Former Al-Jazeera reporter Mohamed Fahmy warns of political Islam in France

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 18 Aug 2019

Fahmy, CEO of The Investigative Journal (TIJ), urged French President Macron to rid France of political Islamist institutions

Mohamed Fahmy
Mohamed Fahmy

Mohamed Fahmy, a former Al-Jazeera English journalist who was jailed in Egypt on terrorism charges in 2013, said in a statement on Sunday that political Islamist institutions in France are now operating like a Trojan horse, moving quickly and seriously to spread radical Islam in French cities, towns, and villages.

Fahmy's statement, released accompanying a report titled 'The Fight Against Islamist Radicalisation in France' in the London-based The Investigative Journal (TIJ), said the report aims to ring alarm bells about the proliferation of radical political Islamist movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, in France and the role they play in spreading extremist Islamist thoughts in France.

"The French government should wake up to the reality of what is going on inside French Islamic communities, since the radical Trojan horse has been able to infiltrate French villages, towns, and cities," said Fahmy.

"Unless French politicians, officials and legislators move very quickly, a new generation of home-grown terrorists will be able to commit new atrocities like the ones which shocked the world and broke the heart of the French people in the past few years."

Fahmy said that French President Emmanuel Macron should take the initiative himself to stem the tide of political Islamist movements in France.

"The report issued by the TIJ shows that the Muslim Brotherhood has gone a long way in radicalising French society and that President Macron should move to fight this radical Islam in France before it is too late," said Fahmy, adding that "President Macron should also move to disseminate France's modern and moderate version of Islam which helps Muslims integrate into French society and heals the wounds of the past."

"But the first step to meet this objective is to rid France of Muslim Brotherhood institutions and expel its leaders from the country," said Fahmy.

Fahmy said the TIJ report is based on varied and important sources and that it was prepared by an international journalist who has won media awards for his investigative reports.

The 21-page report was written by Taha Siddiqui, an award-winning Pakistani journalist who fled to Paris, France after narrowly escaping an armed abduction in January 2018. Siddiqui has reported for The New York Times, The Guardian, France 24, Al-Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph, Arte, among others, and won the Prix Albert Londres in 2014 for his documentary on polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the TIJ report, the Muslim Brotherhood, a political Islamist movement designated as a terrorist organisation in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, is heavily involved in using NGOs licensed by the French government as cover to spread their version of extremist Islam inside France.

"The London-based International Office of the Muslim Brotherhood provides generous financial assistance to different French NGOs, and helps the leaders of this group take control of these NGOs," said the report.

"Topping the list of these NGOs that have close links to the Muslim Brotherhood are the Union des Oranisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), Musulmans de France (MDF), and Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman (CFCM)," said the report, which also shows in detail how these NGOs have become the Muslim Brotherhood's arms in spreading radical Islam in France.

Siddiqui interviewed Mohamed Louizi, a former MDF associate who gives details on how the MDF is being used by the Muslim Brotherhood to spread its agenda of radical Islam in France.

Louizi believes that the organisations that have Brotherhood influence and similar radical ideologies include the grand mosques in Bordeaux, Mulhouse, Reims, Le Havre, Decines-Chrpieu, Grenoble and Marseille.

"They are everywhere in French towns and villages and are keen to spread their radical ideologies," said Louizi.

Zineb El-Rhazoui, a Moroccan-born advisor to President Macron on French Islamic organisations, also told Siddiqui that the Muslim Brotherhood is a major motivator of radical Islam in France and that they are operating through local affiliates including the MDF.

"Also in recent years, Turkey and Qatar have become two countries that are trying to get influence through different Islamic NGOs in France," said Siddiqui, adding that she and a team of volunteers have recently started collecting information on radical speeches by Islamic thinkers in France and are sharing this information with the government.

"There is a general agreement among French officials that Islamic organisations in France need to be closely monitored, especially when it comes to the ideology they espouse and the financial resources they receive," said El-Rhazoui.

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