Iranian Front Group Funds Institutions Across US

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (C) arrives at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport. (Photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro and Justin Charters, October 16, 2018:

The Alavi Foundation is an Iranian front group that funds mosques and educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

In 2009, federal prosecutors charged that the Alavi Foundation was a front group for the Iranian government and violated U.S. law by transferring rental income from its properties to Iran’s Bank Melli, which was sanctioned in 2007 for supporting the Iranian nuclear program.

Those properties included a 36-story office building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan worth $1 billion owned by the Alavi Foundation along with the Assa Corporation. Other properties included Islamic centers comprising schools and mosques in New York City, Maryland, California, Texas and Virginia.

A suit was later brought against the Alavi Foundation and the Assa Corporation by survivors of Iranian-regime terror attacks. In 2017, a New York court ruled the U.S. government could seize the Manhattan skyscraper  from the Alavi Foundation. (The court concluded the foundation knew and helped hide the fact that the Assa Corporation was also a front for the Iranian government.)

The decision was overturned by an appeal’s court later that year saying the buildings did not qualify as being owned by Iran under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: “Given the lack of evidence demonstrating Iran’s day-to-day control of Alavi, we conclude, as a matter of law, that defendants cannot be deemed Iran’s alter egos.”

The building on Fifth Avenue was built in the 1970s on land owned by the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit corporation formed in New York by then Iranian leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Pahlavi was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and the foundation morphed into the Alavi Foundation, which was tasked with promoting Shiite Islam and Persian culture and the Iranian regime in the U.S.

The Alavi Foundation continues to fund both Islamic and non-Islamic institutions across North America. Here are 10 Islamic groups in the U.S. the foundation has funded since 2014:

California

  • San Diego — the Farsi School received $13,800 in 2016
  • Carmichael — the Qoba Foundation received $5,000 in 2016. In addition, its website suggests Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi are top scholars.

New York

  • the Persian Society of New York received $5,000 in 2016
  • the Islamic Institute of New York received $20,000 in 2015
  • the Ahlul Bayt Mosque received $60,000 in 2016

Connecticut

  • the Jafria Association of Connecticut received 16,100 in 2015. In May of 2017, the association hosted an event with Sheik Jaffer Ladak, who (based on his Facebook likes) is a supporter of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Maryland

  • the Muslim Community School received $123,000.00 in 2014. Clarion Project previously reported that Sheik Jalil Nawee teaches Qu’ran classes there. Nawee’s daughter posted an image on Instagram in support of the Iranian-funded Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Michigan

  • the Islamic House of Wisdom received $3,000 in 2014. The imam there, Mohammad Elahi, has been seen in pictures with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Kansas

  • Az Zahra Center received $7,500 in 2015.

Location Unknown

  • the Imam Ali Foundation received $12,000 in 2016. Interestingly, the foundation supports Ayatollah Sistani, who is seen as the moderate among the marjas (the highest level Shiite authorities in the Middle East). Sistanti refused to meet with Khameini when asked to do so.

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Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Justen Charters is a research analyst with the Clarion Intelligence Network.

Lepanto, Tours, Columbus, and Vetting in the U.S. Government

Understanding the Threat, by John Gundadolo, October 8, 2018:

The Battles of Lepanto and Tours, Christopher Columbus, and America’s first war all have one thing in common – they all involved muslims waging jihad to enslave the entire world under Islam/sharia.

Yet, the U.S. government continues to give sharia-adherent muslims security clearances, positions in our government, and military training.

The Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571

On October 7, 1571, the naval forces of the Holy League met the Islamic Ottoman Turks in the Gulf of Corinth (Greece) and – after prayer by the entire Holy League and many churches around Europe – the Ottomans were defeated for the first time by Christian forces in a naval battle, now referred to as the Battle of Lepanto.

Read a more detailed account of the Battle of Lepanto by UTT here.

In the Battle of Tours (October 10, 732), Charles “The Hammer” Martel led the forces of Europe against the Islamic forces of the Umayyad Caliphate, and were victorious against the muslims.  This was a tremendous, and some say miraculous, victory for the Christian West against the Islamic forces.

On October 8th of each year America celebrates “Columbus Day.”

Christopher Columbus was commissioned by his queen in 1492 to discover new islands and lands.  Why in that year?

1492 was the year Spanish forces came down from the mountains of Spain, defeated the muslim forces, pushed them out, and took back their homeland which had been seized by muslims for approximately 780 years.

