The Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement West

After the Second World War, much of the Islamic world fell under Soviet domination, and the rest under the efforts of the Soviet Union to extend the Communist world.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership, which had supported the Nazis in WWII, looked upon Germans as allies and the Soviets as enemies. Many of their leaders immigrated to Germany because the Brotherhood was suppressed in Egypt, following their attempt to overthrow the Nasser government. They had originally been friendly to Nasser, whom they helped to overthrow the previous Egyptian government.

Now their top figures needed a home abroad where they could live and organize safely, while the Ikhwan (“Brotherhood” in Arabic) shifted into underground operations in Egypt itself.

Germany welcomed them. The Brotherhood built a large Islamic Center in Munich, which became the nexus for a Brotherhood partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency under President Eisenhower. Eisenhower and subsequent presidents saw them as useful for transmitting anti-Soviet propaganda throughout the Islamic world, as well as for organizing resistance to Russian expansion.

Into England

The Munich Islamic Center was the headquarters during years of steady growth in Europe through the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s, however, the Brotherhood moved its European headquarters from Germany to the United Kingdom. Under the leadership of Mohammed Akef, later the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, the Ikhwan’s European operations shifted to the Markfield Conference Centre near Leicester, U.K. The Markfield Conference Centre is owned by the Islamic Foundation, an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain. Both of those organizations are Muslim Brotherhood offshoots.

The Centre also now houses the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), one of Europe’s largest Brotherhood organizations. It has served as well as headquarters for other Brotherhood entities including the European Council for Fatwa and Research, currently based in Dublin, whose work is headed by Brotherhood “spiritual leader” Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

The ECFR states its goal as demonstrating the supremacy of shariah law:

Shari’ah cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards, rather, it is the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform; it is the frame to which they must be referred; it is the scale on which they must be weighed.

Influence with Governments in the West

In addition to these organizations, which proclaim that they are chiefly interested in persuasion and education, the Ikhwan has established direct relationships with Western governments designed to influence policy.

In France, the Brotherhood has the Union of Islamic Organizations in France; the Italian counterpart is the Union of the Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy. Those groups work, respectively, with the French and Italian governments.

They use claims of victimhood and demands for tolerance to mask their true intentions to marginalize or silence critics. In the U.K., the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain are two of the most prominent MB organizations.

Like their continental counterparts, the MCB and MAB work with Her Majesty’s government at the highest levels toward the same end. The effects of these organizations include major security failures detailed in another recent backgrounder.

The policies they have convinced Western governments to adopt have distorted security services’ capacity to think and talk honestly about the threats they face. This has led to tragedies such as the child rape ring in Rotherham, England, that ran for 16 years in spite of the government being informed about it repeatedly from the first years of its operation.

Official policy quashed the investigations, such that high government officials discouraged it and police and social workers feared punishment as xenophobes or racists should they pursue the charges.

Domination of Muslim Groups Across Europe

As we shall see with respect to the Brotherhood footprint in the United States, the leading Muslim organizations across Europe – virtually without exception – are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Even though the affiliation with the Brotherhood for most of these organizations is easily established, and the true objectives of these organizations are readily discernable, most European governments are unwilling to deal effectively with the threats posed by Brotherhood penetration of the highest levels of their societies.

For example, two of the most prominent MB operatives in Europe, Ghaleb Himmat and Yousef Nada, were designated as terrorism financiers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Their bank was found to be involved in 9/11 and, on investigation, to have a history of financing a host of terrorist organizations. These men were nevertheless allowed to continue doing business with and in Europe.

Likewise, Brotherhood “spiritual leader” Yousef al-Qaradawi was named in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial for his involvement with the a Hamas fundraising front. He also remains involved in Europe, especially with the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in Dublin. The ECFR makes no secret of its agenda, which is the supremacy of shariah law.

As is often the case, both the readily established agenda and the direct connection to well-known terrorist organizations is tolerated by Western governments.

Why are Western Governments Complacent?

One reason for Europe’s general unwillingness to confront and counter the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its operatives is that in the parliamentary politics of some countries, Muslim communities are increasingly seen as critical voting blocs.

This is only increasing as Europe continues to court large-scale immigration from the Islamic world, and as Europeans continue to have low native birth rates. The influx of millions of refugees will speed the growing power of this perceived voting bloc. It will be increasingly difficult for Europe to turn the corner as the voting bloc grows in size.

Since the Brotherhood gave rise to the leading European Islamic organizations across Europe, those organizations are well placed to influence the voting choices of this growing bloc. It will only be increasingly difficult for European governments to adopt thoughtful, critical views of the security issues involved.

Only the demands of a sizable majority of European citizens could serve to change their minds. Those demands are beginning to come, and growing louder the more European governments seek to suppress them.


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