Like the other three members of the Visegrad Group, Poland is far behind Western Europe in the process of Islamization. However, that doesn’t mean that agents and affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood aren’t beavering away trying to do to Poland what has already been done to its western neighbors.
The following guest-essay gives a brief summary of recent efforts to Islamize Poland, including the assistance of compliant dhimmis among Polish academics.
Islamic Subversion and Collaborators: The Polish Connection
by Luke Ahead
“Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice. I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.”
— Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Islamic scholar associated with the Muslim Brotherhood
According to the NATO definition, subversion is “an action designed to weaken the military, economic or political strength of a nation by undermining the morale, loyalty or reliability of its citizens”. It forms the backbone of the global movement of political Islam: “The universality of Islam, in its all-embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”
Although there are numerous examples of Islamic organisations and affiliates currently operating in Europe and the United States whose actions can be classified as Islamic subversion, arguably one of the most politicized and subversive forces is the Muslim Brotherhood.
The movement, its offshoots, and affiliates form networks of Islamic umbrella organisations, mosques, ‘cultural centres’ and Islamic institutes united under the infamous slogan of Muslim Brotherhood forefathers: “God is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of God is our highest hope”. The organisational entities of the Muslim Brotherhood are tasked to pursue the vision of Islamising Western lands via subversive means and eventually introduce Sharia law.
First, subversive activists strive to become community leaders and government interlocutors representing Muslims living in Europe. Via the organizational entities, which they have been systematically founding in Europe since the 1950s, they work to set up a Islamic legal and moral framework. For example, an important Brotherhood leader in Europe, the leader of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and the spiritual guide of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe is Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Qaradawi lays out the general boundaries of an Islamic identity in the West by preaching that Muslims in the West should “adopt a conservatism without isolation, and an openness without melting.”
Integration into European societies without ‘melting’ means that Muslims ought to be open to discussions about Western values but without accepting them. This insinuation sets a precedent for Muslims not to integrate properly, and hence, it undermines European Muslims’ morale, the loyalty to the state they reside in, and their ‘reliability’. But the Islamist identity taught by the Brothers isn’t solely a matter of ‘defensive’ attempts to preserve it; it goes far beyond that.
Tariq Ramadan, Qaradawi’s colleague and another co-founder of FIOE structures in Europe, is a proponent of not only preserving Islamic identity and resisting integration but also actively participating in Western societies:
“Muslims in our societies are facing unemployment, discrimination and racism and it is not because they are Muslims, it’s because they are facing class discrimination, segregation and the wrong social policies”…”When we look at what is going on at the grassroots level, with citizens that are European Muslims and Muslim Europeans, they are here and they are going to stay, and now they are going to go to something which is not called integration, they are fed up with ‘integrate’! Now they contribute, now they give; now they build and this is it!”
In a quote from one of the key US-based Brotherhood activists, we learn that ‘participation’ boils down to altering existing standards of a Western society in order to facilitate Islam:
“By participating in a non-Islamic system, one cannot rule by that which Allah has commanded. But things do not change overnight. Changes come through patience, wisdom and hard work. I believe that as Muslims, we should participate in the system to safeguard our interests and try to bring gradual change for the right cause, the cause of truth and justice. We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.”
— Muzammil Siddiqi, president of ISNA in the late 1990’s
Poland has found herself in a unique situation by having a relatively small native Tatar Muslim community with its origins in the Polish-Lithuanian lands in the first half of XIV century. This community is affiliated with the Muslim Religious Association (MRA), an organisation which was granted legal status by the Polish state in 1936.
There is a community of mainly immigrants of Muslim origin who seek spiritual guidance from an organisation that is a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Poland — the Muslim League in the Republic of Poland, officially registered with the Department of Faith and Minorities in 2004 (having been active since at least 2001).
While the MRA boasts proper integration of Tatars who have practiced Islam for centuries on Polish soil in accordance with Polish law and customs, the emergence of the Muslim League has caused bitter controversy. There was huge public outcry with protests, bad publicity in the press, research showing connections of the Muslim League and its leaders to their radical European counterparts, questionable sources of funding, and evidence of funneling the radical Islamic literature of Qutb and Maududi through its centres. In spite of all this, the League managed to open their new flagship mosque in the capital city last year.
At the beginning of this year, Poland saw a new fiasco concerning the Muslim League’s presence — Islamic education for children. In the city of Czestochowa, a controversial resolution for the city to cover the cost of Islamic lessons for children was voted down by the mostly conservative city council. But the Muslim children will continue commuting to the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship, Katowice, where they are taught Islam by the Centre of Islamic Culture run by the Muslim League in the Republic of Poland.
