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The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
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Evron
2006-04-08 19:58:44 UTC
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The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino

Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]

While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.

But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]

Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.

These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.

But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.

The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.

During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]

One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]

Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]

In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.

The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]

The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,

In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.

The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.

This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.

Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.

While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.

Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]

Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
Bundesverfassungsschutz report reveals Milli Görüs' real aims:

While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]

Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]

IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
Constitution (Landesverfassungsschutz) in Hessen[50] notes:

The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]

It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
view the IGD and Milli Görüs so differently. But, as Ulfkotte wrote
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]

Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]

The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]

The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.

Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.

First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]

In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]

According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become

The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]

Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]

The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.

In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.

What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.

Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.

http://www.meforum.org/article/687
torresD
2006-04-08 22:21:50 UTC
Permalink
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.


"Evron" <***@ziontimes.com> wrote in message news:***@t31g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino

Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]

While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.

But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]

Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.

These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.

But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.

The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.

During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]

One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]

Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]

In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.

The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]

The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,

In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.

The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.

This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.

Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.

While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.

Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]

Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
Bundesverfassungsschutz report reveals Milli Görüs' real aims:

While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]

Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]

IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
Constitution (Landesverfassungsschutz) in Hessen[50] notes:

The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]

It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
view the IGD and Milli Görüs so differently. But, as Ulfkotte wrote
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]

Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]

The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]

The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.

Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.

First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]

In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]

According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become

The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]

Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]

The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.

In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.

What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.

Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.

http://www.meforum.org/article/687
John Smith
2006-04-08 22:51:13 UTC
Permalink
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]
The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.
Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]
Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]
Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]
IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.
http://www.meforum.org/article/687
Ed
2006-04-08 23:21:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The moslems
should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
Post by John Smith
Post by torresD
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]
The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.
Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]
Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]
Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]
IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.
http://www.meforum.org/article/687
torresD
2006-04-08 23:24:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The moslems
should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
The Israel Lobby - Harvard Study
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html
More important,
saying that Israel and the US
are united by a shared terrorist
threat has the causal relationship
backwards:

the US has a terrorism problem
in good part because it is so
closely allied with Israel,
not the other way around.

Support for Israel is not the
only source of anti-American
terrorism,

but it is an important one,
and it makes winning the war
on terror more difficult.

There is no question that
many al-Qaida leaders,
including Osama bin Laden,
are motivated by Israel's
presence in Jerusalem and
the plight of the Palestinians.

