A graduate of Oriental History and Philology, Michael Privot converted to Islam at the age of 19. In addition to his position as head of CECIV in his hometown of Verviers, Privot contributed, during his years of activism within the Brotherhood, to the creation of several Muslim Brotherhood’s organisations. The most virulent of which was Empowering Belgian Muslims (EmBeM).
Michael Privot says, however, that EmBeM has never been formally affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. When he co-founded it in 2013, with Fatima Zibouh, Privot had indeed already broken with the Muslim Brotherhood for more than a year. He acknowledges, however, that the co-founders of EmBeM were people he had known before in the Brotherhood.
Four years after having made public his membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2008, Michael Privot decided to leave the Brotherhood. Since then, he has been campaigning for an “Enlightenment Islam”. In 2015, he co-signed with three other Belgian Muslim intellectuals a manifesto in ten actions to reform European Islam.
Last May, he announced the creation of a European Institute of Islamic Studies, dedicated to the training of imams in Europe. This initiative was welcomed by the authorities and by Muslim representative bodies in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Article first published on Global Watch Analysis.