Islamists in Europe have overwhelmingly come out in support of Hamas's October 7 brutal massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis. That support has been expressed in different ways: explicitly approving of Hamas's murder, rape and abduction of Israeli civilians; justifying the crimes by blaming Israel; and by remaining silent and refusing to condemn Hamas publicly.
Some Islamist groups, especially Muslim umbrella groups that benefit from public funding and are official interlocutors between Muslim communities and European governments, have resorted to moral equivalency by staking out equidistant positions between the aggressor and the attacked. Others have spread anti-Semitic propaganda by attempting to relativize or "contextualize" Hamas's murderous rampage as a response to Israel's existence. Still others have issued anodyne statements in which they flatly refuse to distance themselves from Hamas.
Here is a country-by-country roundup of the responses Islamists have offered since Hamas's October 7 attack. FWI will add to this summary in the weeks ahead.
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, ZMD), an umbrella group that represents more than 20 Muslim organizations (including groups linked to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood) in Germany, falsely blamed Israel for the massacre carried out by Hamas. In an October 8 statement, ZMD, said it was "deeply disturbing" that "settlers flanked by the Israeli army have been attacking Palestinian villages and the Al-Aqsa mosque for two years without the international community intervening."
One of the most influential Islamist groups in Germany is the Islamic Community Millî Görüş (Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş, IGMG), a neo-Ottoman political and religious movement that is close to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Turkish government. Millî Görüş (National Vision), which rejects secular Western values, has been outspoken in its support for Hamas. The chairman of Millî Görüş, Kemal Ergün, justified the terrorist group's actions by blaming Israeli "interventions" on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
On Facebook, Abdülkadir Ali Demir, a Cologne-based theologian for Millî Görüş, shared a video titled "Gaza War in Preparation for Greater Israel," which promotes a conspiracy narrative that the Hamas attack was "staged by Israeli agents" to create a pretext for implementing "a Jewish 100-year plan to establish a Greater Israel." After an uproar of public criticism, Demir deleted the video from his Facebook page.
The Muslim Coordination Council (Koordinationsrat der Muslime, KRM), an umbrella group that represents six Islamist groups, issued a statement that blamed both Israel and Hamas for the violence. Reinhard Bütikofer, a German lawmaker and Member of the European Parliament, criticized the KRM: "How can you trust people who are unwilling to call a spade a spade?"
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany (Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland), which claims to promote a "peaceful and compassionate" version of Islam, issued a statement in which it failed to mention Hamas by name and instead claimed that Israel's blockade of Gaza "is disproportionate and violates international law."
The Union of Islamic Cultural Centers (Verband der Islamischer Kulturzentren, VIKZ), an umbrella group that controls 300 mosques in Germany and for decades has trained Islamic theologians, has yet to issue a statement publicly condemning Hamas.
The Islamic Community of Shia Congregations in Germany (Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiitischen Gemeinden Deutschlands, IGS), which is linked to the Iranian government, has also failed to condemn Hamas.
The Islamic Community of Bosnians in Germany (Islamische Gemeinschaft der Bosniaken in Deutschland, IGBD) condemned "the latest escalations of violence in and around Gaza" but failed to mention Hamas by name.
Not one of Germany's main Muslim umbrella groups agreed to attend a special hearing at the German Parliament on October 17, when lawmakers asked them to issue a joint statement condemning Hamas.
Cem Özdemir, a German-Turkish lawmaker who is currently serving as Germany's Agriculture Minister, lamented the "resounding silence from the Islamic associations in Germany about the terror against Israel." He accused them of "relativizing words along the lines of 'it's your own fault'" and said that Germany must "end its naivete" when dealing with Islamists in the country.
Turkish influence is clearly at play. German-Turkish Islam expert Eren Güvercin noted that many Muslim associations in Germany are reluctant to publicly criticize Hamas because of fear of retribution from the Turkish government. "As a critical German-Muslim voice, you end up in the crosshairs of AKP if you describe Hamas as a terrorist organization," he wrote. "The anti-Jewish agitation and unconditional solidarity with Hamas terrorists has reached such an extent that not even a single critical Muslim voice is tolerated." Güvercin added that spies for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Germany are "reporting the commentary in Germany to Ankara in 'press reviews.'"