The first war America fought after the American Revolution was against muslims who seized U.S. ships on the high seas, captured Americans, and charged the United States great sums of money as tribute.

Specifically, President Thomas Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli in 1804 to defeat the muslims.   The English translation of the Koran Jefferson obtained encouraged readers to study it so the Islamic enemy could be understood and defeated in battle.

U.S. Marine Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon at Derna, Tripoli

Today, the government of the United States continues to employ sharia-adherent muslims in positions of authority inside our government, use them to advise U.S. officials on matters of national security, and allows hostile foreign powers to attend U.S. war colleges, military training programs, and much more.

Three examples:

  1. Abdurahman Alamoudi was the Islamic advisor the President Clinton and met with him more than any other muslim in America.  Alamoudi was a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the U.S. State Department and founded the Muslim Chaplain Program for the Department of Defense.  Alamoudi is now in federal prison and was an Al Qaeda financier.
  2. On 9/11/01, Suhail Khan was working inside the White House, and then became a close advisor to two successive Secretaries of Transportation with a clearance.  Khan is the son of one of the most prominent U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mahboob Khan.  Suhail Khan lauded his fathers efforts and was publicly praised by Al Qaeda financier Alamoudi.
  3. Gulmurod Khalimov participated in five (5) U.S. State Department training programs which included weapons and tactics training between 2003 and 2014.  During this time period, videos were available online where Khalimov – a jihadi commander in Tajikistan at the time – called for killing Americans.  Khalimov then became the “Minister of War for ISIS.”  The State Department defended their training of Khalimov by stating Khalimov had been appropriately vetted.

Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi with President Bill Clinton in the White House

All Islamic doctrine mandates warfare against non-muslims until the war is under Islamic rule.

All Islamic doctrine mandates that muslims lie to non-muslims if it advances Islam.

Previous generations of Patriots whose minds were not polluted by the inability to see good and evil could make clear-headed decisions about the true nature of Islam.

Pretending the wolf is a puppy, does not keep the wolf from eating you.

Islamic Movement in U.S. Preparing for Battle

Re-upping this important post from 2016. This  should make crystal clear why we  need to designate the Muslim Brotherhood in it’s entirety a foreign terrorist organization. The use of terrorist tactics by the Muslim Brotherhood is guided by the principle of gradualism laid out by Sayyid Qutb in his book, Milestones. When they feel that the time is right they have always resorted  to violence to gain power.

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 13, 2016:

For UTT followers who are accustomed to brief articles, this is a longer article because it needs to be.  This is an important topic and needs a little more attention.  Please read this carefully because the implications are significant.  JG

As UTT has continually reported, there exists in the United States a significant jihadi movement led primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood whose organizations include the most prominent and influential Islamic groups in America.

The Islamic Movement in the U.S. continues their daily work of preparing for the coming battle at all levels of the society.  From a military standpoint, the leaders of the American Muslim community are coalescing their forces and preparing strategically, operationally, and logistically for war.

Strategic Overlay

Going back to the early 1980’s, the jihadis set up an elaborate network of jihadi centers known in the U.S. as the Al Kifah Refugee Centers to recruit jihadis for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.  Some of these over three dozen offices were operated by only a couple jihadis with a phone or fax machine, and some had a more sizable presence in the community.  Nevertheless, they created nodes across the United States for jihadis in many American cities, and became centers for possible Al Qaeda recruitment in the future.

For the last few decades the Pakistani terrorist organization known as Jamaat al Fuqra has been establishing jihadi training camps in the United States primarily among black Muslims, many of whom were recruited in prison.  Known in the U.S. as “Muslims of America” or “MOA,” approximately two dozen of the three dozen known camps appear to be operational today.

In the early 1990’s the Chief Investigator for the state of Colorado, with support from the Governor and Attorney General, launched a multi-jurisdictional raid of an MOA compound near Buena Vista (CO) and discovered weapons, explosives, lists of people to be assassinated, evidence that military/national guard bases had been under surveillance, and the like.

In one of the gems discovered in the 2004 FBI raid of the Annandale, Virginia home of a senior Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas leader, a recording of a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader speaking to a group of Muslim Brothers in Missouri revealed the MB has numerous training camps inside America and conducted regular firearms training.

To be clear, they are not planning on conducting violent actions in the immediate future, but are planning for “Zero Hour” – their term for when the violent jihad will begin when the time is right.  They may wait until an outside influence from a foreign power or a major event initiates conflict, and then the Islamic Movement can begin the jihad and act independently or as an ally for a hostile foreign power such as Iran or China.