Unconditional support for Israel
makes it easier for extremists to
rally popular support and to
attract recruits.
John Smith
2006-04-09 12:00:10 UTC
Permalink
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The moslems
should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
============================================================================
The U.S.A. is a predominately Christian nation so it might be a good idea to
toss their sorry asses outta here too. They are a bunch of scroungy FIFTH
COLUMNISTS. Remember this-the word "assassin" is Arabic.
Post by Ed
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The moslems
should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
Post by John Smith
Post by torresD
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]
The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.
Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]
Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]
Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]
IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.
http://www.meforum.org/article/687
Ben Cramer
2006-04-09 12:06:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The moslems
should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
There is no Jewish country, dopey.
Ben Cramer
2006-04-08 23:48:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Israel is an illegal and fake state.
Post by John Smith
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]
The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.
Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]
Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]
Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]
IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.
http://www.meforum.org/article/687
John Smith
2006-04-09 12:00:45 UTC
Permalink
And so's yo momma.
Post by Ben Cramer
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Israel is an illegal and fake state.
Post by John Smith
Post by torresD
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle
East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope."[1]
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of
generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some
of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression
from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists
who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has
become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development.
Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have
moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and
well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic
organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim
Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the
best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout
Europe and the United States.[2]
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student
refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their
descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim
communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded
by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a
centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they
continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links
to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch,
and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and
media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage
them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially,
when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop
their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak
about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques
preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society.
While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and
school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and
other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue
with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this
duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a
place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at
the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major
wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized
Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also
instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood
rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its
activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere
else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained
significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in
other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by
their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the
Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the
German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to
escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime
was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist
opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim
Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany
provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply
altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies
on jihadism in Europe,[3] the West German government had decided to cut
diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When
Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist
government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political
refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had
cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II.[4] Some had
even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of
the Schutzstaffel (SS).[5]
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id
Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan
al-Banna.[6] Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's
irregulars in Palestine in 1948,[7] moved to Geneva in 1958 and
attended law school in Cologne.[8] In Germany, he founded what has
become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which
he presided from 1958 to 1968.[9] Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim
World League,[10] a well-funded organization that the Saudi
establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam
throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the
activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing
terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force
raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents
tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In
January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue
Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an
investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations
and terrorist financing networks."[11] This privileged relationship
with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he
used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll
several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa'id's
son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members
is Sa'id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in
the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his
visa to teach at Notre Dame University.[12] Sa'id Ramadan's case is
not isolated.[13]
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national
Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with
Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship
(1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany,
Switzerland and the United States.[14] Intelligence agencies around the
world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one
of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by
Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has
financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier.[15]
Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial
masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in
locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which
maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat
and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the
Algerian Islamic Salvation Front[16] and set up a secret credit line
for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.[17]
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat
and Nada as terrorism financiers.[18] According to Italian
intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic
centers throughout Europe[19] and many Islamist publications, including
Risalatul Ikhwan,[20] the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from
the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old
of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student
organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most
prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests
the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by
internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call
the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[21] In particular,
according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.[22]
The Muslim Brotherhood-led by Ramadan and Himmat[23]-sponsored the
construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960,[24]
aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd
of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article,
donated 80,000 marks.[25] The Ministry of Interior of
Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been
one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its
foundation.[26] The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose
efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier),[27] are
financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers
reject the concept of a secular state.[28] Its February 2002 issue, for
example, states,
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of
German family, estate, and trial law. ... Muslims should aim at an
agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a
separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most
important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian
Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example
of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has
grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of
Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more
than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella.[29] Today, the
IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of
many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He
understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German
Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved
in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply
dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities
openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him
to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental
organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant
Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature
and schools.[30] WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim
World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full
confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems."
It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast
unparalleled resources.[31] In 1991 WAMY published a book called
Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to
love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that
our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when
they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah."[32] The
sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception.
Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and
anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences
Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical
clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence
agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred.[33] German
authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several
money laundering investigations.[34] Zayat has never been indicted for
terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains
associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The
IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation
of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich
as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is
headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The
former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to
a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar
family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled
persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of
the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from
other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of
operations.[35] From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists[36] to
operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a
financial front for Hamas,[37] Aachen is well known to intelligence
agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with
their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of
important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through
intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa
banker Youssef Nada.[38] Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood
branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen
Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa.[39] Staff
members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich.
For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of
Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen.[40]
Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has
never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of
independence.
Milli Görüs
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the
German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with
officials of Milli Görüs (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli
Görüs, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000
sympathizers,[41] claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant
Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political
arena while "preserving their Islamic identity."[42] But Milli Görüs
has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic
debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into
European societies, some Milli Görüs leaders have expressed contempt
for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz,
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about
Milli Görüs' activities, describing the group in its annual reports
as a "foreign extremist organization."[43] The agency also reported
that "although Milli Görüs, in public statements, pretends to adhere
to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the
laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic
state and social system are, as before, among its goals."[44]
Milli Görüs' history alone indicates why the group should be
considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan,
whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in
January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular
regime,"[45] is still Milli Görüs' undisputed leader, even if his
nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli
Görüs meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin
Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli
Görüs' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in
the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of
the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam."[46] A
While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized
the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and
asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from
tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the
organization.[47]
Milli Görüs pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its
target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüs and the IGD
collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection.
Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.[48]
The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important
Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as
well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque;
other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As
Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in
counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on
Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of
organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the
Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.[49]
IGD and Milli Görüs are active in their efforts to increase
political influence and become the official representatives of the
entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their
mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute
literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed ... primarily by Milli
Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views
within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement ... for
all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the
Shari'a. ... Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom
should be treated with caution.[51]
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany
about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our
Cities),[52] "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to
him."[53] For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited
Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious
meeting organized by the academy in October 2002.[54] German
politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves
with Milli Görüs in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official
journal of Milli Görüs, once stated that "Milli Görüs is a shield
protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric
Europe."[55] Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli
Görüs officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The
fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general,
represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing
religious tolerance,[56] shows the success of Brotherhood-linked
organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of
German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well
described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüs (and the IGD)
"strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella
organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as
interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to
expand its influence within society."[57]
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin
Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil
Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency
with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a
high-ranking Milli Görüs official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer
from the Islamic Center of Munich.[58] While an official German
parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another
Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous
misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.[59]
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German
Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater
political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including
the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of
Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime.
According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out
of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.[60]
The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president,
Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the
Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian
Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the
masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.[61]
Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told
authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of
Medina where Elyas sent him to study.[62] Elyas said he could not
remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski,
who never completed high school, might have been one of the many
individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi
Arabia.[63] Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses.[64]
Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of
German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in
Saudi Arabia.[65]
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for
German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and
Milli Görüs, the de facto representative of three million German
Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two
organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence
is planned. With many organizations operating under different names,
the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are
consulting a spectrum of opinion.[66] The media seek the Zentralrat's
officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate
about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to
the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's
endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many
German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand
that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat
expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüs, is that of the Muslim
Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam. Accordingly, the
Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports
Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical
position on the Middle East situation.[67] While many Muslims endorse
these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor
tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups
lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups.
In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political
relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts,
the IGD and Milli Görüs, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi
financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of
the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside
Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden
camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated
the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to
young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the
infidels.[68] While the images elicited a rebuke from German
politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German
Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run
nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood
organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to
cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have
not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign
funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites,
Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions
throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations
Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has
become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic
Council.[69] In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed
Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities
and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in
dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.[70]
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim
Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies.
Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a
series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national
organizations can meet and plan initiatives.[71] Perhaps the Muslim
Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische
Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June
1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England
joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic
youth organization.[72] Three months later, thirty-five delegates from
eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of
European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which
maintains its headquarters in Brussels.[73]
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42
national and international organizations bringing together youth from
over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over
the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly
consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also
developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of
Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous
relevant NGOs at the European level.[74]
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in
Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address
the European Parliament.[75] Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides
the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de
facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe." While FEMYSO claims that it
"is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the
future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one,"[76]
such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are
enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's
enemies. ... Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the
Jews."[77]
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed
to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream
society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been
possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over
rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and
building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so
naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert
on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans-and Germans in
particular-fear the accusation of racism.[78] Radicals in sheep's
clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the
accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked
organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim
persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives
are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of
those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim
community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for
the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they
represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations
are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not
take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate
organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level,
impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting
with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim
Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting,
especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not
have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating
cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups
will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim
communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder
Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the
Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also
become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a
Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.
http://www.meforum.org/article/687
Ben Cramer
2006-04-09 12:07:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Smith
And so's yo momma.
Past tense, I'm afraid. Much like izzieland will become.
torresD
2006-04-08 23:27:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Smith
MOSLEMS, GET OUT OF ISRAEL! YOU ARE NEEDED THERE AS MUCH AS MEASLES IN A
PEDIATRIC WARD.
Stay out of the Muslim countries,
where we don't belong.
We invade them, we attack them,
and they strike back.
We had our troops in Saudi Arabia.
We back Israel, that destroys the Palestinian people.
We do that.
Stay out of the Muslim countries.
Their world is not our world.
Post by Ed
Well, then, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The
moslems should then get out of Jewish countries.... all ONE of them.
David Ben-Gurion said.

