Head Of German Muslim Brotherhood Replaced; Possibly Facing Criminal ChargesBy
The Islamischen Gemeinschaft in Deutschland e.V (Islamic Society of Germany) has announced that it has elected a new President to replace European Muslim Brotherhood leader Ibrahim El-Zayat. According to the announcement:
The General Assembly has elected Samir Falah as the new President of the Islamic Community in Germany. He follows Ibrahim El-Zayat who was elected for the first time on 13 January 2002 and after serving two terms was not available for re-election. Samir Falah has a degree in computer science from Karlsruhe and has already belonged tin the past to the IGD board, most recently with the job of youth and student work. The father of four children has set himself the goal over the next four years of working in the Mosque communities and bringing professionalism to the forefront of their efforts. The members thanked El-Zayat, and the old board for the leadership of the community in a very difficult time. The IGD, the Islamic Community in Germany eV, was founded in 1958 and is one of the oldest Islamic institutions in Germany….Khallad Swaid has been chosen as Deputy head of the IGD.
The Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD) is considered by the German government to be the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany. Mr. El-Zayat is also a leader in many other European Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the umbrella group for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. He is married to the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan who is in turn the nephew of Necmettin Erbakan, the leader of Turkish Milli Görüs. Mr. El-Zayat is highly active in managing Milli Gorus properties in Germany and in Holland where a mosque project he was involved with has become embroiled in controversy. He was also formerly the Western European head of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi youth organization that U.S. government agencies and officials have said has helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. A German newspaper has reported on Mr. El-Zayat’s real-estate business, discussing his role as the signatory authority for an entity called European Mosque Construction and Support. In this capacity, he advises more than 600 mosques in Europe, providing project development, insurance, and other services. The report states that he is currently involved with over 50 new and renovated mosque projects. Zayat also provides investment services for wealth Arab investors in the MIddle East who wish to invest “Islamically” in Europe.
A possible reason for Mr. El-Zayat’s decision not to run for re-election as IGD President may be the on-going German law enforcement investigation, in which he is one of a group of individuals tied to the IGD suspected of forming a criminal association and intending to commit a crime by obtaining funds for its “politico-religious and ultimately Islamist goals.” Charges pending may include:
– Fraud in several cases, such as obtaining public funds without the necessary public utility, donations of money collections with unclear fate of the funds, acquisition of property with fraudulent financial structures
– Forgery, false certification
– Money laundering
– Violation of the Banking Act.
The intent of the above activities is believed to be in support of Hamas.
This is not the first time,Mr. El-Zayat has come under suspicion. According to a Wall Street Journal report, in 2002 German federal police launched as investigation into transfers of millions of dollars by Mr. El-Zayat one behalf of WAMY to Balkan charities. The report of the investigation concluded that “The constellation of accounts, money flows and persons indicate that the accounts in Germany of Ibrahim El-Zayat and Ayman Sayed Ahmed Aly were used for carrying out fundamentalist Islamic activities in Europe.” Neither man was charged in the investigation but the Journal notes “When the transfers took place, supporting or being a member in a foreign terrorist organization wasn’t illegal in Germany.”
Little is about Samir Falah, Mr. El-Zayat’s replacement, other than he lent his name in to a “Free Gaza” petition. However a NEFA Foundation report on the Muslim Brotherhood of Belgium identifies Khallad Swaid, the new IGD Deputy head, as the former President of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), the youth arm of FIOE. Also, as late as 2005, Mr. Swaid was identified as the Chairman of the Muslimische Jugend (MJD), a FEMYSO member organization with which Mr. El-Zayat and his brother Bilal are closely associated.