‘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

‘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.


Bouteflika-era figure makes Algeria presidential run

Updated 23 October 2019

Bouteflika-era figure makes Algeria presidential run

  • The mass protest movement that forced Bouteflika’s resignation in April has rejected moves to hold the poll in December
  • “The most important thing for us is not to convince people to give their signature but to participate in this vote, which remains the only solution to this crisis,” Mihoubi said

ALGIERS: The head of an Algerian political party that was part of the ruling coalition under former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday became the first candidate to register for presidential polls.
Azzedine Mihoubi, leader of the Democratic National Rally party (RND), submitted his candidacy for the December 12 vote to the National Independent Elections Authority, recently formed to oversee the vote.
A minister of culture in three governments under Bouteflika from 2015 to 2019, Mihoubi assumed leadership of the RND in July after its former head was arrested in a corruption probe.
The mass protest movement that forced Bouteflika’s resignation in April has rejected moves, backed by the army, to hold the poll in December.
Activists are demanding sweeping reforms before any vote takes place, and say Bouteflika-era figures still in power must not use the presidential poll as an opportunity to appoint his successor.
Observers are predicting a weak turnout.
Mihoubi acknowledged the challenge in a statement as he submitted his candidacy along with the required 50,000 signatures endorsing him.
“The most important thing for us is not to convince people to give their signature but to participate in this vote, which remains the only solution to this crisis,” he said.
The Hirak protest movement was formed in February to demand that Bouteflika resign instead of running for a fifth term. It has demanded transitional institutions to replace Algeria’s entire system of government, in place since independence from France in 1962.
Authorities have rejected these demands, but protests continue.
Polls planned for July 4 were postponed due to a lack of viable candidates, plunging the country into a constitutional crisis, as interim president Abdelkader Bensalah’s mandate expired that month.
Bensalah, also an RND member, was speaker of the Upper House for 17 years under Bouteflika.
The RND was founded in 1997 and for 20 years was the main ally of Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN).
The RND supported Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth term, despite him suffering a debilitating stroke in 2013, but his candidacy prompted massive protests that led to his departure.
Until recently, the RND was led by Ahmed Ouyahia, an unpopular three time former prime minister under Bouteflika who was arrested in June in a graft investigation.
Mihoubi’s nomination prompted a flood of negative comments online.
Five other candidates have made appointments to submit their candidacy to the elections authority, spokesman Ali Draa told AFP.
Local media reports indicate that they include two former Bouteflika era prime ministers, Ali Benflis and Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
The deadline for submitting applications is Saturday at midnight (2300 GMT).