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Austria becomes first European country to ban Muslim Brotherhood

A few days ago, the Austrian Parliament voted a law aimed at banning, purely and simply, the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood on its territory, a first in Europe.

Published: July 13, 2021, 1:22 pm

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    Vienna

    The recent ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in Austria, passed by the Parliament of Vienna on July 8, is the result of an in-depth scrutiny of the passage of secret funds of the international Islamist organization to Austria as well as a more recent investigation, which began on November 2, 2020, following an attack that killed four people in the streets of Vienna.

    Since the 1960s, the Muslim Brotherhood has indeed been very established in Austria, where the organization’s financier had set up dairy factories, allowing it to build “an industrial empire” using the organization’s secret funds. In the province of Styria and in the city of Graz, the Brothers have therefore for many years had an important associative and political network. In 2017, they moved their secret funds from the UK to Austria, following pressure from former US President Donald Trump. Fortunately, the massive capital transfers between London and Graz did not escape the Austrian authorities.

    The Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Styria had launched a huge investigation called “Operation Luxor”. Over two years, 21 000 hours of telephone conversations were recorded, and more than a million images were taken. The work of the investigators made it possible to draw up the list of more than seventy personalities suspected of “links with a terrorist organization”.

    About sixty organizations, such as associations, mosques or businesses were also listed. All these people were arrested during a roundup on November 3, 2020, the day after the Vienna attack. It is therefore the combination of both these endeavours – the arrival of Islamist funds in Austria and the jihadist attack – which led the Austrian parliamentarians to pronounce this ban.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is now on the Austrian blacklist of organizations linked to “religious crimes”. The possession and dissemination of texts or objects related to the association is also punishable by a fine of 4000 euros and one month in prison. Notable anecdote: as soon as this decision was announced, all the websites linked to the organization immediately launched a campaign to accuse the government… of Islamophobia.

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