By Polish law, children are entitled to lessons in the religion to which they belong, but contracting with the Muslim Brothers to teach Polish children about Islamic doctrine is a risky business. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the Muslim League has rolled out a widespread teaching programme for children since it announced the publication of an Islamic schoolbook in Polish in 2011.
The Muslim League has been also involved in activism at higher educational institutions and has enjoyed the vocal support of some academic circles in Poland. A good example is the conference “Academic Forum for Peace” which was co-organised by the League and the University of Wroclaw, coincidentally with the above publication in 2011.
Tariq Ramadan was one of the religious leaders invited to the conference. Ramadan is Europe’s ‘New’ Muslim Brotherhood activist and director of Islamic Studies at Oxford University. The Rector of Wroclaw University, Prof. Marek Bojarski, awarded him with a silver jubilee medal for his “outstanding merits for intercultural and religious dialogue in European community” and said, “…As one of the most influential Muslim theologians you teach — through your academic work, as well as your own example — about the importance of integration and tolerance.”
Without a doubt, Ramadan owes his prestige to his post as director of Islamic Studies at Oxford University which he has held since 2009. But was Ramadan’s nomination for the post based only on his former academic career? Perhaps a donation of 2.39 million British pounds to the Institute of Oriental Studies from the Qatar Foundation (Sheikh Qaradawi is based in Doha, Qatar) and the consecutive establishment of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani as Chair of the institute may have been a factor.
What else, if not money and influence, could make Oxford, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, employ an academic who was dismissed by his previous employer, the Erasmus University of Rotterdam? Ramadan also lost his job as an advisor on integration to the Rotterdam City Hall for his hosting of a radical TV channel controlled by the Iranian regime Press TV, and for expressing views which Rotterdam University found incompatible with his job as a teacher and advisor.
Tariq Ramadan’s outreach project encompasses the recently founded Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Doha (CILE) where he is a director, as well as the European Muslim Network (EMN). According to EMN’s website, it unites a number of leaders of ‘New’ Muslim Brotherhood European branches, including some of the most controversial members, Hamza Piccardo from Italy and Ibrahim el-Zayat from Germany.
The group lobbies for Islam and sharia law in EU institutions. It seeks funding and offers seminars, which are followed up by issuing “questions which meet the need of European Muslims and formulating suggestions and proposals in an innovative and creative way to the “Scholar of the Text” or the Muslim Brotherhood European Council of Fatwa and Research, chaired by Sheikh Qaradawi.
On its website, the EMN “calls upon Muslims to realize their responsibility and participation in the construction of an Islam in Europe that is modern, defiant, reflective and self-conscious, for the benefit of the European society at large and in the interest of the Muslim communities in Europe in particular.”
On 21 March 2016, EMN announced on its Facebook group account a publication of Foundation for Political and Social Research SETA (Ankara, Istanbul, Washington D.C., Cairo) entitled “European Islamophobia Report” comprising 25 country reports.
The report on Poland was written by Konrad Pedziwiatr, a lecturer at the department of European studies of the University of Krakow and a former member of the Centre of Migration Research at Warsaw University. Dr Pedziwiatr is a vocal supporter of the Muslim League in Poland as well as a leading Polish academic who writes in English on Islam and Muslims. He is also a member of the Anna Lindh Foundation network, which finances the so-called Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, an initiative that lobbies for open Europe borders, closer cooperation with Islamic countries and cultural exchange between Europe and the Islamic world.
Konrad Pedziwiatr’s analysis of “Islamophobia” in Poland is to a large extent based on publicly available statistics published by the Centre for Public Opinion Research (CBOS) as well as on his own research; he reports about politicians, political parties, key “Islamophobic” non-governmental organisations and some affiliated individuals, and relevant news reports from Poland.
Pedziwiatr paints an extensive picture of a prejudiced Polish society that in most parts has little or no direct experience with Islam, with relatively small number of Muslims living in Poland (a rough estimate of 0.1 percent based on the census from 2011) but nevertheless with “Islamophobic” views formed by the media, and through the Internet in particular. But among those highlighted by Pedziwiatr, there are genuine critics and activists, and by labeling them “Islamophobes” and making international publicity out of it, he emboldens international Islamic organisations to exert pressure on the Polish government to silence public and academic debate.
In the free Poland of 1936, the Polish government passed legislation regulating administrative structures of Polish Tatars. Since then Polish Tatar Imams and their muezzin assistants, before taking office in the Muslim Association structures, are required to make an official promise (to God) of loyalty to Poland, acting in accordance with its law and “thoroughly care for the wellbeing of the Polish state”.
However, some cautious observers have been warning for years about the possibility of native Polish Tatar Muslims being subverted by the new wave of influential and wealthy Arab Muslims who are affiliated with the Muslim League. This is contrary to the oft-repeated claims of Prof. Selim Chazbijewicz that the shrinking Tatar population is in a worldview conflict with Muslim immigrants arriving in Poland.