In the MB’s 5-Phase “World Underground Movement Plan” – discovered at the 2004 FBI raid in Annandale, Virginia – the Brotherhood states (Phase 2) they must “Establish a government (secret) within the government.”  The purpose of this is to have jihadis on the inside of our government who will serve as the leadership for the Islamic Movement when they seize power in the United States.  Until then, their role is to (1) gather intelligence and (2) conduct influence operations at all levels of the society, especially within the decision-making process.

As has previously been discussed, this is much more a counterintelligence and espionage issue than it is a “terrorism” matter.  The enemy is preparing the battlefield now for the eventual battle to come.

The U.S. Network

The evidence in the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history (US v Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Dallas 2008) reveals the most prominent Islamic organizations in the U.S. are a part of a massive jihadi network whose stated objective is to wage “Civilization Jihad” to destroy our system of government and establish an Islamic State (caliphate) under sharia here.  The evidence also reveals the Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Centers/Mosques are the places at which jihadi train for battle and from which the jihad will be launched.

All of the mosques our military entered during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and mosques that European authorities have raided in the last two years have had weapons in them.  The mosque is what Mohammad used a mosque for, and the launch point for jihad is one of those purposes.

There are over 2400 Islamic Centers/Mosques in America, most of which are a part of the MB’s jihadi network.

In the United States the “nucleus” for the Islamic Movement is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) whose subsidiary Islamic Societies number approximately 170.  The Muslim Students Associations (MSA) serve as a recruiting arm for jihadis, and there are over 700 chapters on nearly every major college campus in America.

Reports from around the country from civilian and law enforcement sources reveal:  Mosques and Islamic organizations are being built in strategic locations – near key infrastructure facilities, military bases, or some other key position in the community; taxi cab drivers at the largest airports in the U.S. are Muslim; and there is a noticeable increase in sharia-compliant Muslim TSA officers, baggage handlers and airline/airport employees at U.S. airports.

Additionally:  Muslims are purchasing hotels, quick marts, and 7-11 type stores with gas stations, and  a majority of major hotels in cities across the U.S. have a manager or assistant manager who is a Muslim, which is statistically impossible unless this activity is intentional.

Quick marts and gas stations provide their Movement with a logistics train that will be needed in a battle. Having people in leadership positions at major hotels in major cities, where law enforcement and intelligence groups and others hold conferences, serve as excellent intelligence gathering nodes.

Jihadis have penetrated U.S. federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies giving them access to sensitive intelligence systems, while simultaneously they have shut down real threat-based training inside these same agencies under the guise factual/truth-based training is “offensive to Muslims.”

Jihadis have themselves penetrated senior levels of the government (eg Suhail Khan working for two successive Secretaries of Transportation with access to classified critical infrastructure details), and have recruited senior U.S. government officials to promote and protect their interests which are hostile to the U.S. (most recent example – Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson promoting and defending leading MB organization ISNA and speaking at their annual convention expressly to open the door to more Cabinet officials to do the same).

Key jihadi organizations, like Hamas (doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations/CAIR) work on Capitol Hill and inside government agencies to keep truthful discussions about the Islamic threat from ever happening, while plotting to work with Al Qaeda (as evidenced by UTT’s Chris Gaubatz discovery of a CAIR document dated 3/08/04 at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. stating, “Attempt to understand Islamic movements in the area, and start supporting Islamic groups including Mr. bin Laden and his associates”).

Now, the U.S. government is bringing tens of thousands of sharia adherent Muslims into our nation.  From the Islamic perspective, these people are Muhajaroun – those who make the hijra into the non-Muslim lands in preparation for the “Final Stage,” which is armed conflict with the host country.  This is all a part of their strategy, and is consistent with core Islamic doctrine.

Finally, we are currently observing the Marxist/Socialist Movement in the U.S. working directly with the Islamic Movement at the ground and strategic levels.  Both have publicly declared their support for one another, they are both receiving funding from hard-left Marxists/socialists (eg George Soros) and foreign powers, and both are openly pushing for confrontation with and the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The Islamic Movement in the United States is deeply embedded in the U.S. decision-making process, has thousands of organizations and allies, possesses a logistics train of fuel and supplies, conducts weapons training programs, has access to U.S. intelligence systems, is well funded (primarily by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc), has strategic plans for North America (An Explanatory Memorandum) and has a plan to implement the strategy (Implementation Manual) which they are following.

