The Managing Director of CAGE, Muhammad Rabbani, has been denied entry into Poland at the behest of the French authorities after landing at Warsaw where he was due to speak at a human rights conference.
Rabbani was scheduled to address the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Human Dimension Conference, the world’s largest regional security inter-governmental organisation with 57 participating states.
He planned to deliver another critical speech against France’s state-sponsored Islamophobia, as he had done last year after which he was denied entry to France.
The French government has accused Rabbani of spreading “conspiracies” about France’s mistreatment of Muslims.
According to Rabbani, immigration officers in Poland told him that France had “shared information about him” which led to their decision.
In a statement CAGE said France “has continued its relentless pursuit of Muhammad Rabbani, a human rights defender, this time extending its reach to Poland by abusing international information sharing between states to silence dissent.
“This disturbing sequence of events underscores France’s discomfort with public scrutiny of its policies that target Muslim communities. It represents a blatant attack on freedom of expression and undermines the credibility of the OSCE as a platform for human rights and dialogue. It also undermines Poland’s historic struggle to escape totalitarianism which plagued the country during the Soviet era and its credentials as a liberal democracy.”
CAGE called upon the international community to condemn these actions, reaffirming the importance of open discourse in addressing important issues like discrimination.
Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE, added: “Through this ban, France attempted to prevent CAGE from bringing public awareness at the international level regarding France’s systematic persecution of Muslims. However, France has not achieved its objectives as my colleagues from CAGE are at the conference and have been joined by a number of delegates from various European countries representing Muslim civil society. We will not be silenced.
“These disruptive tactics and authoritarian responses by France will not deter us. I will be challenging this legally and I am confident that we will overturn this ban. This shows that France is uncomfortable with public scrutiny and international awareness on its persecution of its Muslim citizens.”
In July Rabbani was detained and deported by the French government which accused him of spreading “conspiracies” about France’s mistreatment of Muslims.
The Ministry of the Interior accused Rabbani of issuing “slanderous” and “conspiratorial” statements denouncing state Islamophohic persecution in France and mass state surveillance.
They accused him of contributing to a “victim discourse” which aimed to convince French Muslims that they are suffering state harassment. This could provoke hatred and violence toward institutions and their officials, the Interior Ministry said.
In 2022 CAGE released a report which revealed the unprecedented crackdown on Islam and Muslims in France under the government of Emmanuel Macron.
The report said the crackdown on Islam and Muslims amounted to “persecution” under international law, as well as institutionalised Islamophobia and repression.
CAGE said the pattern of behaviour exhibited by the French state towards Muslims was calculated to harass and humiliate, resulting in the intentional and severe deprivation of freedom of religion, of opinion, of association and right to property.
In 2021 the French parliament approved a law to strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs. The government said it was needed to safeguard France from “radical Islamists” and to promote respect for secularism and women’s rights. The law has been used to shut down multiple mosques and community groups.