EML: A BEACON OF HOPE IN A TROUBLED WORLD
The European Muslim League recently marked the 12th anniversary of its creation with the news it now has Ambassadors for Peace in all 44 countries that make up our wonderful, diverse continent.
In addition our horizons have expanded around the globe and we have additional ambassadors representing the aims of EML across six continents.
EML came together at an international conference in Switzerland of 35 diverse Muslims who developed a constitution that would foster and encourage harmony between different races, religions and cultures for a greater understanding. Foremost of our aims was to support the defence of human rights especially through a collective effort of interfaith dialogue.
While numerous organisations shared by immigrants of different origins already existed in Europe, EML focussed its growth and development on strategies free from the sort of cultural, political and other social baggage which has weighed down and, in some cases, held back communities.
The cornerstones of our development are based on religion and diplomacy which has helped EML shape a strategy to handle a collective of dilemmas which can challenge new and first generation Europeans.
When EML was formed it was through a collective of new and existing Europeans. This blend, we felt, was key to the structure of the league if it was to move forward and develop initiatives.
It was decided there would be no actual ties or links with countries of origin and no undue influence from overseas governments. This enabled EML to move forward free from outside influence or political agendas which could easily conflict with our aims and strategies.
This decision at the founding meeting has served us well and enabled our members and ambassadors to not become embroiled in aggressive or sectarian issues which have sadly blighted some communities.
Some of our most effective mediators and strategists are Muslim converts who come from secular or backgrounds of different faiths but with a strong understanding of what it is to be European. Their perspective is enhanced by the experience of other first and second generation Muslims who bring a wealth of as a result, in our opinion, we have assembled some of the most suitable people to play the role of mediation and effective ambassadors of peace, defenders of concrete values of moderation, understanding, harmony and concordance between all monotheistic and other religions.
Dr Alfredo Maiolese, EML President, said: “We now have a collective of members who are confident in promoting our great faith to the wider public who have often (and understandably) confused Islam and culture.
“Our philosophy of peace and tolerance has served us well and brought about productive relationships with our Christian and Jewish cousins as well as members of other faiths.”
The European Muslim League was registered on 10 May 2010 with the Italian government, the Ministry of Finance and subsequently with the Swiss government, canton of Bern, with the aim of presenting Islam in its original form, a religion of peace and respect for all humanity.
EML achieved another milestone on 4 January 2012 when it was also registered in the Transparency Register of the European Union with the possibility of accessing the European Parliament. From 6 December the same year it was included in the register of the United Nations Council of Social Affairs.
Since then EML has been invited to New York for the various assemblies held at the Ecosoc.
EML recognises and approves the charter of the United Nations, the Universal Charter of Human Rights, as well as various statutes such as the Mecca Declaration, and the Amman Message.
By 2016 as our work attracted wider attention, the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg, described EML as an expert in the prevention of radicalisation.
During these years various conferences have been organized, especially in Italy with the support of the bureau headed by EMl President Dr Maiolese. His ability to connect religion and diplomacy has been given recognition by visiting Ministers, Ambassadors, parliamentary members, and other European institutions.
Dr Maiolese has also established a close working relationship with officials and emissaries of His Holiness Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.
EML Secretary General Dr Yvonne Ridley has focussed much of her energies on the development and progress of Muslim women, particularly those caught up in conflict zones and humanitarian disasters.
She distinguished herself in 2018 by working with a team of South African lawyers in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh setting up an electronic legal catalogue documenting war crimes visited upon the Rohingya Muslims living in the refugee camps having fled neighbouring Myanmar.
A few months later she worked alongside Nelson Mandela’s grand daughter to highlight the plight of Syrian women prisoners of war and their children being held in the regime prisons. She also visited the so-called free zones of Syria to talk about human rights and highlight the needs of Syrian orphans.
The following year she was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize and often addresses international conferences on women’s and human rights.
The work of the President and the Secretary general has also been complimented by the tireless activities of our global peace ambassadors . Their work has earned praise and recognition from governments and local authorities.
Particular interest has been shown at prompt interventions aimed at young Muslims who are often targeted by extremist and radical voices online.
Excellent successes have been achieved in Europe for the magnificent work done by EML members for the continuous mediation in schools, universities and at the invitation of many civil associations. Some interventions were consolidated by Dr Maiolese who at the request of Political Charity, a body of pontifical right, spoke several times in the Vatican. The dissemination of good knowledge and the study of Islam, placed on the calendar, have fostered and guaranteed good relations and relationships in society.
Such is the success and influence of EML’s work that a decision was taken to extend the peace ambassador initiative around the world some years ago resulting in the hosting of officials by governments in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
EML now boasts ambassadors of peace in more than 44 countries (from New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Middle East, North Africa, South Africa, up to Latin America etc.)
This work has been supplemented with the introduction of academic structures and academies including the foundation of the International Academy of Diplomatic Action, the International Council for Cooperation and Peace and the International Council for Muslim Unity as well as the International Academy of Islamic Studies.
Some members of the EML participated with the support of the Italian government, the Ministry of Education and the OIC, in courses for Imams and ministers of worship operating in the penitentiary sector, successfully passing the exam.
President Dr Maiolese has participated in numerous international conferences in numerous countries as a panellist having the privilege of speaking also at the conference held at the United Nations office in Geneva, discussing the prevention of young European Muslims from radicalism and extremism. The goals and the bets are still many and the post covid presents us with an uncertain and ambiguous period.
It is worth remembering our founding motto: “Among the many shining stars of the European flag, we would like to radiate our light, contributing to the development, prosperity and general peace of our beloved European land