Arab European League

The  Arab European League  ( Dutch :  Arabic-Europese Liga  , AEL) is a Pan-Arabist  [1]  civil rights movement / organization in Belgium and the Netherlands .  [2]


AEL was founded and led by Dyab Abu Jahjah , a Lebanese-born Shi’a Muslim living in Belgium who emigrated from Lebanon in 1991 to begin university studies in Belgium.  [3]  In July 2006, Abu Jahjah returned to Lebanon allegedly to join the war of the 2006 Lebanon War on the side of Hezbollah against Israel .  quote needed  ]


The AEL describes itself as Nasserite , Pan-Arabist and anti-Zionist .  [4]  The group expresses support for the actions of Islamist „resistance“ against the occupation of Iraq and approves the killings of coalition soldiers.  [2] reports that the group issued public reviews for the September 11, 2001 attacks  [5]  and the organization’s rallies have been reported by the Christian Science Monitor to end in “ jihad “ chanting and “ Osama Bin Laden“.  [3]  However, the group’s English-language website has been critical of Al-Qaeda , referring to the September 11 attacks as „horrifying“  [6]  and condemning al-Qaeda for alleged terrorist acts committed in Jordan .  [7]

Following the murder of a 27-year-old Belgian of North African descent by an allegedly mentally ill native Belgian man in Antwerp in 2002, which led to racially influenced riots in the city,  [8]  the Arab European League began patrolling the streets of Antwerp with video cameras to monitor police activity. The AEL asked that the police were engaging in a racist „manhunt“ of the city’s Moroccan youth and that many police officers sympathized with the political party Vlaams Blok . The AEL patrols were arrested after the Antwerp public prosecutor ’s office began an investigation into the activities of violently.  [8]  [9] The court also decided on 31 May 2006 that the patrols were not enough to prosecute the organization.  [10]  Three leaders of the AEL however will be tried for their role in the unrest and riots after the 2002 murder.  [10]

The organization also responds to issues of concern to Muslims, with its creation of a short film  Al Mouftinoun  in response to the film  Fitna  . (See International reaction to Fitna .)

Electoral participations

Moslim Democratische Partij logo

The AEL strives to develop an Arab Muslim communalist movement in Europe. The group participated in the federal elections in Belgium in 2003 under the umbrella RESIST with the PVDA (  Workers Party Belgium  , a Maoist political party). The party gained 0.15% in the election of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives  [11]  and 0.27% in the Dutch electoral college of the Belgian Senate .  [12] These electoral results were far too low to win a seat.

They also participated in the Flemish elections in 2004 under the name Moslim Democratische Partij (  Muslim Democratic Party  ), reaching their highest share of votes (0.27%) in the province of Antwerp . This election was held in the Flemish Parliament .  [13]



Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt blamed the group for agitating racism Arabism feelings among Arabs and inciting violence during street riots in Antwerp in 2002  [9]  and criticized it for creating patrols to Arab racism „.  [8]

According to Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israel (CIDI) a think tank established by the Jewish community in the Netherlands in 1974:

„In April 2002 the Antwerp-based Arab European League (AEL) leader Dyab Abou Jahjah (1971) performed for the first time at a pro-Palestine demonstration in Antwerp that was completely out of hand and demonstrators shouted anti-Semitic chant ‚(De Volkskrant, 11/5/02)‘ Jews are dogs, ‚was heard in the streets (Reformatorisch Dagblad, March 1, 2003) „.  [14]

In June 2002, the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism lodged a complaint against the Arab European League for anti-racist law.  [15]

A demonstration tookplace the same month with the Flemish Green party and the NGO’s such as 11.11.11 and Kif Kif, during which a puppet representing an orthodox Jew was burned publicly.  [16]

According to a 2005 US State Department report, in Europe :

Anti-Semitism, particularly among Muslims, was linked in many cases to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Most anti-Semitic incidents were not violent and included abusive language, hate mail, verbal insults at soccer matches, Internet chat room discussions, and more persistent historical revisionism (such as Holocaust denial). However, pockets of militant young Muslims, mostly Moroccan Arabs , have a number of occasions assaulted or intimidated identifiable Jews. The anti-Semitic anti-Israel sentiment among certain groups in society, such as the Arab European League (AEL) and the Stop the Occupation  ( nl)movement, also contributed to an anti-Semitic atmosphere in some quarters.  [17]

In 2005, Arab European League’s President Dyab Abu Jahjah supported and rationalized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements  [18]  -after The Islamic Republic’s head made his controversial speeches including the infamous (widely denounced) genocidal call for Israel to be  wiped off  -writing:

„(…) the foundation of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s reasoning is intellectually defendable, and argues that this is not a perfect example of political morality.  [19]

And adding:

Zionist entity „Israel“ and its founding Ideology „It is not the Jewish people that should be wiped out, and it is not the buildings and the schools that the settlers built, but it is the body : Zionism: Wioning out Zionism from Palestine and Establishing a Palestinian Authority in the United States of America page that was opened when Zionism was introduced into the heart of the Arab world and, above all, it is the only position of democracy in the world. Africa was the only acceptable position.Saying that Zionism and the state built with it as leitmotif should be taken from the map, regardless of the nuances, the only morally defendable position. “ [19]

