European governments accused of giving almost €80m to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups

MEPs criticise funding as 'absurd' and 'concerning'

The latest Global Influence Operations Report documented €79,551,732 in donations given to groups with reported links to the Muslim Brotherhood. AP
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Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups have received almost €80 million in funding from European governments over the past decade, a report has revealed.

The latest Global Influence Operations Report documented €79,551,732 in donations given to groups with reported links to the Muslim Brotherhood by the European Union, the Council of Europe and various national governments since 2004.

“The threats to European civil society posed by the Global Muslim Brotherhood include hindering the integration of minorities, inciting conflict between ethnic groups, fostering hatred and incubating terrorism,” the report said.

“Tracing and identifying funding sources for the Global Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most challenging tasks for analysts. Nevertheless, Gior research into the Muslim Brotherhood has identified a variety of funding streams, one of which is European governments.”

In one incident mentioned in the report, the EU Commission awarded more than €53,000 to a Belgium partner organisation of France's Collective Against Islamophobia in France.

The charity was forced to close before the French government moved to dissolve it in 2020 after it was accused of taking part in a social media campaign against a French history teacher who was murdered for showing his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The report showed that the charity was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and its founder’s grandsons, Tariq and Hani Ramadan, and had been described as an “Islamist pharmacy” and an “enemy of the Republic” by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Islamic Relief was given more than €33.7m by the EU between 2007 to 2020, the EU Financial Transparency database used in the study showed.

The German government has previously stated that there are “significant personnel connections” between Islamic Relief Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood and it has halted its funding.

Last year, Vice President of the European Parliament Nicola Beer wrote to the European Commission and said it was unacceptable for Islamic Relief to receive funding if it has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“European funds must not fall into the hands of organisations that are responsible for anti-Semitism or other hatred,” she said.

The US and the Netherlands have also stopped funding the charity.

Islamic Relief denies it has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

MEP Tomas Zdechovsky has described the funding given to groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood as “ridiculous”.

“The threats of non-violent Islamism posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations are, in an almost punishable manner, overlooked and underestimated in Europe,” he told the Brussels Morning Newspaper.

“The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than to undermine and destroy western democracy. That said, Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations still receive substantial financial support from public resources and are facilitating a platform to influence public opinion in Europe.

“Islamist study and cultural associations are aided at all levels of governance in Europe. Member states send multimillion[-euro] donations to organisations such as Islamic Relief, which, although involved in charity work, still holds an Islamist agenda and anti-Semitism views.

He added that organisations looking to “destroy our freedom” should not be supported.

“Providing financial support and facilitating the public exposure at the EU and all lower levels of governance to organisations influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood is an absurd but sure quest of Europe to self-destruction,” Mr Zdechovsky said.

“Assigning EU funds to people who want to destroy our freedom is ridiculous. We cannot ignore this danger anymore because the future of liberty in entire Europe is at stake.”

Last October, the report “Network of Networks: The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe” described the EU funding of organisations linked to the group and said that the level of education among legislators and bureaucrats about the Muslim Brotherhood needed to the raised.

MEP Charlie Weimers said the report's findings were “concerning” and he has asked the European Commission to cease funding the groups.

Updated: August 03, 2022, 3:50 PM