The U.S. response is to say “Islam is a religion of peace” and work with the very Muslim leaders who are driving this hostile network.

Victory is not possible with this recipe.

Each year there are between 70 and 120 new Islamic non-profits being created in America, most of which appear to be working directly in line with the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to wage civilization jihad until “Zero Hour” when the war goes hot.

Until then, they continue to prep the battlefield because they are really at war with us because they are following sharia – core Islamic doctrine – as their blueprint for what they are doing.

****

EXCLUSIVE: Michigan Mosques Linked to Iranian Regime

An Iranian student shows her support for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime (Illustrative photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro and Alex Vanness, July 3, 2018:

The radical Shiite ideology of the Iranian regime is dying within Iran, as evidenced by the ongoing protests, but it is still being actively promoted by three mosques in Michigan. 

Dearborn: Karbala Islamic Education Center

In Dearborn, the Karbala Islamic Education Center is led by an imam who is openly supportive of the Iranian regime and the Hezbollah terrorist group it puppeteers to wage jihad on its enemies.

In April, Imam Husaham al-Hussainy was in Baghdad, Iraq, where he was a guest speaker for a crowd affiliated with the Iranian-backed militia Saraya Ashura. Iranian regime operatives have directly trained and armed many of its fighters. It has been described as the “military wing” of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a pro-Iran political party.

The militia threatened to attack U.S. personnel in Iraq in November 2017. One of the militia’s commanders declared that the U.S. “has become our direct enemy” and that its military must leave Iraq because “they have now become a target for our forces.”

In February, he posted a picture exalting the Supreme Leader of Iran, suggesting that the regime is somehow democratic and has popular support. In the post, Imam al-Hussainy praised the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the theocratic Iranian regime to power.

In 2007, Al-Hussainy was asked about his appearances at rallies that supported Hezbollah.

When asked in a television interview if he believed Hezbollah was a terrorist organization, he responded with “No.” He then expounded: “There is a biblical meaning of Hezbollah. It is in Judaism and Christianity and Islam meaning people of God.” At the end of the interview he stated, “You know what Hezbollah means. I support the people of God.”

Al-Hussainy has also promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

In 2015, the Karbalaa Center posted a video to their Facebook page featuring Imam al-Hussainy condemning Saudi attacks on Yemen, describing [in Arabic] Saudi actions as terrorism and claiming they are “Agents of the Jews.”

Nonetheless, Al-Hussainy has participated in interfaith events both nationally and throughout the city of Detroit.

Considered by many to be a respected voice within the Islamic community of Detroit, Imam al-Hussainy was even invited to provide the invocation to the Democratic National Committee’s Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. Last year, he was invited to speak at a memorial service to remember the victims of 9/11 with Detroit community leaders, despite having as history of problematic stances on terrorism.

When he spoke at the DNC Convention, he stirred up controversy for describing the United States as an occupying force.

The Karbala Islamic Center may also be influencing other mosques and congregations. It conducts activities with nearby organizations, including the Islamic Center of America and the Islamic Institute of Knowledge.

The population of Dearborn is about 40 percent Muslim, the majority of which are Shiite.

The Iranian regime, Hezbollah and their Shiite Islamist allies are building alliances in Dearborn that can threaten the U.S., expand their jihadist network and play upon sectarian identity to overpower moderate Shiite voices.

Walled Lake: Zainabia Center of Michigan

The Zainabia Center of Michigan, also known as the Ahlebait Association of Michigan, is a Shiite mosque located in Walled Lake.

The mosque posts messages from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, treating him as a respected religious authority who Muslims should listen to.

In 2014, the Zainabia Center had an extremist imam, Shaykh Usama Abdulghani, as a guest speaker. He was brought in to teach about the Quran.

In 2017, Abdulghani provided a voiceover for a video describing ISIS as a plot of Israel and the West. It referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei as “the Leader.”

While showing Hezbollah terrorists marching, the video threatened the West, saying it had “united the believers” and “led to people being trained” who are “ready to rock and roll.”

The mosque also held a candlelight vigil and protest in solidarity with a Shiite leader in Pakistan named Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffri.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, met with Jaffri in 2012. Nasrallah praised Jaffri and called on Shiites and Sunnis in Pakistan to unite against U.S. influence in their country, similar to how Hezbollah fought the Israelis in Lebanon. Nasrallah claimed that Jaffri’s organization informed him that they have the same goals.