How can the claim that Tatars have been subverted still be a mere hypothesis when the Saudi-educated Mufti of the Tartar Muslim Religious Association Tomasz Miskiewicz acts as leader of the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY) for Eastern Europe? WAMY is an international Islamic educational organization, founded in Saudi Arabia by Muslim Brotherhood activists, whose offices were closed in the US by the government, and was recently banned in Canada for fraud and links to Islamic radicals. In Poland, WAMY has sponsored the publication of political Islamic literature. And how does Mufti Miskiewicz explain reports on the financing terrorism by WAMY in the Balkans?
Preserving the Islamic identity nurtured by the Western Muslim Brotherhood, with the help of affiliates and collaborators who pave the way for recognition and approval of the Islamic political doctrine by Western states, requires a “defensive” battle to silence critics of Islam in order to legitimize the Islamic political doctrine.
A very telling example of this is the case of a security professional from the US Stephen Coughlin who was contracted with by Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon to advise on Islamist doctrines and strategy. On Jan 3, 2008 he was told by his employers that his contract would not be renewed due to the fact that his message, and therefore he himself, had become too “politically hot”. This was the outcome of a campaign undertaken by a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, and the US government advisor Hesham Islam.
By the same token, Polish academic Bartlomiej Grysa, who holds a PhD in Arabic and who was a lecturer at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan from 1998-2011, was accused by the university authorities of being an ideologue in his research on Mohammed’s life. Not willing to withdraw his work, Grysa’s next annual contract was not signed. The University authorities had succumbed to complaints from one of the well-established Islamic organisations in Poland. Evidence exists of several other lecturers who had been sacked in similar fashion.
These events show that in Poland, Islamic political activists and their collaborators are active and gaining ground, and are a subversive danger to the security and culture of the country and its citizens.
Luke Ahead is a pseudonym of the author, a qualified researcher who holds MA in Security and Intelligence Studies (Buckingham University, UK).
|1.||Quoted in Lorenzo Vidino, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West, Columbia University Press 2010|
|2.||NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions, AAP-06 Edition 2012 Version 2|
|3.||The Quranic Concept of War, with foreword by General Zia Al-Haq of the Pakistani Army, quoted in the Red Pill briefing by Stephen Coughlin, YouTube, 25 June 2015|
|4.||Quoted in Lorenzo Vidino, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West, Columbia University Press 2010|
|5.||Intelligence Squared (IQ2) debate — ‘Europe is failing its Muslims’ 2010|
|6.||Quoted in Lorenzo Vidino, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West, Columbia University Press 2010|
|7.||“Czestochowa bedzie placic za lekcje religii dla muzulmanskich dzieci. Zdecydowala ekonomia”, www.tvn24.pl, 29 January 2016|
|8.||The School Handbook for religious education, The Muslim League in the Republic of Poland, islam.info.pl, 5 December 2011|
|9.||Official document with rector’s signature accessed via scribd.com on 6 December 2012|
|10.||Professor Anthony Glees, Arab and Islamic funding of Islamic studies: a question of Western security, National Observer Australia’s independent current affairs online journal, No. 81 Dec. 2009 — Feb. 2010; Robin Simcox, A Degree of Influence: The funding of strategically important subjects in UK universities, The Centre for Social Cohesion, 2009|
|11.||“Tariq Ramadan’s appointment in Rotterdam ended”, The University of Rotterdam, press release 19 August 2009|
|12.||European Muslim Network, www.euro-muslims.eu accessed on 25 July 2013|
|13.||The report is available on www.islamophobiaeurope.com|
|15.||USTAWA z dnia 21 kwietnia 1936 r. o stosunku Panstwa do Muzulmanskiego Zwiazku Religijnego wRzeczypospolitej Polskiej. Dz. U. z dnia 24 kwietnia 1936 r. Nr 30, poz. 240 z pózn. zm. obowiazuje od 24 kwietnia 1936 r.|
|16.||“Canadian Muslim youth group tied to al-Qaeda stripped of charitable status.”, Sarah Boesveld, National Post 5 March 2012|
|17.||Ioannis Michaletos, World Assembly of Muslim Youth in the Balkans, Radical Islam Monitor in Southeast Europe, 25 January 2013|
|18.||Robert Spencer, The Implications of the Dismissal of Stephen Coughlin, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Jihad watch, 12 January 2012|
|19.||“Czy wolno pisac, ze Mahomet to pedofil?”, Natalia Mazur, www.poznan.wyborcza.pl, 2 July 2011|
|20.||Author’s own interview with Dr Grysa