French media reported late last year that the campus of of L’institut Européen des Sciences Humaines (IESH) had been closed by a decision of the local government. According to the LeParisien report:
November 29, 2019 The European Institute of Human Sciences (IESH) of Saint-Denis was struck Tuesday by a closing order by the prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis. This Muslim university, which provides courses in Arabic language and theology and provides training for imams, is paying the price for a visit by the sub-committee against the risk of fire and panic. “An opinion unfavorable to the reception of the public was given”, indicates the prefecture. This control body brings together the firefighters of the BSPP (Paris firefighters), the central laboratory of the police prefecture, the prefectural services and the city of Saint-Denis. The prefecture details: “The IESH having, for the moment, not provided a technical response allowing this unfavorable opinion to be lifted, the prefect was led to have to issue a closure order, motivated by reasons of personal safety” The management of the IESH did not respond to our requests. But this decision is a blow for the private institute which welcomes more than 1,500 registrants per year. Founded by Ahmed Jaballah, former president of the UOIF (union of Islamic organizations in France). Located in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, it earned it to be closely followed by the services of the Ministry of the Interior and considered as “a sensitive establishment”. [Google Translation]
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Another French media report from February adds that one IESH student was a young woman sentenced to 30 years of in prison for intending to blow up the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2016 and that an IESH theology instructor was arrested for “suspicion of radicalization” in connection with a 2019 terror attack at a Paris police station.
Although a Facebook post from June 1 says that the school is taking registrations for 2020/2021, it is not clear if the reopening will in fact take place. If it does, it is also unclear if a new location can be found if not, whether courses will be held online.
IESH is an educational and imam-training facility in France associated with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, and its French member the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), The GMBDW first reported on IESH in 2007 when we noted statements by Ahmed Jaballah, a leader of both IESH and the French Muslim Brotherhood, that only 15 students per year were graduating from IESH and that not all were becoming imams. In 2014 we reported that one of the killers of British soldier Lee Rigby had attended the Welsh IESH campus. As that post noted, one of the most notable individuals associated with IESH has been Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who helped to design the school’s curriculum.
However, IESH has campus in other countries as well as in France. In Germany, IESH is known as the Europäisches Institut für Humanwissenschaften (EIHW) where Khaled Hanafy serves as Dean. As his EIHW bio notes, Hanafy is a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the theological body of the European Muslim Brotherhood founded by Qaradawi who recently was also its head. As with the French branch, the EIHW appears to be having difficulties with its location. From its inception in 2013 until sometime in 2019, the EIHW was located at an office complex in Frankfurt which is now being converted into an apartment complex. Recently, the EIHW website has listed another Frankfurt address known to house several German Muslim Brotherhood groups but sources tell us that no evidence of the EIHW could be found at that location. Finally, since September 2019, no new content has been added to the EIHW social media sites and an email sent to the institute was answered saying they are looking for new premises.
The remaining IESH operation is the European Institute for Human Science (EIHS), formerly located in Wales but now operating from campuses in London and Birmingham as we reported in 2009. According to unpublished GMBDW research:
The European Institute For Human Sciences (EIHS) was ostensibly founded to provide the Muslim community of Britain and Europe with a comprehensive Islamic education but is, in fact, is an institution closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the UK and globally. Founded with the help of groups tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB), the EIHS is an offshoot of the Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines (IESH) in France, with its own MB ties. Many of the individuals, organizations and companies identified in this report are also tied to the Brotherhood around the world. All of the known donors to the EIHS are also associated with the GMB as are its current physical locations. The EIHS functions as a recruitment, indoctrination, and/or cadre training organization for the MB in the UK and elsewhere.
Other issues raised by this research include:
- The EIHS suffers from a lack of transparency with respect to issues such as its financing although all of the suspected donors to EIHS were associated with the Union of Good, a worldwide coalition of Islamic charities headed by Qaradawi and designated by the US for helping raise funds for Hamas.
- Also unclear is what is being taught at the EIHS and none of its degrees or diplomas appear to be accredited by the UK government, However, the theological views of its leadership suggest those views are in line with the Islamic fundamentalism of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, four individuals associated with the EIHS, have been or are current members of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the theological body of the Global Muslim Brotherhood until recently headed by GMB leader Youssef Qaradawi.
- EIHS leader Ahmed Al-Rawi has drawn substantial media attention in relation to his statements supporting attacks on Coalition troops in Iraq and his other public statements support terrorism carried out in areas approved by the MB such as Iraq and Israel.
- The EIHS has displayed a substantial history of support for extremist individuals and groups including the promotion of individuals banned from entering various countries and/or associated with virulent anti-Semitism. Some of the organizations close to the EIHS have their own history of extremism involving, among other things, the hosting of numerous radical and extremist speakers. A preliminary analysis of 106 students who have graduated from the EIHS, indicates that at least 33 have evidence of making extremist statements and/or have Islamist/MB ties.
- The London branch of the EIHS is a mosque/cultural center with strong ties to the Islamic Online University (IOU), founded and run by extremist cleric Bilal Philips. The IOU is known for a US prison initiative disseminating virulent Salafi extremist literature in US prisons. This branch also has ties to the Islamic University of Minnesota, run by an individual who has used a Hadith in one of his sermons commonly espoused by Muslim terrorists to kill Jews and who has written that Muslims should place sharia law above “man-made” law. This individual also serves as an imam at a local mosque where at least five young men left the United States to fight with terrorist groups Al-Shabab and ISIS.
- A UK entity known as the Muath Trust has strong ties with the EIHS including two of its trustees who are also Muath leaders. The Muath Trust was established as the UK and overseas headquarters of the Yemeni Al-Islah Party, an entity representing the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi Sheikhs, and rural tribal forces. Both Muath and Islah have a history of extremism and support for terrorism, including links with Al Qaeda, and Al-Islah as well as one Muath trustee are both close to the Yemeni Charitable Society for Social Welfare with its own history of extremism and support for terrorism.
The issues above, and others, strongly suggest the UK authorities have good reason to be concerned about the EIHS in the UK but only time will tell if the UK branch will begin facing the same difficulties as its counterparts in France and Germany.