Qatar has funded dozens of mosques and Islamic center projects in Europe to the tune of several millions of dollars, the majority through a network tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, a new book reveals.
Titled Qatar Papers – How the emirate finances Islam in France and Europe, the book contains proofs of transfers from Qatar to fund more than 140 projects in Europe, with 50 in Italy alone. It says that the network stretches across many countries, mainly Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany.
The book was authored by French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.
They say they received the supporting documents on a USB stick from a whistleblower. The dossier includes Qatar Charity’s bank records and its emails along with Qatar Foundation’s data.
Qatar Charity is a controversial organization funded by the Qatari ruling family and listed as a terrorist body by the Anti-Terrorist Quartet which includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.
In an interview with France Inter, Malbrunot said that the book is not anti-Islam and that Qatar’s activities are “not against the law;” but that the situation requires action by the EU countries.
According to Qatar Papers, between 2011 and 2014 Qatar Charity funded five projects related to Muslim organizations in Switzerland. They include the Museum of Islamic Civilizations in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Muslim Cultural Complex of Lausanne, and the Salah-Eddine mosque in Bienne.
Among Qatar’s network members in Switzerland, Mohamed Karamous and his wife Nadia received €1.2 between 2011 and 2013 through seven bank transfers from Qatar Charity, according to the book.
It reveals that Nadia Karamous was directly recommended by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2007, Mohamed Karamous, who served as treasurer of the European Institute for Human Sciences – a university in central France affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and funded by Qatar – was arrested by Swiss authorities in a high-speed train while in possession of €50,000 in cash from Qatar.
Karmous, who is of Tunisian origin, runs the Muslim Association of Switzerland and the Swiss “Waqif” Society, which funds religious centers.
The book also reveals that Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan is receiving €35,000 per month from the Qatar Foundation as a “consultant.”
A document from the French financial watchdog Tracfin says he also received €19,000 from the Swiss Muslim League in early 2018 at the time of his arrest on rape allegations.
Also, bank documents show that before his arrest he withdrew €590,000 from Qatari bank accounts, according to the book. Ramadan and his wife bought two apartments in Paris during the same period.
The book also discussed projects worth €72 million around Europe, including the Averroes de Lille high school, where many staff members are connected to Qatar-backed Muslim communities.
The funds were directed to leading Muslim Brotherhood figures in France and Switzerland, including Mucivi, or Le Musée des civilisations de l’Islam, The book also mentions an employee of the Qatari embassy in Paris, who has strong ties with Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
French intelligence warned of Qatari support for the L’Union des organisations islamiques de France, the book says.
The book says that intelligence also warned of Ghaith, a program within Qatar Charity headed by Islamic scholar Ahmed al-Hammadi.
The authors publish a note of the French intelligence services dating from 2008. The note says that al-Hammadi is linked to radical groups. He was then, according to the note, director of legal affairs at the Qatari embassy in Paris with diplomatic status.
The authors also point out that the Brotherhood is the only organization that has open relations with the French authorities, especially mayors.
Large amounts were also directed to Italy, where the Al Houda Center in Rome received €4 million and the Union delle Comunita Islamiche d’Italia is the main conduit for Doha’s largesse. In total, no less than 50 entities are funded by Doha, according to the book.
The book revealed documents signed by al-Qaradawi, according to which representatives of religious centers in Italy in early 2015 supported the project to build a new center in Milan, as well as a mosque and schools.
Italian parliamentarians called on Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to ban foreign funding for Islamic institutions in the country.
Qatar’s aim was only to “create a counter-culture within the Muslim communities and to enhance its separation from their states,” according George Malbrunot, a former hostage in Iraq. It is pursuing “a political initiative in order to ensure global hegemony of the Brotherhood project.”
The authors write that Qatar’s activities in Germany have increased recently. The book published a letter from the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Qatar Charity asking to support a project in Offenbach.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Dusseldorf recently warned of the “intensified activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany with the aim of dividing the society.” The Brotherhood members in Germany are supported by the Turkish community, including Millî Görüs.
Despite the declarations of Qatari authorities that Qatar Charity is mainly financed by individuals, the book reveals a list of important donors and their codes, an extract of which is below:
- 253 the Diwan of the Emir
- 339 Sheikh Jassem bin Saoud bin Abderrahman Al-Thani
- 409 Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad bin Abdallah Al -Thani
- 444 Sheikh Saud Jassem Ahmed Al-Thani
- 170358 private office of the emir’s father
The book says that after the boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, it became much harder for European Muslim associations to get funding from Qatar Charity.
Previously, the American Center for Democracy said that Qatar Charity “has long been known to fund the very same extremist Islamist terror groups listed by the Anti-Terrorist Quartet.”
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