Türkiye is undoubtedly fomenting hostility toward Israel in German society. The Turkish government's Directorate for Religious Affairs (known in Turkish as Diyanet) controls nearly 1,000 mosques in Germany. In an October 20 speech, Diyanet chief Ali Erbaş asked "Allah" to "have mercy on our Palestinian martyrs who died under the oppression of Israel." He accused Israel of "perpetrating the greatest atrocities witnessed in human history in Palestine, Gaza" and alleged that the Jewish state was committing a "great crime against humanity in front of the eyes of the whole world."
Diyanet controls the Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), one of the largest Islamist organizations in Germany. It is frequently referred to as an "arm" of the Turkish state. Every week, Diyanet circulates sermons that are recommended to be delivered in DITIB mosques during Friday prayer services.
On October 13, a Diyanet sermon described Israel as a "rusty dagger stuck in the heart of Islamic geography" and justified Hamas's massacre by accusing Israel of "damaging the reputation of Jerusalem" and "violating the sanctity" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Another Diyanet sermon, recommended for delivery in German mosques on Friday, October 20, claimed that "one of the greatest atrocities in human history is taking place today in Palestine, Gaza." It added that Israel was "brutally murdering innocent people, including babies, children, women and the elderly." Apparently alluding to Palestinians in Gaza, Diyanet called on "all of humanity to stand with the oppressed."
In neighboring France, which has Europe's largest Muslim population, the French Islam Forum (Forum de l'Islam de France, FORIF), a newly launched Muslim "dialogue forum" established by the French government to fight Islamism and promote an Islam "faithful to the values of the Republic," has had nothing to say about Hamas's massacre of Israelis.
The French Council for the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman, CFCM), which has been replaced by FORIF as the government's principal interlocutor with the country's Muslim community, is an umbrella group controlled by the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In an October 10 statement, the CFCM did not mention Hamas by name, but it did condemn the "intolerable attack on human dignity and life."
The statement suggested that Israel was responsible for the violence against its citizens because of the security measures it imposed on Gaza. It declared that "abuses committed by both sides" must be condemned "with the same force." The CFCM also complained about global support for the Jewish state. "Palestinian civilians do not benefit from this same solidarity and do not have this same security," it claimed.
The Union of Mosques in France (Union des Mosquées de France, UMF), which is controlled by the Moroccan government, failed to issue a statement condemning Hamas. On October 19, after public criticism, UMF's Moroccan-born president, Mohammed Moussaoui, wrote an opinion article for Le Monde in which he condemned "firmly and without reservation the atrocities, some of which amount to terrorism, war crimes and even crimes against humanity, committed against Israeli civilians." He then blamed Israel and the "dramatic situation of the Palestinians" for the attack.
Moussaoui also claimed that Muslims are the true victims of Hamas's atrocities. He lashed out at accusations that Muslims in France have refused publicly to support Israel. "French citizens of the Muslim faith have been put in the dock by opportunists of all stripes who harbor unbearable suspicion towards them." Moussaoui said that "wanting to blame this lack of mobilization only on French Muslims is a clear stigmatization."
The Union of Islamic Organizations in France, which changed its name to Muslims of France (Musulmans de France, MF), is a prominent Muslim umbrella organization closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. It has issued several statements about the "situation" in the Middle East, but none mention Hamas by name. MF warns that Palestinians will not stop their attacks until they have their own state.
In one statement, MF claimed that the conflict in Gaza has nothing to do with Islam. "We refuse a religious reading of this political conflict," it said. In another statement, it repeated that "we insist that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not religious in nature." In fact, the Hamas Charter, which calls for the complete annihilation of Israel, is based on the Islamic doctrine of jihad and the concept that once land is Muslim, that land is always Muslim.
The Grand Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquée de Paris), one of the largest and most influential mosques in France, issued a statement about "the situation in the Middle East" in which it failed to condemn Hamas or acknowledge Israel's right to exist. The mosque's Algeria-born rector, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, also failed to condemn Hamas. He did call on Muslims "not to import the conflict between Palestine and Israel into France."
