German media is reporting that the Munich prosecutor has dropped the most serious charges in an investigation of the leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic officials. Ibrahim El-Zayat and the others subjects of the investigation had had been suspected of forming a criminal association and intending to commit a crime by obtaining funds for its “politico-religious and ultimately Islamist goals”, probably in support of Hamas. Numerous houses and offices belonging to the suspects had been searched in March of last year including the Islamic Center of Munich which is also the home of the German Muslim Brotherhood organization known as the the Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland. Also cleared was Mr. El-Zayat’s business partner Oguz Ücüncü who is the Secretary-General of the Turkish Islamist organization known as Milli-Görüs. A previous post reported on the on the controversy surrounding the German government decision to ban the Council of Islam (Islamrat) from the German-Islam Conference on the grounds that the Council, dominated by the Turkish-based Milli Gorus movement, was under investigation. The media reports indicate that the German Interior Ministry will not change this decision citing ties between the the German international humanitarian relief organization (IHH), which was banned in July because of financial support to Hamas. The Executive Board and Board of Trustees of IHH were many members of the Milli-Görüs leadership. The Milli Görüs leader criticized the investigation as politically motivated from the start and said he had no doubt that the investigation would be terminated. Mr. Ücüncü said that he believed the investigation was aimed at defaming the individuals involved. The German media reports indicate that tax fraud charges against the group are still pending.
An earlier post reported that Ibrahim El-Zayat was recently replaced as the head of the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD) 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.
Amena Shakir, the sister of Ibrahim El-Zayat, is the director of the Akademie für Islamische Religionspädagogik (IRPA) in Vienna, the educational institution responsible for training Austrian Islamic religious teachers.