Based in Dublin, this organisation is the Muslim Brotherhood’s boldest attempt to spread its radical interpretation of Islamic law in Europe
The Islamic Cultural Centre is set in a leafy part of Dublin: the French and German schools are not far away, and students could walk through a park to the university library. Set back from the road, a minnet peaks out above the trees. The Irish flag waves by the gate, right next to a sign “all are welcome”.
By all accounts, these are signs of a good neighbour. One resident in the sizeable compound may, however, have work on its image: the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) is also based here. Established in 1997 by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the Muslim Brotherhood’s main European organisation, it constitutes of self-selected clerics and scholars from across Europe. A project in inclusion it is not, for the ECFR has since its inception been chaired by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prolific Egypt-born cleric and TV star who resides in Qatar and supports terrorism. The organisation exists to promote his radical idea of Islamic jurisprudence.
The evidence for al-Qaradawi’s radical doctrine is substantial. The coordinator of the Italian National Commission on Jihadist Radicalization, Dr Lorenzo Vidino, says: “With the ECFR, the Muslim Brotherhood is taking its first, cautious steps towards Qaradawi’s final goal: the introduction of sharia law within Muslim communities of Europe.”
Al-Qaradawi, and his Muslim Brothers, are content with – even striving for – the emergence of Muslim ghettos within European society, with their own laws. There exists no interest in integrating into their host nations’ life, for the Muslim Brothers.
The Brothers have been busy expanding their secretive network in Europe since the 1950s. Many moved to West Germany, where they had links established by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, who helped the Nazis with their anti-Jewish propaganda.
And Al-Qaradawi is one of the most influential and senior members of the Brotherhood, which has close links to Al-Qaida. Former FBI official Matthew Levitt called him “one of the most public figureheads of the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
There is plenty of evidence to support Levitt’s characterisation:
- Al-Qaradawi is on the record saying “women can be guilty of provoking a sexual attack if their dress or behaviour arouses a man”.
- He chaired Union of Good, a charity umbrella organisation that has been listed by the UK and US as a terrorist organisation.
- The ECFR in 2003 issued a fatwa supporting suicide bombing against coalition forces in Iraq as well as against Israelis.
Among its members are also some of the most prominent Brothers worldwide, such as former Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric, former FIOE president of Ahmed Al-Rawi and Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannoushi.
In January 2017, the European Commission heard a motion to end ties with FIOE and the Federation of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), which has been described as the Brothers’ main recruitment tool for young members while hiding until a mantle of “fighting islamophobia”.
Back in Dublin at the ECFR headquarters, al-Qaradawi’s radical disciples freely continue their dangerous enterprise across Europe: spreading gate, antisemitism and eventually preparing the ground for new terror attacks.