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.