The Qatari serpent that infiltrates Europe
The support what was called Qatar Charitable Organization offered to terrorist and radical groups became a well-known fact to everybody in the 1990s and during the first decade of the third millennium.
When the organization was given the name "Qatar Charity", it started falling under the supervision of the Qatari government. This supervision tried to keep Qatar immune from the evils of the same terrorist and radical groups.
When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2012, Doha and the charity organizations it sponsored actively backed the armed militias and radical groups that started operating in Syria. This brought intense pressures to the same charity organizations.
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani realized then that his government needed to fully supervise these charity organizations. This was why the Qatari government established the Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities in 2014.
Nonetheless, Qatar Charity and the Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association did not suspend their financial support to terrorist organizations in Syria. Qatari financing continued to flow, bankrolling, not only the militias operating in Syria, but also the Palestinian Hamas movement and the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world.
The same charity organizations took measures to please western governments, including by changing their structure and boards.
Qatar has three charity organizations that actively support Muslim communities in western countries. Qatar Foundation backs educational projects in North and South America and Europe. A look at statements in 2008 by Yehia Abu Ayaf, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Netherlands, could show the enormity of Qatari financing in this regard. Abu Ayaf said he had initially received €400,000 for the construction of the Blue Mosque in Amsterdam.
Qatar Foundation now focuses on supporting educational projects in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. In 2011, the foundation started the first business administration master's program. It then started another program on Arabic language and culture. It also cooperates with the School of Oriental and African Studies in training British schoolteachers in Arabic. So far, around 58 British universities had received support and donations from Qatar Foundation. The support and the donations covered 95 projects.
Almost all Qatari charities are run by members of the Al Thani family. Each of these charities has its own activities and responsibilities. The Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association especially sponsors Wahhabi and Salafist organizations. Qatar Charity sponsors the different branches of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Sometimes, the two organizations clash because of running into the same field, like in the case of their support for what is called the International Coalition for Preventing Aggression. The two organizations also clash when it comes to their support to Youssef al-Qaradawi who leads the so-called Union of Good. Some of the Salafist organizations in Europe receive support from Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association and also from Qatar Charity, especially in Africa.
In August 2016, the association signed contracts for the construction of 17 mosques in different countries. The association is especially active in Africa and Asia. This means that most of the mosques the association will construct will be in these two continents.
According to Dutch media reports in 2016, a Salafist organization bought an old school in Rotterdam for€1.7 million. It was the al-Nour Foundation in Heidelberg, Germany. One of the brokers in this deal was Nasr al-Damanhouri, the manager of the Salafist al-FurqanMosque and the Endowment Foundation in Eindhoven. Damanhouri is on the payroll of Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association, according to statements he gave to an Egyptian journalist.
Dutch media said the new owner of the school wanted to establish an institute for Salafist teachings in Rotterdam. Arnoud van Doorn, a member of the city council of the Hague, should have become the head of this foundation. The money for the purchase of the school came from a Qatari charity, Dutch newspapers said.
The mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Abu Taleb, meanwhile, travelled to Qatar as part of a government anti-terrorism delegation. In Qatar, he negotiated with the Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association over the purchase of the school so that it could become the headquarters of the association in Rotterdam. He also asked the association to help his foundation find another location for it in the Netherlands.
Little is known about the other activities of the association in Europe. In 2013, the association wanted to become an advisor of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Nonetheless, it had to provide information about all the entities affiliated to it. The association then submitted a list containing the following entities:
The Islamic Society, Albania
The Arab Cultural Center, Germany
The Waqf Foundation, Kosovo
The Waqf Foundation, the Netherlands
The Waqf of Orebro Mosque, Sweden
The Help the Needy Foundation, the UK
A German intelligence report revealed in 2016 that Salafists in the European state received support from the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage in Kuwait, the Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association and Saudi Arabia.
Qatari funding to Brotherhood in France
Qatar interferes financially in the affairs of Muslims in France. It does this through Qatar Charity and some Qatari sponsors. Mohamed al-Dabagh founded Qatar Charity in 1991 and headed its board. He had, however, to resign because of American pressures on the Qatari regime.
"There was pressure on Dabagh to resign," said Mohamed al-Louzi who has vast information about the Muslim Brotherhood.
He said there were suspicions that the charity offered financing to al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden.
Mohamed al-Hamadi, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, heads the charity now. In 2010, the charity had total investments of €130 million in Europe.
Empire of mosques
Qatar's strategy is based on financing mosques and Islamic centers. These centers are the main channel for financing the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in France. These activities range between recruitment and influencing decision-making in the French society. Qatar offers huge funding for several mosques, including the following:
· Assalam Mosque in Nantes
This mosque is affiliated to the West France Islamic Society. The society is a branch of the Union of Islamic Organizations in France.
