Qatar has been accused of using charitable institutions to fund extremism in Europe in a new documentary released by Arte Channel, a Franco-German free-to-air television network that promotes cultural programming.
The documentary, which premiered on September 17, showcases how Qatari royals and officials have been laundering money and funding the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations in European countries including Italy, France, Germany, and the UK.
Documents leaked to journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot reveal in detail how Qatar Charity, an NGO founded in 1992 and active today in seventy countries, has been used to finance the Muslim Brotherhood. The journalists were given the documents – evidence of bank transfers, emails, and other information - on a hard drive by a whistleblower.
The documentary alleges that Qatari officials have been laundering money to members of terrorist organizations under the guise of sponsoring mosques, Islamic centers and schools. The list of donors includes Qatari royal family members Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, Saud Jassim Ahmed Al Thani, and Khalid bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani.
Qatar Charity’s largest project is “Centre An-Nour” (An-Nour Center) in Mulhouse, France. The center includes a two-story mosque, classrooms, a library, a restaurant, a halal market, a swimming pool, and a medical center.
According to the documentary, the center cost €28 million ($30 million) to build. Nasser al-Qadi, the president of the France-based Association of Muslim Alsace (AMAL) who administer the center, told Malbrunot and Chesnot that AMAL had received more than half of the project’s budget from Qatar Charity.
The documentary also features Chesnot reviewing official Qatar Charity documents with Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University Lorenzo G. Vidino. They note that the organization funded various projects in the Welsh city of Swansea, the French cities of Mulhouse and Strasbourg, as well as London, Berlin and Luxembourg.
Chesnot and Vidino also reviewed a letter signed on behalf of one the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leaders Yusuf al-Qaradawi, calling on organizations to fund the construction of a mosque in Milan.
The journalists met with Qatar Charity under the guise that they were potential investors. Using hidden cameras, they filmed an official who told them that the organization has been funding projects in Europe, and was looking to fund a big project in London.
Qatar Charity has since stopped responding to any inquiries by Arte Channel.
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