCE: IMPAC
Symposium speaker bios (including info about IMPAC)
Report by International Legal Forum The case for designating Samidoun a terror organisation
Report by NGO Monitor on the PFLP
Newsweek article How Iran’s Tentacles Are Reaching Into Europe | Opinion
Online petition about Samidoun