Islam: Over 400 groups sign European Muslim 'charter of values'

Brussels, 10 Jan. (AKI) - More than 400 Muslim groups on Thursday signed a 'charter of values' at the European Parliament pledging tolerance and respect for the laws of the countries in which they live.

"The charter amounts to a code of good conduct for Muslims in Europe which commits them to taking part in building a united society," said European Parliament vice-president Mario Mauro.

"It pledges Muslims to helping create harmony and well-being in our societies and to fully playing the role of citizens in upholding justice, equal rights and respect for difference."

Mauro is an Italian politician from the conservative Forza Italia party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi and in his role as deputy European Parliament president is tasked with handling relations with churches and religious communities.

"The charter gives a great boost to strengthening intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. And it reinforces Muslims' duty to respect non-Muslims," said Mauro.

The document was prepared by the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe and endorsed by the groups in Brussels.

Traditional New Year's Eve fireworks were cancelled in Brussels and the government increased security and patrols of the city's airport, transport systems and commercial centres after police said they had uncovered a plot to free jailed Tunisian al-Qaeda suspect Nizar Trabelsi.

Trabelsi is serving a 10-year prison sentence for plotting to blow up an airbase in Belgium used by US personnel.

A Belgian appeals court last year upheld a ban on an anti-Islam protest planned for 11 September in Brussels, six years after al-Qaeda's terror attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.

An alliance of anti-Muslim European groups in Denmark, Britain and Germany organised the planned protest, they said to commemorate the victims of 9/11.


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