Another radical speaker that the Zainabia Center has given a platform to is Shaykh Ahmed Haneef, who preached there in 2009.

Haneef spoke at the “Imam Khomeini Conference” in England in 2013. He often appears on the Iranian regime’s propaganda television network. In one episode, he and his guest claimed anti-Semitism is not real. His guest railed against “Jewish hegemony.”

The mosque hosted Dawud Walid, the leader of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the Justice Department has identified as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood’s pro-Hamas network in America.

Walid provided updates in 2010 about the death of the radical Imam Luqmaan Abdullah from Detroit, who was killed during an FBI raid where he and his extremist colleagues opened fire on the agents and killed one of the agents’ dogs.

Abdullah was part of an anti-American extremist group named Ummah that prepared for violent jihad against the U.S. government. CAIR and other Islamists have consistently portrayed the imam as an innocent Muslim who was murdered by bigoted FBI agents.

Dearborn Heights: Islamic House of Wisdom

In 2013, the Clarion Project published our analysis of grants distributed by the Alavi Foundation, a known front for the Iranian regime that was used to finance its nuclear program and promote its radical ideology.

The Washington Post, in 2009, reported U.S. officials’ claims that the Alavi Foundation “promotes Tehran’s views on world affairs.” Hamid Azimi, communications director for the Iranian-American Community of Northern California, says the foundation is part of the regime’s “propaganda machine.”

The Alavi Foundation’s publicly-available declarations showed that it sent $43,700 to the Islamic House of Wisdom between 2004 and 2009.

You can see why the Iranian regime front felt that the Islamic House of Wisdom is worthy of its investment. The mosque’s website teaches about jihad by referencing Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic regime, giving him the respected title of “imam.”

The spiritual leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom is Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi. According to his bio, he began studying at an Islamic seminary in Iran at age 12. He was arrested by the shah of Iran’s security services in 1978. After the Islamic Revolution brought the theocratic regime to power, it appointed him as “an Islamic ethics teacher at the Iranian Naval Academy, a position he held for five years.”

In 1988, he founded the Cultural Research Center in Tehran, “which focused on the Iranian sacrificial motivation to defend Iran for eight years against Saddam Hussein’s aggression.”

In other words, the regime allowed him—and probably helped him—to idolize “martyrs” who die fighting for the country. One former CIA case officer described this culture as a “fraternity of death” where “many of these folks lived to die.”

The “sacrificial motivation” during the Iran-Iraq War included human waves with many child soldiers. The children were even given keys before battle to symbolize how their deaths in jihad would earn them entry into paradise. Young boys were roped together to prevent any from retreating as they threw their bodies into minefields to clear the way for the military.

He moved to Dearborn in 1992, leading the Islamic Center of America, another mosque in Michigan that has been supportive of Hezbollah figures and Louis Farrakhan in recent years. Imam Elahi then established the Islamic House of Wisdom in 1995.

Elahi appears on Iranian state-controlled propaganda TV to parrot the Supreme Leader’s lines, such as claiming that Iran is being falsely accused of seeking nuclear weapons.

He equates Israel and ISIS and instigates terrorism against Israel with inflammatory condemnations and accusations that any trusting listener would interpret as warranting jihad. His statements do not condemn Hamas and its terrorism but instead paint the group essentially as freedom-fighters engaged in legitimate jihad.

Elahi’s preaching sides with the Syrian regime and its Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian backers, as seen in his outrage over the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey. His statement accused Assad’s opponents of being “puppet terrorists” of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion

Videos are being published on the Internet every few hours showing Iranians protesting the regime. These demonstrators have seen the results of the Iranian regime’s theocratic Islamic Revolution and are rejecting it.

Yet, while these Iranians strive for international recognition and support, Shiite Muslims in America are failing to rally to their side. Why?

Our findings regarding the above three mosques provide part of the answer.

The Iranian regime and Shiite Islamists are controlling the platforms necessary to rally support for a cause. As a result, these Iranian protestors—most of them Shiite—are abandoned by the Shiite Islamist leaders in America.

Switzerland Welcomes Radicalization

Gatestone Institute, by Judith Bergman, 

  • There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.
  • The Muslim World League is behind “a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland… with the clear intention of spreading Salafist thought here”. — Saïda Keller-Messahli, expert on Islam in Switzerland.
  • Above all, the Swiss government seems not to have considered the rights of Swiss non-Muslim citizens, who are the ones left to live with the consequences of the government’s ill-thought-out policies.

