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The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) was established in March 1997 by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, an umbrella group for more than 30 Muslim Brotherhood affiliates on the continent. Chaired by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader (and Hamas spiritual adviser) Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, ECFR seeks to bring together European-based Muslim scholars and reconcile their various opinions regarding Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), so as to make them consistent with Sharia Law. Toward that end, the Council regularly issues fatwas (religious legal rulings) that teach European Muslims how to properly abide by the precepts of Sharia. One ECFR fatwa states explicitly that Muslims everywhere should live not under laws enacted by legislators and democratic institutions, but under Sharia, which “cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards,” and which represents “the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform.”
The Gatestone Institute notes that “the fatwas issued by the ECFR reflect the Muslim Brotherhood's fierce opposition to the separation of church/mosque and state.” For example, a fatwa issued by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states that “the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Sharia, a denial of the divine guidance, and a rejection of Allah's injunctions,” and thus “is a downright apostasy.”
Additional examples of ECFR fatwas include the following:
A Wall Street Journal reporter who attended ECFR's annual meeting in 2004, quoted one of the event's guest speakers – a pro-Sharia religious figure from Sudan – as having said that “extremist fundamentalist powers based on aggression on the part of the Crusader and Zionist alliance in the West are now preparing their cultural strategy according to a new wave of secular tendencies.” The reporter also said that, at the same meeting:
To promote its Islamic supremacist ideology as much as possible, ECFR makes “relentless efforts with the official authorities in European countries to officially recognize the [C]ouncil, and [to] refer to it to see the provisions of Islamic Sharia.” The Council also holds seminars “to discuss some issues of jurisprudence.” And it produces bulletins, advisory opinions, and research studies on Sharia's positions regarding a variety of moral issues, and translates these documents into European languages.
Though ECFR regulations stipulate that no more than 25 percent of the Council's members can be non-European, it has been reported that somewhere between one-third and one-half of all ECFR members currently hail from non-European nations, mostly in the Middle East.