On February 2006 AEL posted anti-Semitic cartoons on its website,  [20]  included one showing Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler .  [21]  In late September 2005, the Danish newspaper  Jyllands-Posten  published several controversial Muhammad cartoons in which the Prophet Muhammad was associated with terrorism. After Belgian and Dutch newspapers republished the cartoons and politicians Defended the publication with the argument of free speech , both, denouncing the protests of Muslims and the AEL, the AEL Issued statements and posted cartoons on the subject of Holocaust denialon its web pages using the same argument of „free speech“ and denouncing official protests against them in return. The cartoons were called antisemitic and negationist by  De Standaard  , a Belgian newspaper.  [18]  A Dutch pro-Israel organization “ Center for Information and Documentation Israel  ( nl ) “ (CIDI) filed a formal complaint in Amsterdam against the AEL following the publication of the cartoons.  [20] In response to the charge, the AEL stated, „endorse any anti-Semitic, homophobic or sexist stands.“ (and added something like 🙂 „All we are trying to do is to confront Europe with its own hypocrisy using sarcasm and cartoons.“  [22]

In January 2009, the AEL was reported to the driving force behind Anti-Jewish violence during anti-Israel protests in Antwerp.  [23]

On August 19, 2010 the organization was fined by a Dutch short appeals 2,500 euros ($ 3,200) for publishing a cartoon which suggested the Holocaust was made up or exaggerated by Jews.  [24]

Homophobia  states that an AEL official called for the death penalty for homosexuals a leadership position within the group.  [5]  In 2003 the political party Agalev (currently Known As Groen! ) Attempted to up posters in Antwerp of gay and lesbian couples kissing while dressed in Islamic draws. The AEL considered it blasphemous and as an insult to Islam, the Qur’an explicitly forbids homosexuality .  [25]

Further reading

  • Jacobs, Dirk (April 2005). „Arab European League (AEL): The Rapid Rise of a Radical Immigrant Movement“.  Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs  .  25  (1): 97-115. doi : 10.1080 / 13602000500113928 .

See also

  • Arabs in Europe
  • Islam and anti-Semitism


  1. Jump up^   Emerson, Michael; Roy, Olivier; Center for European Policy Studies (Brussels, Belgium) (March 2009). „Ethno-religious conflict in Europe: Typologies of radicalization in Europe’s Muslim communities“ . ISBN  978-92-9079-822-4 .
  2. ^ Jump up to: b  „AEL: every Dutch soldier’s death is a victory,“ Expatica (25 October 2004). Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  3. ^ Jump up to: b  ‚Belgian Malcolm X‘ seeks office , Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2003
  4. Jump up^  Zionism is Racism: AhmadiNajad said it, but we mean it, AEL, 28 October 2005
  5. ^ Jump up to: b  [1] Archived February 7, 2006 at the Wayback Machine .
  6. Jump up^  The Arab European League (AEL) condemns rage in the west against Arabs and Muslims, announces picket 16 September to commemorate victims of terror, AEL, 13 September 2001
  7. Jump up^  Self-Destruction: Mustafa Al Akkad killed by Al Qaida, AEL, 11 November 2005
  8. ^ Jump up to: c  Yann Tessier „Arab murder sparks two days of riots in Antwerp: Police Deny Murder Was racist, goal immigrant groups claim Many officers sympathize with far-right Vlaams Blok party,“  The Guardian  (28 November 2002)
  9. ^ Jump up to: b  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard „Sparked Arab racist riot in Antwerp, Belgians say,“ The Telegraph (29 November 2002). Retrieved 08-08-2010
  10. ^ Jump up to: b  (in Dutch) AEL private-militie geen (  AEL not a private militia  ), De Standaard, 1 June, 2006.
  11. Jump up^  „Elections 2003 – List results – Chamber of Representatives – The Kingdom“ . . Retrieved 11 December 2012 .
  12. Jump up^  [2] ArchivedAugust 16, 2007, at theWayback Machine.
  13. Jump up^  „Elections 2004> Flemish Council“ . . Retrieved 11 December 2012 .
  14. Jump up^  (in Dutch) [3]
  15. Jump up^  [4] ArchivedNovember 23, 2005, at theWayback Machine.
  16. Jump up^   Concentra Media NV „Event in Antwerp, June 2002“ . Archived from the original on February 20, 2003 . Retrieved 11 December2012 .
  17. Jump up^  „Report on Global Anti-Semitism,“US Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (January 5, 2005)
  18. ^ Jump up to: b  (in Dutch) AEL spot puts holocaust („AEL ridiculous holocaust“), De Standaard, 6 February 2006
  19. ^ Jump up to: b  [5] Archived October 12, 2007 at the Wayback Machine .
  20. ^ Jump up to: b  [6] Archived April 27, 2006 at the Wayback Machine .
  21. Jump up^  Paul Belien“On Morality, Hate Crimes and Mongering War,“The Brussels Journal: The Voice of the Conservatism in Europe (2006-02-09).
  22. Jump up^  Important points on the Cartoon riot, AEL, 7 February 2006
  23. Jump up^  „The RIGHT News … RIGHT Now“ . . Retrieved 11 December 2012 .
  24. Jump up^  „Dutch Muslim group fined over Holocaust cartoon“ . . Retrieved 11 December 2012 .
  25. Jump up^  „AEL boos over ‚homo-poster‘ Vlaamse Groenen (“ AEL angry about ‚gay poster‘ Flemish Greens‘) “ . Kenniscentrum lesbisch en homo-emancipatiebeleid (Knowledge Center lesbian and gay emancipation policies), citing from newspaper De Telegraaf 9 September 2003.