In interview with French magazine, Le Spectacle du Monde Ali: Brotherhood finds safe incubator in Europe
Group creates important position for itself by penetrating European institutions, parties
It still follows the same approach to control the economic, social and political joints of the old continent
Since the 1940s, the group has been working to transform the continent into a safe centre where it can work according to the new vision after turning from a hierarchical organization to an octopus network that cannot be eliminated or destroyed
The prestigious French political magazine, Le Spectacle du Monde has interviewed journalist Abdelrahim Ali about the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.
The magazine specified five pages, from page 67 to page71, for the interview which was conducted on the part of the magazine by veteran journalist, Antoine Colonna who is the editor-in-chief of the magazine.
In this interview, Ali continues to sound the alarm that Europe does not want to pay attention to.
He says the Muslim Brotherhood gnaws at the body of the European continent by penetrating its economic, social and political institutions through a series of hidden methods.
The interview was published the interview in French.
Ali, the director of the Centre for Middle East Studies in Paris (CEMO), and a former member of the Egyptian parliament, once again sounds the alarm over Brotherhood incursions into French and European institutions in general.
Here is the text of the interview:
Sir, can we classify the Muslim Brotherhood as the main structure of political Islam penetration into Europe?
- Of course, the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is the body that started the idea of Islamist incursion into Europe, since the 1950s. In my view, that period was the beginning of the transition inside the Brotherhood from the hierarchical system into the network system. This happened when the organization received its first blow, specifically in 1948 at the hands of the government of Ibrahim Pasha Abdel Hadi, the leader of the Constitutional Liberals Party in Egypt, in retaliation for the assassination of then-prime minister and party leader, Mahmud Fahmy al-Noqrashi. A short time before his assassination, al-Noqrashi took a decision to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood.
Those events ended with the death of the group's founder and general guide, Hassan al-Banna, in February 1949. They were the beginning of the group's move to Europe and incursion into the continent, starting from West Germany, which welcomed the presence of its members in response to the decision by then-Egyptian revolutionary leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, to recognize East Germany.
From Germany, the Brotherhood began to move to other countries, including Switzerland, Britain, and France. It succeeded in spreading out through the whole of Europe.
Of course, the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood was followed by other organizations, including the Turkish political movement, Millî Görüş. However, the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood remains the most invasive, the strongest and the most dangerous for the future of the continent.
You have decided to come to France and an important part of your work at the Centre for Middle East Studies is to warn the public against the Muslim Brotherhood undermining life in Europe. Do you think that French politicians work in the same way, especially with some elected politicians in Europe cooperating with these groups?
- I think the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood follows in France the same approach that it has followed in all other European countries. It tries to coordinate with the forces of the Left and the Greens by introducing itself to them as an organization that fights for freedom and that it is oppressed in its native country. Some of these forces get convinced by that tone, while others build their convictions on other things, such as material benefit, for example, which we have seen as an irrefutable fact in front of us in the scandal of the European Parliament. I have emphasized those meanings at more than one conference inside the French Senate, at the Press Club in Paris, Munich, Geneva and a number of other seminars for the entire seven years since the founding of CEMO in March 2017.
Do you have specific examples?
- I cannot give clear and specific examples, but researching the biography of some heads of government and ministers in France shows that some of them worked after the end of their terms as lawyers and lecturers in some countries, getting salaries beyond their imagination. Some great writers wrote books to criticise some states and then wrote in praise of a small emirate, which in their point of view became a model in the heart of the Gulf of what they called 'progress' and 'democracy'. This is a bit funny, if we examine the reality of the situation there.
What are the main goals of the Brotherhood, especially in Europe?
- The Brotherhood's main goal since its first members landed in Europe is to turn the continent into a safe centre for new Brotherhood work, according to the new vision that transformed the group from a hierarchical organization to an octopus-like network that cannot be eliminated. This network aims to ensure that the organization will withstand any attempts to destroy it and absorb the lessons of Ibrahim Abdel Hadi in Egypt in 1948, Abdel Nasser in 1954 and Hafez al-Assad in Syria in 1982, along with all other attempts by Arab rulers to annihilate it. Sorry to say, all these attempts ended in failure because the organization has succeeded in finding a safe incubator that guarantees its survival for life, namely the European continent.
