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French Senate invites TRENDS to roundtable discussion on Muslim Brotherhood

French Senate invites TRENDS to roundtable discussion on Muslim Brotherhood
10 June 2024 10:14

ABU DHABI (ALETIHAD)

TRENDS Research & Advisory, invited by the French Senate, presented research papers at a roundtable organised by the Council on the Muslim Brotherhood at the Luxembourg Palace's Monory Hall.

The session is part of a comprehensive inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in France.

Main researchers Dr. Wael Saleh and Mr. Hamad Al-Hosani represented TRENDS, joined by Dr. Olivier Vial, Director of the University Studies Center in France, and Dr. Morgane Dury, Professor at the University of Picardy Jules Verne in France.

The session was moderated by French Senate Senator Nathalie Goulet.

CEO of TRENDS Research & Advisory, Dr. Mohammad Abdullah Al-Ali, affirmed that the invitation highlights the center's leading role and commitment to the global academic discourse.

Furthermore, he emphasised that TRENDS' participation, at the behest of the French Senate, aligns with the French government's comprehensive inquiry into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in France.

This investigation aims to evaluate the group's presence in the country and its international connections, marking a significant shift in France’s perception of the Brotherhood.

Moreover, Al-Ali highlighted that this invitation coincided with TRENDS’ recent launch of the “Muslim Brotherhood Global Influence Index” in Paris last April.

This index marked a significant research milestone for the French public as the inaugural model of its kind, measuring the influence and impact of religious Groups.

It utilised a unique blend of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, incorporating primary and secondary indicators to assess the Brotherhood's strength and influence across 50 countries spanning all five continents.

Saleh highlighted that TRENDS' involvement reflects a tangible implementation of the Center's advocacy for fostering constructive academic and research dialogues to enhance comprehension of the Islamism phenomenon.

He noted that despite being a subject of interest for researchers since the late 1970s, Islamism has not received adequate scholarly attention to unravel its complexities, dispel misconceptions, and address controversies surrounding it.

Dr. Saleh further elaborated that the concept of the "Muslim Brotherhood Syndrome," characterised it as a cluster of signs, symptoms, and phenomena interrelated with each other.

These elements, accompanying the presence of the Brotherhood in public spaces, contradict fundamental values of citizenship and coexistence.

Key indicators include their claim to exclusive truth and religious authority, the emotional detachment of their members from broader society, the imposition of their religious ideology on societal norms, the prioritization of the Group's interests over all else under the banner of religious devotion, the perpetuation of societal conflict, the endorsement of violence under the guise of redemption, the disregard for the concept of citizenship, and the emphasis on individual loyalty to the Group transcending national borders.

Saleh introduced the intellectual framework underpinning TRENDS’ approach to studying Islamism, termed "Applied Islamism" or "TRENDS School."

This methodology focuses on dissecting Islamist narratives and subjecting them to scientific critique, including sympathetic viewpoints, while highlighting a notable decline in the Muslim Brotherhood's influence.

The Group's overall power decreased from 64 percent (strong) in 2021 to 48 percent (moderate) in 2023, as per the “Muslim Brotherhood Global Influence Index” developed by TRENDS’ researchers.

Al Hosani explained the multifaceted factors underlying the Group's waning influence, citing a series of substantial setbacks that have eroded its position.

The media and military arms of the Brotherhood have incurred a notable damage, aggravated by lapses in professionalism, credibility gaps, and internal coercion.

The persistence of internal conflicts and continual fragmentation within the Brotherhood's hierarchy have compounded challenges to its unity.

He further discussed the shifting perceptions of the Group across various nations, noting heightened international scrutiny and concerted efforts aimed at eroding its sway.

He referenced instances such as Austria's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism sounding alarms about the perils of political Islamist trends in a report issued in January 2023.

Additionally, he noted a pivotal factor in the Group's decline: the burgeoning recognition among significant segments of Arab and Muslim populations of its duplicity and exploitation of regional issues.

This awareness has been further stoked by the airing of additional exposés and the unveiling of documents shedding light on previously concealed facets, extinguishing any remaining sympathies toward the Brotherhood. 

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