Arab Paper Sounds Alarm on Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Mullah Krekar makes a Muslim Brotherhood rabia sign in the Oslo District Court.
Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Mullah Krekar makes the Muslim Brotherhood “rabia” sign in the Oslo District Court. (Photo: POPPE, CORNELIUS / AFP / Getty Images)

 

The Austrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is using government funds to spread extremism, according to a report in the respected Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.

A new paper from Austria’s Foreign Ministry and intelligence services documents the spread of extremism in the country’s Muslim community.

The Brotherhood is also sending its messages from Austria across the Arab world, the governmental paper claims.

And it’s not only in Austria where there’s a realization that the Muslim Brotherhood has deep roots. Asharq al-Awsat argues the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood is responsible for the failure to integrate Muslims in European society.

In 2014, the UK government decided to reevaluate the power of the Brotherhood.

While the government has resisted pressure to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, it remains well aware of activities of the organization, which was founded in Egypt almost 100 years ago. The UK believes the Brotherhood has used violence and even terror to achieve its goals. The British government does not cooperate with those linked to the Brotherhood.

Three years later, a Swedish governmental report suggested the Muslim Brotherhood had created a parallel society, contradictory to Swedish values.

The London-based Asharq al-Awsat accused these countries of dealing lightly with the Brotherhood, which in turn gave legitimacy to the group and room for it to grow on the continent.

Today, many Muslims in these countries look up to the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative body.

The Brotherhood now controls numerous mosques and schools and take an active role in dealing with the new wave of refugees to Europe from the Middle East.

The newspaper alleges the Brotherhood’s representatives have learned how to perform dawa – the teaching of Islamic ideas to both Muslims and non-Muslims in local languages.

Much of the funding has entered Europe from overseas, but Asharq al-Awsat blames the local governments for failing to see the threat.

Austria is the latest country to realize the strength of the brothers – arguably 50 years too late. The first signs of Muslim Brotherhood activity coincided with the arrival of Yousef Nada, one of its leaders, in the 1960s. The country soon became an overseas center for members from the Palestinian, Syrian and Egyptian branches. They were free to do as they pleased for years.

Austria is used for two main purposes: as a training ground for preachers and others before they return to the Middle East; and to change the local political-religious culture. Some have become official spokespeople within the Austrian bureaucracy – acting as go-betweens with the government and local Muslim population.

The government pays the salaries of Muslim-Brotherhood teachers, whom the report says then corrupt the children.

A recent Austrian court judgment included the following:

“The desired political regime [of the Muslim Brotherhood] resembles a totalitarian regime. It does not include sovereignty of the people nor the principles of freedom or equality … This view doesn’t correspond with the legal and social principles of Austria.”

The 60-page Austrian governmental report will be published this week.

 

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RM
Ran Meir
Ran Meir is Clarion Project's Arab affairs analyst.

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