Through the strategy of penetrating institutions, parties, companies, associations and alliances, the group was able to create for itself an important position in Europe and is still following the same approach to control all the economic, social and political joints of the old continent.
Can you remind us of the origins of the founding of the Brotherhood? A certain number of researchers point to the role of the British intelligence in its establishment.
- The Brotherhood was founded in 1928, following the collapse of the caliphate system in Turkey at the hands of Ataturk. At that time, Britain lost Turkey's caliph who controlled all Arab and Islamic countries under his rule. Britain benefited from this situation by dealings with one man only. When nation-state founding signs emerged, the Balfour Declaration made and the Sykes-Picot Treaty was signed, dividing borders between the countries that were under the Ottoman caliphate, the need arose to replace the caliphate with a group that could penetrate Arab and Islamic countries by exploiting religion, one that can give Britain the chance to control these countries once more.
Indeed, the idea of the Brotherhood was a simple one that brought together six people with simple professions under the leadership of a teacher who graduated from the Teachers' School, Hassan al-Banna. Al-Banna was received by London and given through the Suez Canal Company an amount of 500 pounds, a very large sum by the standards of that time in the 1940s, to buy the first headquarters of the group in Ismailia, one of the cities of the Suez Canal.
Do these links still exist?
- Of course, these are the most important links in the European region. It is enough to demonstrate this by what Britain is doing to protect the Brotherhood and the desperate attempts by its leaders to push the Egyptian regime to make peace with the group.
So it is no coincidence that Ibrahim Munir, one of the group's main leaders, remained in London until his death?
- Of course. Ibrahim Mounir lived in London until his death in November 2022. The problem is not with London's embrace of Ibrahim Munir in the past or of the channels of the Brotherhood, its companies and associations. The problem is with the way London uses the group to pass its agenda around the world. We explained this story at length. I will talk about it in my next book.
As a former Egyptian MP, you may still have access to classified information. What can you tell us about the current financing of the Brotherhood?
- The sources of financing of the Brotherhood are divided into two types:
The first is self-directed and is done by paying contributions by each member of the group as well as its employees in all countries, especially the Gulf countries, where those contributions are estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
Second, external financing and this is divided into two parts:
1 - Donations are made through people, such as princes, businessmen, and also some countries.
2 – Investments and these are numerous and extended within the Arab world, the Islamic world, Europe, North and South America. We are talking about a sprawling octopus that extends from supermarkets to multinational companies to offshore companies to associations to the drug trade in Latin America.
In sum, the funds and the investments of the Brotherhood and its income from halal trade, Hajj and Umrah, donations and the construction of mosques, schools and associations reached over $200 billion. This money is distributed to more than one capital through an octopus-like series of networks linked to each other by a secret bond, clothed and protected by relations of descent, marriage and participation.
The Brotherhood retains real links with terrorist groups. Did it ever try to assassinate President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the past?
- The Brotherhood's connection with terrorism has not been interrupted for a single moment, if we consider that terrorism is not only the seizure of weapons and carrying out of murders, assassinations and bombings. It is also about the real preparation for these operations through ideas that justify, authorize, support and defend them. This is the serious issue that must be paid attention to, as we address the issue of the Brotherhood's relations with terrorism.
This is not to mention, of course, its relations with organizations, such as al-Qaeda and even ISIS. These links seem invisible, but research and scrutiny reveal the continuity and overlap of the threads, as well as the links that connect them to each other. This is also a broad issue, but we have researched it in a chapter entitled 'Brotherhood and Terrorism Issues', which was published as part of the book Demonic Thoughts, published by L'Harmattan publishing house in France.
After the revolutions of the Arab Spring, the Brotherhood undoubtedly reached its peak. What did it leave today or what is it doing today?
- The Brotherhood no longer has any influence inside the Arab world, especially Egypt, but optimism disappears when we know that this was done in large part through a firm security grip, and perhaps if it relaxed a little, we would see the group again in all the capitals of the Arab world, in addition to its intensive presence in Europe, despite the collapse of its project in its native country. This confirms my warnings about the dangers the group poses to European values and human values, in general, and the need for serious solidarity to address it and its ideas.