I have received some day ago this interesting quote about the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Romania, from a friend who studies this movement for academic purposes.
I’ve just stumbled on a dated article on Islam in Romania. It has a brief description of an Arab group I’m particularly interested (the Muslim Brotherhood/ the Wasatiyya movement). They also operate in Ukraine and that’s the context for my research. However, they are highly active in the rest of Europe, and come under the umbrella of the Federation of the Muslim Organisations in Europe. I’ve just reaslised that the group associated with the MB has been active in your hometown as well. Here is a quote (Lederer, Gyorgy (1996) ‘Islam in Romania’, Central Asian Survey, 15: 3, 349 — 368):
In this respect the situation in Romania is better than elsewhere since there
seem to be capable people among the many young Arabs living there. The
Muslim Student Association of Romania operates a centre in Timisoara, at 15
Stefan Stanca Street. It may play a regional role because of its proximity to
Hungary and Serbia. The building is a meeting place for Arab students and other Muslims residing in Transylvania. The Association has reportedly bought buildings and grounds in Cluj, Iasi and near the capital to open further similar centres in the future. To popularize Islam, it has published several leaflets and, recently, even books in Romanian.58 Although I heard that it had offered its assistance for the restoration of mosques in the Dobrudja, these proselytizing activities do not really target Turks and Tatars. However, few Romanians have been converted to Islam so far; those who have are mainly the wives of Arabs.59
A general strategy of Islamic teaching has probably been elaborated for
Eastern Europe, since the arguments and the style of the brochures printed in the languages of these countries are similar. Some of those texts are (not always good) translations of the same originals. They do not even try to propose an Islam ‘of local colours’ or ‘for East European consumption’ but stick to the fundamentals of the faith. They idealize the past against the encroachments of modernity, exaggerate the extent of the spread of Islam in the Balkans of the pre-Ottoman period, the alleged positive effect of Turkish hegemony on South-Eastern Europe’s development, the impact of Arab culture on scientific progress in medieval Europe (which was considerable indeed), and the current numbers and proportions of Muslim believers in the region. All those presumed to be of Islamic ancestry are regarded as Muslims. These figures are often doubled, tripled or quintupled as if the attention and generosity of wealthy Muslim sponsors depended on them. The convincing force of this reasoning is doubtful in this part of the world, and in particular in the above-described xenophobic Romanian social and political context.