‘Qatar Papers’ book reveals Doha’s lavish funding for Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

The book publishes evidence of cheque and money transfers from Qatar that have been used to underwrite Brotherhood-linked projects around Europe. (Supplied)
Updated 18 April 2019
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‘Qatar Papers’ book reveals Doha’s lavish funding for Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

  • The book’s introduction says it unveils 140 documents “for the first time” that detail Qatar's funding of Brotherhood-linked figures, entities
  • It documents payments of €72 million ($80.8 million) to Brotherhood groups that are active in seven European countries

LONDON: A book recently published by two French journalists claims to reveal the details of lavish payments made by Qatar to Muslim Brotherhood organizations across Europe.

The 295-page book titled “Qatar Papers - How the State Finances Islam in France and Europe” is reportedly based on official documents and testimonies that shed light on Doha’s extensive funding to promote the Brotherhood’s ideology on the continent. 

Written by French investigative reporters Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, the book publishes evidence of cheque and money transfers from Qatar that have been used to underwrite Brotherhood-linked projects around Europe.

The book’s introduction says it unveils 140 documents “for the first time” that detail Qatar's funding of dozens of mosques and Islamic societies to promote the influence of the Brotherhood in European countries like France and Switzerland — documenting payments of €72 million ($80.8 million) to Brotherhood groups that are active in seven European countries. 

In France, the focus was on the northern city of Lille and the south-west city of Bordeaux. The documents reveal that a state-run Qatar charity funded several Islamic centers and schools in those regions.

It also shed light on the case of controversial Islamist thinker Tariq Ramadan, mentioning Qatari funds used for legal fees to fight rape allegations against him. The well-known Brotherhood figure, who spent eight months in jail over rape allegations, is cited in the book to have received €35,000 a month from the Qatar Foundation. 

Just before his arrest early last year, bank documents show that Ramadan withdrew €590,000 from Qatari bank accounts.

The book also reveals that institutions such as Mucivi and Le Musée des Civilisations de l’Islam — a museum in Geneva that displays Brotherhood propaganda — were financed by Qatar. It said the body has received CHF1.4 million ($1.5 million) in funding from Qatar. 

The book also cites documents found in the house of Youssef Nada, a former prominent Brotherhood leader, revealing his intention to set out a strategy for using mayors and other local bodies as tools of influence to promote the group’s ideology. 

The book also highlighted French intelligence warnings about Qatari support for the L'Union des Organisations Islamiques de France, an umbrella body in France.


Palestinian Authority unsustainable if Netanyahu wins election, says chief negotiator

Updated 07 April 2019
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Palestinian Authority unsustainable if Netanyahu wins election, says chief negotiator

  • Saeb Erekat says authority ‘may have to make a disappearing act’
  • Debate comes a day after Israeli PM pledged to annex settlements in occupied West Bank

DEAD SEA, Jordan: The Palestinian Authority “may have to make a disappearing act” if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins the upcoming election, a chief negotiator has warned. 

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan that the authority “cannot be sustained” if Netanyahu wins.

“The Palestinian Authority may have to (make) a disappearing act — it cannot be sustained,” he said.

“Netanyahu … wants a Palestinian Authority but without any authorities. Secondly, he wants a cost-free occupation, whereby today if you say something about settlements, or human-rights violations, or war crimes, or apartheid, you become anti-semite.

“Anti-semitism is evil, really. Anti-occupation is noble. And the mere fact that there are forces trying to say to anyone who criticises settlements that you’re anti-semitic, that’s very dangerous.”

Erekat said that the Trump administration, which is drawing up a peace plan for the Israel-Palestine conflict, was not seen as a partner by the Palestinian side. 

The administration has “disqualified themselves from any role in the peace process whatsoever,” he said.

Michael Herzog, international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the WEF panel that he did not have high expectations for the US peace plan. 

“I do not hold my breath … I don’t think this plan, whatever is in it, will introduce a breakthrough,” he said.

Other speakers at the WEF panel included Terje Roed-Larsen, president of the International Peace Institute (IPI), and Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation.

The debate took place a day after Netanyahu pledged to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins this week's election.

Settlements built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War are deemed illegal by the international community and their ongoing construction is seen as a major barrier to peace.

Annexation could prove to be the death knell for the two-state solution.

Erekat said earlier that Netanyahu’s statement on annexation was “not surprising.”

“Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration’s support,” he wrote on Twitter.