French-Tunisian Imam Hassan Chalghoumi, leader of the Drancy Mosque in Seine-Saint-Denis, near Paris, is one of the few Muslim leaders in France to unequivocally condemn Hamas. "Hamas is a terrorist group, it is terror," he said in an October 12 interview with CNews television. "Hamas is the same as Daesh [Islamic State]."
In an October 13 opinion article published by Le Monde, French philosopher Abdennour Bidar criticized France's Muslim community for keeping silent about Hamas's atrocities. "As a Muslim intellectual, I condemn, without reservation, without ambiguity and without any hesitation, the massacres and hostage-taking perpetrated by Hamas, and I denounce them as pure barbarity and absolutely unjustifiable savagery."
Bidar continued that he was "alarmed to see that, on the Muslim side, there is so much delay in speaking out commensurate with the seriousness of the facts. I would not like this deafening silence to last too long, or for us to only hear people speaking out who are desperately incapable of escaping ambiguity or half-measures. I therefore call on the Muslim authorities of France to finally react."
Ümit Vural, president of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich, IGGÖ), the main organization representing Muslims in Austria, initially refused to issue a public statement on Hamas's attack on Israel. In the face of growing criticism, he belatedly issued a statement on October 9, condemning the terrorist group. He said that "the brutality and violence" perpetrated by Hamas is "absolutely unacceptable" and "should be rejected in the strongest possible terms." The statement, however, did not once refer to Israel by name or acknowledge its right to exist.
On October 13, in a two-page "appeal for peace in the Holy Land," the Islamic Center Vienna (Islamisches Zentrum Wien), one of the largest Sunni mosques in Austria, failed to condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas, nor did it once refer to Israel or its right to exist.
The Muslim Council of Belgium (Conseil Musulman de Belgique), the new official representative body for 800,000 Muslims in Belgium, has kept silent about the Hamas massacre, as has its president, 29-year-old Turkish-Kurd Esma Uçan. (The Council was established in June 2023 to replace the Muslim Executive of Belgium (L'Exécutif des musulmans de Belgique, EMB), which was disbanded by the Belgian government after a report by Belgian intelligence exposed the influence of Morocco and Turkey on that group.)
The Islamic Society in Denmark (Dansk Islamisk Trossamfund), an Islamist group that was instrumental in inciting worldwide protests during the 2005 Danish Cartoon controversy, called on the estimated 200,000 Muslims in Denmark to protest Israeli military action against Hamas. Muslims in Denmark should "show Denmark that we stand with Palestine against oppression." In another statement, the group justified the Hamas massacre by blaming "incursions by Israeli security forces, including in the al-Aqsa mosque." It called on the "international community" to force Israel to "end the violence" and to "strengthen peacekeepers."
The Muslim Joint Council (Muslimernes Fællesråd, MFR), the largest multi-ethnic Muslim umbrella group, with 40,000 members, justified Hamas's massacre of Israelis as "the result of ongoing harassment, brutality and massacres that the Palestinian people have faced in the past 70 years." The group referred to Israel as an "apartheid state" and called for "the immediate end of all global political support for Israel and for the Israeli army to stop the ongoing brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians."
Neither the Danish Islamic Council (Dansk Islamisk Råd), a Muslim Brotherhood-linked umbrella organization that represents Sunni Muslims in Denmark, nor the associated Grand Mosque of Copenhagen (Hamad Bin Khalifa Civilization Center), publicly condemned the Hamas massacre of Israelis.
The Muslim Association of Greece, which claims to represent 300,000 Muslims in the country, has not issued a public condemnation of Hamas, but its leader, Naim El Ghandour, has posted copious amounts of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood propaganda on social media. In a Facebook post, he "salutes the Palestinian uprising against the terrorist state of Israel." He has organized anti-Israel events in Athens, which is home to a large Palestinian community.
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland, the official representative of the estimated 85,000 Muslims in Ireland, failed to condemn Hamas's massacre of Israelis. But in an October 18 statement, issued together with more than two dozen Islamic associations in the country, it "strongly and unequivocally" condemned "the Israeli onslaught against the people of Palestine and the heinous assault carried out on the Al-Ahly Arab Hospital in Gaza." The deadly explosion at the hospital was caused by a Gazan — not Israeli — missile.
