German law enforcement has announced a major police investigation involving the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany and Belgium. According to the announcement by the Munich police and Public Prosecutor’s office, searches were carried out of premises in various cities in Germany and Belgium today resulting from judicial orders against seven well-known but as yet unidentified individuals. However, given the description of the major figure in the investigation, it is almost certain to be Ibrahim El-Zayat, the leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood, described in an earlier post as:
El-Zayat is the leader of the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD) which is generally considered to be the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany. Mr. El-Zayat is also a leader in many European Muslim Brotherhood organizations and 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 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 the real-estate business of Ibrahim El-Zayat, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany. The report discusses Zayat’s 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.
The announcement stated that the prosecutor’s office was intervening against the seven individuals on suspicion of forming a criminal association and intending to commit a crime by obtaining funds for its “politico-religious and ultimately Islamist goals.” Charges 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.
Another individual in the investigation is likely to be Ayman Aly who, along with Mr. El-Zayat is an officer of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the umbrella organization for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. A 2005 Wall Street Journal article reported on transfers of money from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) to the Albania branch of Taibah International, an Islamic charity whose Bosnian branch was designated as a terrorist entity by both the U.S and the U.N in 2004. According to the Journal report, the money was transfered by two Mr. El-Zayat and Mr. Aly :
Federation officials also have helped channel money to Islamic groups in the Balkans. A key figure in this effort is Ibrahim el-Zayat, who as head of the Islamic Community of Germany, a founding group in the federation, is one of Europe’s most prominent Muslims. In 2002, German federal police launched an investigation of Mr. Zayat. According to copies of a report reviewed by the Journal, he allegedly transferred more than $2 million on behalf of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a Saudi-run organization that propagates Wahhabist fundamentalism, which isn’t part of the federation. Some of that money, according to the report, was sent by Mr. Zayat and another federation official, Ayman Sayed Ahmed Aly, to an Albanian charity, Taibah. Taibah’s Bosnia branch last year was designated a terrorist organization by the US. government. Its Albanian branch was raided last year by the government there.”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,” the report said. Mr. Rawi [head of FIOE} said his federation has nothing to do with the activities of Mr. Zayat or Mr. Aly. “It is hard to prevent our members from working for charitable organizations,” Mr. Rawi said.
Also, according to sources in Germany, the Belgian aspect of the investigation involves Al-Aqsa Belgium, the Belgian member organization of the Union of Good, a coalition of charities headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi that is designated by the U.S. as raising funds for Hamas.
For more information on the individuals and organizations that are likely part of this investigation, the NEFA Foundation has issued a series of relevant reports.
For information on Mr. El-Zayat, Mr. Aly and FIOE go here.
For information on Al-Aqsa Belgium, go here
For information on the Union of Good, go here.