Author of two reference books (“Muslim Brotherhood, the inner circle” and “The neo-Muslim Brotherhood in the West”), Lorenzo Vidino is one of the most prominent specialists on the Islamist Brotherhood in Europe. In this interview, he explains how the Muslim Brotherhood’s hidden real estate investments bring in tens of millions of euros every year.
The author of “Why I left the Muslim Brotherhood” was the first in 2016 to publish an investigation into the real estate assets of Imam Hassan Iquioussen and his family. For him, the Iquioussen case is in fact the tree that hides the forest: for decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has been discreetly accumulating buildings, houses, commercial premises, flats and land. The objective is to build up a “real estate war chest” that would allow them to finance themselves, so as not to depend on money from the Gulf countries.
Between the time he slipped away from the French police who came to arrest him at his home in Lourches on August 30, and his arrest by the Belgian police near Mons on September 30, the case of the Muslim brother preacher, Hassan Iquioussen, has been extensively commented on.
His profile as a self-proclaimed imam with controversial remarks; his career as a “city preacher” in the shadow of “Muslims of France” (Ex-UOIF), the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; his figurative career as an Islamo-youtubeur, whose video-sermons count more than 34 million views; were examined from every angle.
The Qatari-Egyptian Youssef al-Qaradawi, presented as the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, died on 26 September at the age of 96, but was in fact only a courtier who adapted his preaching to what his Qatari protectors wanted to hear. For he owes his immense popularity to the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera where, for years, he was able to distil his retrograde version of Islam in his programme “Sharia and Life”. Thus, a woman who wears a tight-fitting garment will not only not enter paradise, but she “will not even smell it”. A Muslim woman’s clothing “must not resemble that worn especially by the unbelievers, the Jews, the Christians and the idolaters”, he warned. As for men, their private parts “are between the navel and the knees”. This means that they must not allow women to rave about their thighs… and cast “hungry and greedy” glances at them, which Youssef Qaradawi, father of modesty, called “fornication of the eye”
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi has passed away at an advanced age. His death has become the subject of controversy between those who mourned his passing and consider his death a loss for Islamic thought and the moderate spirit of preaching, and those who hold him responsible for the bloodshed of Muslims, the justification of extremism, the allegiance to corrupt and unaccountable regimes, and the issuing of politically motivated fatwas linked to these regimes.
On the occasion of the International Youth Day on 12 August, the European Commission posted a video on Instagram showing young FEMYSO activists wearing T-shirts with their association’s logo. The organisation, which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, was previously received by the Maltese Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, to talk about stereotypes, discrimination and hatred against young Muslims in Europe. In the same video, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, says: “Let’s be inspired by all the young people who show that you can achieve what you believe in”, before concluding: “This is the spirit of Europe’s next generation”.
A good Muslim today feels guilty for not having succeeded in establishing the Islamic State, whether by persuasion or force. This ideal, this ultimate goal is based on his pride as a Muslim. He is proud of what he is, not what he does. Instead of being what he will become, he wants to be what he has been. This blockage leads to a dichotomous attitude and, while he accepts technical modernity, he rejects its metaphysics. Thus, he lives a development without progress because he remains stuck to the sacred: the forbidden, halal, paradise, hell, the torments of the grave… For him, purity and fear prevail over the process of freedom. But because he feels guilty for not advancing the cause of Islam, which is to spread the law of Allah throughout the world, he is in constant conflict with himself.
In Germany, where three million Turks live, more than a million of whom have German nationality, Ankara has been trying for several years to influence elections by calling on voters with dual nationality not to vote for political parties deemed hostile to Turkey’s interests. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s networks are also active in France, although much more discreetly, via the Council for Justice, Equality and Peace (Cojep), which presented – without much success – several candidates in the recent legislative elections.
How can we explain that certain influential figures of the Muslim Brotherhood are constantly giving lessons in morality, while they lead a private life that is often totally dissolute? One immediately thinks of Tariq Ramadan, whose investigating judges recently announced the end of the investigations into the rape accusations, thus opening the way for a trial to be held soon. But it is also the case of Mohamed Karmous, in Switzerland, victim of blackmailers. He was recently filmed without his knowledge having sex with a girl he met the day before.
When the people point out the real problems, the politicians blithely point their accusing finger!
Thus, in a recent poll conducted during the presidential election campaign (Ifop for Global Watch Analysis), 85% of French people expressed the wish to see the “future president” tackle head-on the rise of Islamism and communitarianism by banning Islamist organisations in France linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafism, the Turkish Milli Görüs and other Tablighs.