"Why should the Arabs make peace?
If I were an Arab leader,
I would never make terms with Israel.
That is natural:
we have taken their country.

Sure, God promised it to us,
but what does that matter to them?

There has been anti-Semitism,
the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz,
but was that their fault?

They only see one thing:
we came here and stole their
country.

Why should they accept that?"

(David Ben-Gurion quoted in
"The Jewish Paradox" by Nahum Goldmann,
former president of the World Jewish Congress.)
Evron
2006-04-09 03:46:34 UTC
Permalink
torresD wrote:
Quoting David Ben-Gurion.
<snipped>
"Our right to the country(Eretz Israel) - the entire country - exists
as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until
its full and complete redemption is realized."

- Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, 1937
Ben Cramer
2006-04-09 03:50:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Evron
Quoting David Ben-Gurion.
<snipped>
"Our right to the country(Eretz Israel) - the entire country - exists
as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until
its full and complete redemption is realized."
- Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, 1937
Ersatz Israel, dopey. Not Eretz.
Ben Cramer
2006-04-09 03:50:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Evron
Quoting David Ben-Gurion.
<snipped>
"Our right to the country(Eretz Israel) - the entire country - exists
as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until
its full and complete redemption is realized."
- Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, 1937
Forgot to add: Ben Gurion was a terrorist.
John Smith
2006-04-09 12:19:34 UTC
Permalink
And Cramer is WHITE TRASH.
Post by Ben Cramer
Post by Evron
Quoting David Ben-Gurion.
<snipped>
"Our right to the country(Eretz Israel) - the entire country - exists
as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until
its full and complete redemption is realized."
- Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, 1937
Forgot to add: Ben Gurion was a terrorist.
Ben Cramer
2006-04-09 12:25:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Smith
And Cramer is WHITE TRASH.
Goodness me! Such anger already.

Don't like hearing the truth of your heroes?
Post by John Smith
Post by Ben Cramer
Post by Evron
Quoting David Ben-Gurion.
<snipped>
"Our right to the country(Eretz Israel) - the entire country - exists
as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until
its full and complete redemption is realized."
- Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, 1937
Forgot to add: Ben Gurion was a terrorist.
John Smith
2006-04-09 12:18:07 UTC
Permalink
David Ben-Gurion said.

"Why should the Arabs make peace?
If I were an Arab leader,
I would never make terms with Israel.
That is natural:
we have taken their country.
============================================================================
You're full of horseshit, Torres. Stick to the stolen hubcap business. Ben
Gurion told the Arabs, "We got a deal for you." Had Italy been Israel's
broker, she would have told them,"We've got a deal you can't refuse" and
tossed them all out. Before 1948, England begged the Pallies and their
weasels to accept a two state solution in the Holy Land, which they REFUSED.
That's because the Pallies preferred living uncultured, unwashed and
uneducated. So instead of jumping on the Hebrew bandwagon that changed that
barren shithole into a land of milk and honey, they constantly tried to
revert things to represent their favored uncultured, unwashed and
uneducated. History is teaching that nothing will destroy the Jews and you
can toss in a Jewish homeland as well. So you anti-Semitic pricks hanging
around here, live with those facts. Ram your effing heads against walls;
you'll neither destroy
those people nor their homeland. Rant, rave and butcher all you want--in the
end it'll be YOU who'll be destroyed, not the Jews. You think God Almighty
gave the Ten Commandments to weaklings? If the gas chambers and fires of
Hitler's ovens failed, you Pallie assholes don't stand an iota of a chance.
So turn to Mecca, kneel and let out a mighty fart because that's sums up the
"power" of all the noise you produce.
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