· Al-Rahma Mosque in Strasbourg
The mosque is located in strategic Hautepierre district. The Social Reform Society in Hautepierre, which is affiliated to the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, runs this mosque.
· Dassou Mosque of Argenteuil
It is located in Val-d'Oise. It is a new mosque that is affiliated to Assalam Society. It is run by Moroccan members of the Rally of Muslims in France.
· Yutz Mosque
It is located in Moselle district. It is a Salafist mosque run by al-Hayat Cultural Society for the Islamic Community.
· Galliac Mosque
This mosque has room for 260 people, has an imam who receives a fixed salary (€2,000 a month).
· Saint-Denis mosque in Saint-Denis
It is called al-Tawhid Cultural Center. It is affiliated to the Union of Islamic Organizations in France. On April 26, 2013, the French daily Libération ran an article in which it referred to visits to the mosque by people with affiliations to the Muslim Brotherhood. These people included Rached Ghannouchi, the founder of Ennahda Party in Tunisia, Tareq Ramadan’s brother, Hani.
· The Grand Mosque in Reims
It is run by its board and Reims Center. It is the jewel of the Union of Islamic Organizations in France as far as Qatari financing is concerned. The mosque of Villeneuve d’Ascq is the headquarters of the Islamic Center of the city. The center is an affiliated to the Union of Islamic Organizations. A number of officials from Qatar Charity visited the mosque in May 2015, including its board chairman, Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani, Youssef al-Kawari, a Qatari national with affiliations to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ayub Abul Yaqin, the director of Qatar Charity in the UK.
· The al-Nour Mosque
Itis located in Mulhouse. It is affiliated to the Alsace and Moselle territory. It is still under construction. After the completion of this construction, the mosque will be the largest Muslim Brotherhood Islamic house of worship in the whole of France. It will be headed by Mahfouz Zawy.
Qatar runs and bankrolls a number of institutions in France. These institutions include the following:
· National Association for Private Islamic Learning
This association is headed by Mahmud Mamish, the deputy head of the Union of Islamic Organizations in France. The association contains five Islamic schools, some of which function in the light of contracts with the French government. The association oversees the work of a number of Islamic schools, including the Islamic School in Montpellier and Ibn Rushd School.
· Collective against Islamophobia in France
Sami Deba and Marwan Mohamed, who were in their thirties, founded the Collective against Islamophobia in 2003. The new entity aimed to counter attacks against the Islamic religion. It also aimed to work against discrimination and attacks against women wearing the Islamic headgear at the workplace and in society in general.
· European Institute for Humanities
In 1992, Youssef al-Qaradawi inaugurated the Islamic Sciences School, an affiliate of the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, in Nievre. Qaradawi was a member of the academic council of the school. Muslim Brotherhood member Ahmed al-Hamadi gave half a million Euros to the institute in 2007 as an official of Qatar Charity.
· Islamic Relief
Rachid Lahlou founded the Islamic branch of Islamic Relief Organization in 1992. Lahlou did this at the request of Hani al-Banna who cofounded the branch with him. This cofounder was a strong fan of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyed Qotb. In 2001, Islamic Relief received $50,000 in donations from Osama bin Laden. It received another $60,000 from entities affiliated to al-Qaeda. Qatar Charity allocated a grant of $276,000 to the organization in 2013.
· International and Strategic Relations Institute
When the head of the International and Strategic Relations Institute, Pascal Boniface, was asked by journalists about funding to his organization from Qatar, he vehemently denied the presence of this funding. He even refused to publish information about the financial dealings of the institute. Anyway, Boniface is always keen to attend the Democracy Forum, an annual event organized in Doha since 2004. He was also one of the most outstanding defenders of Qatar against the background of the publication in 2013 of the book “Qatar: the Small Villain” by French writers Nicolas Beau and Jacques-Marie Bourget.
· AJ+ Channel
The new channel, which is broadcast by al-Jazeera, tackles social issues in a very biased manner. It describes others in a racist way. The channel also denounces the interrogation of veiled women and praises Tarq Ramadan all the time. It refers to Ramadan as “Mr” or as a “Swiss thinker”. The channel always interviews people who back Hamas.
· Arab World Institute
Qatar contributes part of the budget of the institute. We found Qaradawi’s books at the library of the institute. The spokeswoman of the Republicans Party, who works for the institute, threatened to sue me if I reveal her links with the institute. The same woman is a staunch advocate of Hamas. Tareq Ramadan was invited several times to speak at the institute.