The Islam in Europe Blog has published a translation of a Dutch newspaper article profiling Dutch Muslim Brotherhood leader Yahia Bouyafa. According to the translated report:
Yahia Bouyafa (47) from IJsselstein, publicly unknown, would be high up on the list of 100 most influential Muslims in the Netherlands, if one would exist. The Moroccan-Dutch is on a number of boards. He’s chairman of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in the Netherlands (FION), the National Muslim Organizations (LMO), the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands (RMMN), and the charitable organizations Europe Trust Nederland and Maroc Relief. Until recently he was a government partner as chairman of the Contact Groep Islam (CGI). Bouyafa also heads the mosque where he lives, has a media company, is board-member of the Dutch Muslim Council. He seems to dedicate himself for Dutch Muslims. But is that the case? The IJsselstein resident belong to a European network of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), according to public sources on the internet. This organization, founded in 1928 in Egypt, started off with Islamic terrorism, but has meanwhile sworn off violence. Currently the Muslims Brothers pursue an Islamic world-empire with legal means. Also in Europe, where the Brothers settled down in the 1960s. They have branches in many countries, and, according to the official Arabic website of the Brotherhood (www.ikhwan.net), a European umbrella organizations: FIOE. Bouyafa’s FIO is part of that. he says he doesn’t know that the Muslim Brotherhood see the FIOE as their European branch. Bouayafa: “With the FIOE we want to form institutes to legitimize our presence in Europe. We don’t get instructions from the Muslim Brotherhood.” Last year Bouyafa successfully sued De Telegraaf and NOVA, who could not show his relationship with the MB, according to the court. The connection with the Arabic MB site wasn’t known at the time………In the Netherlands, Bouyafa has an impressive network of associations and organizations. The Volkskrant mapped them out on the basis of public registers. He’s not only in various umbrella organizations, as chairman of Europe Trust Nederland he also has interests in real-estate. “Rich people from Qatar,” according to Bouyafa, are financing the building of a new mosque in Slotervaart (Amsterdam), via this organization. In February 2008, he bought with co-administrator Kamis Gacha a building for 1.1 million euro in the Hague. Shortly before Geert Wilders’ movie Fitna came out, Gacha called on spiritual leaders abroad to ‘launch all available means’ against that ‘harmful move about Islam’. Bouyafa appeared in that period as a moderate Muslim representative who explained to the Arab world that there’s freedom of expression in the Netherlands. But in the security service circles they doubted his sincerity………His enemies link him to the Muslim Brotherhood to blacken his name, he says. He thinks it’s unnecessary to simply remedy this problem by renouncing the MB’s European arm. He says he’ll only act if the AIVD says that the federation is dangerous.
Previous posts have discussed Mr. Bouyafa’s role as a dialog partner for the Dutch government, his part in a public broadcasting controversy, and his real-estate dealings on behalf of the Europe Trust, the funding/endowment arm of FIOE.
(Note: partial translation)
When we first published this post, we inadvertently failed to credit the Islam in Europe Blog which originally produced the translation. This has now been corrected and we apologize for the confusion.