Hugh Fitzgerald: Tariq Ramadan, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood

Saturday, April 20, 2019
By Paul Martin

BY HUGH FITZGERALD
JIHADWATCH.ORG
APR 20, 2019

Two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, have come out with a new study of how Qatar spends hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for projects in Western Europe connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Details of the lavish payments made by Qatar to Muslim Brotherhood organisations in Europe, including furnishing funds the academic Tariq Ramadan has used for legal fees to fight rape allegations, have emerged in a new book.

Qatar Papers – How the emirate finances Islam in France and Europe, publishes evidence that cheques and money transfers from Qatar have been used to underwrite more than 140 projects around Europe, where the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to expand its influence.

The book also documents payments of €72 million (Dh296m) to groups in seven European countries. In just one region of France, the payments have totalled €4.6m, including €3m for the Averroes de Lille high school. Several staff at the school were linked to Muslim community bodies that also attracted Qatari support.”

Just as Saudi Arabia is the chief financier of Salafists worldwide, Qatar has become the main bankroller of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. It supports everything from Muslim high schools (e.g., Averroes de Lille), to mosques and madrasas, Islamic centers, campaigns of propaganda and outreach connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, including support for imams who are ideologically on the same wavelength. One prominent Muslim academic, Tariq Ramadan, has also received huge financial support that was kept secret. The main surprise is how enormous, and widespread, Qatar’s financial support for the Muslim Brotherhood has apparently been.

“According to the book, Mr Ramadan was paid €35,000 [$40,000] a month as a consultant to the Qatar Foundation, a body set up by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the wife of the last emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Just before his arrest early last year that saw Mr Ramadan under criminal investigation, bank documents show that he withdrew €590,000 [$663,00] from Qatari bank accounts.

The authors point out that Mr Ramadan and his wife bought two apartments in prestigious areas of Paris in the same year.

Before all those unpleasant charges were made against him by various women, in both France (two Muslim women accused him of rape with extreme violence) and Switzerland (four women who accused him of committing sexual assaults when they were his students in high school), Tariq Ramadan had been the Islamic world’s golden boy. He was once hailed as a “towering intellect” and a “leading Islamic scholar.” In 2000, TIME called Tariq Ramadan “one of the seven most important religious innovators” of the 21st century; in 2004, TIME named Ramadan as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” In Internet polls, Foreign Policy magazine listed Ramadan as one of the “100 top global thinkers” in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012.

Ramadan has always presented himself as a brave would-be reformer of Islam, an independent intellectual beholden to no one. Many knew he held a professorship at Oxford; few were aware that his professorship was paid for by the government of Qatar. And until this book by Chesnot and Malbrunot appeared, no one knew of the additional huge sums that Tariq Ramadan has been receiving from Qatar. It turns out that since Ramadan’s legal troubles began, he has been receiving $40,000 a month directly from Qatar. In addition, though he has been “on leave” from Oxford since November 2017, he has continued to receive his full salary from the university, which salary comes from funds supplied by Qatar. Finally, aside from his Oxford salary, and the $40,000 he receives each month directly from Qatari sources — sums which pay for many things, including the best legal counsel money can buy — he withdrew from Qatari bank accounts (where did this money come from?) the impressive sum of $663,000, which was apparently then used to help pay for two apartments, one for Ramadan and one for his wife, in an expensive neighborhood of Paris. With an annual income of more than half a million dollars, Tariq Ramadan is not exactly suffering.

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