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland also criticized the "unconditional support" the United States has given Israel and the "support or silence of many European countries" which allows "the occupying forces in Palestine to perpetrate such atrocities."
The Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (L'Unione delle Comunità Islamiche in Italia, UCOII), one of the largest Muslim umbrella groups in Italy and one that is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, has not condemned Hamas. In a television interview, UCOII president Yassine Lafram did criticize Hamas, but he blamed Israel for provoking the massacre.
The other main Muslim umbrella groups, the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana, COREIS) and the Italian Islamic Confederation (Confederazione Islamica Italiana, CII) also failed to condemn Hamas.
The Contact Body for Muslims and Government (Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid, CMO), one of the main Islamic umbrella groups in the Netherlands, and an official interlocutor between Muslims and the Dutch government, did not issue a statement on the Hamas massacre of Israelis. Instead, the group's chairman, an Islamist linked to the Turkish government's Diyanet, called for a "frank discussion between our religious communities in the Netherlands."
The main Islamic organizations in Spain have been silent about Hamas' massacre of Jews and its call for global jihad. Neither the Islamic Commission of Spain (Comisión Islámica de España, CIE), the sole interlocutor between Muslims and the Spanish government, nor its two constituent organizations, the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (Unión de Comunidades Islámicas de España, UCIDE), the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (Federación Española de Entidades Religiosas Islámicas, FEERI), have issued any statement or condemnation of Hamas. "Their silence is complicit," said Spanish lawmaker Alberto Tarradas Paneque.
Mikail Yüksel, a Swedish politician of Turkish origin who leads the Swedish Islamist party Partiet Nyans (Nuance Party), justified the Hamas attack on Israel because the latter "is an occupying power" that "commits war crimes in Palestine." He also called on the EU to remove Hamas from the bloc's list of terrorist organizations. Yüksel, who is said to be close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added that Nyans is "an uncompromising pro-Palestinian party." In a tweet, he accused Israel of abducting Palestinian children and called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest Israeli leaders and prosecute them for war crimes.
The Vision Party (Visionpartiet), another Islamist party that was created by disaffected former members of the Nuance Party, is equally anti-Israel and pro-Hamas. Party Secretary Adel Sadat justified Hamas's massacre of Israelis by invoking the Israeli "occupation." "Even a cat forced into a corner will start scratching and fighting for its life," he wrote. Sadat condemned the Swedish government's support for Israel, which he described as a "terrorist state" that is committing "generational genocide" of the Palestinians.
In the center of Stockholm, representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international pan-Islamist group that seeks to re-establish the Islamic caliphate and implement sharia globally, called for jihad against Israel and the West. During an October 15 rally at Odenplan, a large plaza in central Stockholm, Islamists repeated chants, including: "This fight is between Muslims and the rest of the world;" "Liberation from Western domination, liberation from the Western ruler;" and "Israelis are nothing but dogs of the West." On October 10, Hizb ut-Tahrir held a rally at Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm during which Islamists called for death to the Jews and for full support for Hamas.
The Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organizations in Switzerland (Föderation islamischer Dachorganisationen der Schweiz, FIDS), the largest Islamic organization in the country, did not condemn Hamas, but it did publish a statement by the Swiss Council of Religions (Schweizerische Rat der Religionen), an inter-religious dialogue group consisting of Christians, Jews and Muslims, that did denounce "Hamas's terrorist and inhumane attack on Israel." The statement said that Hamas's massacre of Israelis was "unprecedented" in "scale and brutality" and represents a "tragedy of immeasurable proportions."
The Association of Islamic Organizations in Zurich (Vereinigung der Islamischen Organisationen in Zürich, VIOZ), the largest cantonal Muslim umbrella organization in Switzerland with 41 member organizations, has not condemned Hamas.
The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (Islamische Zentralrat Schweiz, IZRS), a Qatari-funded Salafist group whose leaders have been surveilled by Swiss intelligence agencies, has organized pro-Hamas demonstrations in Bern. The group's leader, Nicolas Blancho, a Swiss convert to Islam, continues to incite hatred and violence against Jews and the Jewish state.
Soeren Kern is a Middle East Forum Writing Fellow.