Written by: Hazem Saeed, a researcher specialized in international terrorism issues
The European Center for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies in Germany and Netherlands.
Europe represents the incubator and safe haven for the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which has successfully established a network of relationships of different nationalities, which overlapped with the political marriage, personal relations, and compiled by plans and goals. Its activities have been consolidated and expanded in Europe through many institutions and centers and received support from states, like Qatar and Turkey, the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar, by its financial and political support for the Brotherhood’s project, aims to reproduce the extremist proposals of Hassan al-Banna, Qaradawi and other Brotherhood leaders.
According to French intelligence reports, Qatar is mainly involved in supporting terrorists of “Tawhid wal Jihad” group in northern Mali. It also reported that Qatar played an important role in training of dozens of French nationals in Libyan areas between 2011 and 2014 as well as in attracting, recruiting and training fighters from countries of North Africa with European nationalities who were deported from Libya to Syria through Turkish territories.
The most prominent Brotherhood centers in Germany and Britain
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution “internal intelligence” (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) monitors with deep concern the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the East state of Saxony. Gordian Meyer-Platt, head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency in the State of Saxony, said that Muslim Brotherhood exploited– through organizations such as the Cultural Association of “Saxony forum” – lack of places of worship for Muslims who came to Saxony as refugees, to expand their structures and spread their perception of political Islam.
Meyer-Platt said that (BfV) is concerned about this development because of the group’s refusal to key values of the free democratic system, such as religious freedom or equality between men and women. He pointed out that MB is currently buying more and more buildings to establish mosques or forums for Muslims, and this is intensely done in German cities of Leipzig, Riesa, Meissen, Pirna, Dresden, Bautzen and Goerlitz.”
In this regard, it is noted that Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Britain controlled the 13 organizations and associations in London alone through three Egyptian leaders who are Essam Haddad, Ibrahim Munir and Ibrahim el-Zayat, who presided over the Islamic Society of Germany “GID”.
Muslim Youth Forum in Europe, founded In Britain, is a network of 42 organizations gathered young people from more than 26 countries, it has links and relations with the European Parliament.
Experts, such as Steve Merle, believe that MB and all affiliated organizations must be put under surveillance and intensive and continuous monitoring. But the debate over the direct ban of MB and designated it on the list of terrorist organizations are likely to continue for some time.
Brotherhood organizations in Europe
- Islamic group in Germany (GID), founded in 1958, the German branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, which was founded by Said Ramadan in 1958, and was headed by the Egyptian origin, “Ibrahim el-Zayat.”
- League of Muslims in Belgium (LMB) the historical front of MB in Belgium, founded in 1997, (LMB) has governed 10 mosques and has many headquarters in several Belgian cities, including Brussels, Anvir, Ghrant and Vervres, and is run by a professor of biology, Karim Shamalal, who lives in Anver.
- Association of the Muslim community in the Netherlands, which was founded in The Hague, by ” Yahia Bouyafa” in 1996. The association includes several organizations, such as: The Europe Trust Netherlands (ETN), The Netherlands Institute for Human Sciences, and Islamic Relief.
- Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), the front of MB, was established by Kamal Helbawi in 1997, Helbawi has remained the representative of the MB in Europe for long time, before he broke away from the group, as “Anas al-Tikriti”, the professor of translation at University of “Leeds”, lead the association until 2005. MB took over mosque of “Finsbury Park” under the auspices of the British government.
- the Union of Italy’s Islamic Organizations and Communities (UCOII) is also the official representative of the MB in Italy, it was founded in 1990 and is managed by “Mohamed Nur Dashan” of Syrian origin, the Union includes nearly one hundred and thirty Societies, and controls almost eighty percent of the mosques in Italy, Union also has a cultural branch, a branch for women and another for the youth.
Mr. Ahmed Khatib, a specialist in Islamic groups told “sputnik” that the experience of the displacement of the MB to European countries, wasn’t the first one, but it was preceded by several trials began in sixties, MB started through the incursion in European countries and spread its ideas and beliefs through the establishment of Islamic Centers and try to create a parallel society and alliance with other terrorist groups such as “Isis” to spread extremist ideas in these countries and try to destabilize community cohesion of these countries.
Conferences and meetings of MB in Europe
the forum of “the Union of Islamic Organizations” (UOIF), the front of MB in France, is held annually, and attracts about 170 thousand visitors, political and religious symposiums are organized in this forum. This annual traditional event attracts tens of thousands of women and men who are not necessarily members of Muslim Brotherhood.
Union is “Islamic organizations” in France is designated as a terrorist group. “Manuel Valls” the former French prime minister, warned of Salafists who have taken the Union as a pretext to influence the youth in the slums.
In July 2017, Some leaders of Muslim Brotherhood Held a meeting in a group’s camp in the Turkish capital Ankara, the meeting brought together Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mohammad Hikmat Walid, Comptroller-General for Syria Muslim Brotherhood, and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, to discuss how to deport MB members from Qatar to Turkey.
Sources said that the meeting saw emphasis on the start of the deporting plan of these members as soon as possible, to give priority to the most dangerous leaders, and those who are sentenced to death in their countries.
The French government canceled several lectures for Hani Ramadan in some French cities during in 2017, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, that Ramadan– “the son of Said Ramadan, and Wafa al-Banna, the daughter of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of Muslim Brotherhood– was arrested by the French authorities in Colmar (eastern France) on the occasion of the Conference he was participated, and the police accompanied him to the French-Swiss border”.
“Matthias Vicl”, French Interior Minister said: “The Interior Ministry and security forces are fully mobilized, and they will continue fighting relentlessly against extremism and militancy.”
According to a study by Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, prepared by Dr. Tarek Dahrooj noted that: “Qatari government introduce new mechanisms to finance Europe’s Muslims outside the Muslim Brotherhood institutional framework, in the context of an attempt to move away from the stereotype of the Qatar financing the political Islam, through the development of ANELD fund with total of one hundred million euros in coordination with the French government, to finance entrepreneurship projects for Muslims in the most marginalized slums of Paris, that witnessed intensity of the second and third generations of Maghreb immigrants, in which Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi are active.
In the past decade, The Union of Islamic Organizations in France and its affiliated associations enjoyed traditional and diversified sources funding. The Government of Qatar has provided €11 million for the Union, while Qatar Charity Foundation provided € 2 million, Qatar businessmen bestowed the Union about € 5 million.
Classification of Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group
The West has three reasons to ban Muslim Brotherhood:
- Muslim Brotherhood is the main source of extremist ideology used by terrorist groups.
- Many of the top al-Qaeda leaders, particularly Ayman al-Zawahiri, and then some of the leaders of Isis in the Syrian city of Raqqa are former members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- The history of Muslim Brotherhood is full of violence and terrorism, including political assassinations, and recently, anti-state operations in Egypt.
Alistair Burt, British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs said that London would impose tight control over the behavior of the Brotherhood, he added that MB had “concealed its extremist agenda” in Egypt.
Burt also stressed in his article: “despite the fact that there isn’t enough proof to allow us to ban the organization, we will impose tight surveillance on the Brotherhood’s behavior and their activities including, visa requests, their source of funding for charity organizations and their relationships with international organizations.”
The Western and European countries have belatedly realized the seriousness of the threats imposed by the presence of Muslim Brotherhood in their societies and take them seriously, where Muslim Brotherhood aims to create a social entity parallel to competing with the rest of the European community and the principles and values of its citizens. These attempts and endeavors have become a long-term challenge to the issue of social cohesion in Europe.
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