Switzerland has just rejected a proposed law preventing mosques from accepting money from abroad, and compelling them to declare where their financial backing comes from and for what purpose the money will be used. According to the proposal, imams also would have been obliged to preach in one of the Swiss national languages.

While the proposal narrowly passed in the lower house of parliament already in September 2017, the upper house recently rejected it. The proposal was modeled on regulations in Austria, where already in 2015, a law banning foreign funding of religious groups was passed. The Austrian law aims to counter extremism by requiring imams to speak German, prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria, and stressing the precedence of Austrian law over Islamic sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Federal Council, which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland, was also against the proposal, and claimed that it constituted ‘discrimination’: “We must not discriminate against Muslim communities and imams and put them under general suspicion,” Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said. The Federal Council noted that in Austria, Islam is officially recognized, whereas it is not in Switzerland. According to the Swiss government, therefore, the model applied in Austria does not apply to Switzerland, as “One cannot demand obligations without rights”. Instead, the Federal Council evidently believes that the risks posed by extremist Islamist preachers and communities can be combated within existing law.

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. The authorities have no jurisdiction to collect data on the financing of Muslim associations and mosques apart from exceptional cases in which internal security is threatened. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Several experts have pointed out the foreign Muslim networks at work in Switzerland. In 2016, Reinhard Schulze, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bern, pointed out that donations from the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, and other funds from Saudi Arabia were flowing to “those mosques and organizations that are open to the Wahhabi tradition”. Another expert on Islam in Switzerland, Saïda Keller-Messahli, has spoken and writtenwidely on how “Huge sums of money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are flowing to Switzerland”, and how the Saudi-based Muslim World League is behind “a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland… with the clear intention of spreading Salafist thought here”.

In addition to the Salafist influence, there are an estimated 35 Turkish mosques, financed by Turkey’s official Religious Affairs Directorate, known as Diyanet. (Previous reports have mentioned 70 Turkish mosques in Switzerland).

According to a report published by Diyanet in 2017, Islam is “superior” to Christianity and Judaism and “Interfaith dialogue is unacceptable”. Turkey supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist off-shoot Hamas.

In fact, the building of another Turkish mosque was just given the go-ahead in the Swiss town Schaffhausen. The people behind it reportedly claim that the 1.5 million Swiss francs (approx. $1.5 million) will be collected locally, and not from Turkey, but the imams for the mosque will nevertheless be sent from Turkey.

None of these facts, however, appears to bother the Swiss government, which seems to want to continue the flow of foreign funding of mosques and Islamic centers into the country.

Above all, the Swiss government seems not to have considered the rights of Swiss non-Muslim citizens, who are the ones left to live with the consequences of the government’s ill-thought-out policies.

One such consequence was recently on display in Swiss courts, as three board members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ISSC) were on trial for charges of having produced illegal propaganda for al-Qaeda and related organizations. One of them, Naim Cherni, was given a suspended prison sentence of 20 months for publishing an interview he conducted with Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini in Syria in 2015, in which al-Muhaysini called on young Muslims in Europe to join the jihad. The two other board members, chairman Nicolas Blancho and Qaasim Illi, were acquitted.

In contrast to Switzerland, Austria recently announced plans to shut down seven mosques and expelling up to 60 imams belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), a Muslim group close to the Turkish government, on the grounds of receiving foreign funding.

The response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman was that the policy was part of an “Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave” in Austria.

The strong message that the Swiss government is sending to those Muslim states and organizations that are fueling radicalization in Switzerland by funding Salafist, Turkish and other radical mosques, is that they are welcome to continue doing so; the Swiss government has no intention of stopping them, let alone asking any unpleasant questions. It might as well put up a sign, saying, “Radicalization Welcome”.

(Switzerland photo by Monk/Wikimedia Commons)

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

Erdogan Predicts ‘War Between the Cross and Crescent’ over Austria Mosque Closures

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty

Breitbart, by Simon Kent, June 10, 2018:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked Austria’s impending closure of mosques and consequent expulsion of Turkish-funded imams, saying the move is anti-Islamic while promising a response.

“These measures taken by the Austrian prime minister are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul covered by AFP.

Austria’s populist government made the announcement on Friday morning at a press conference as part of the governing coalition’s campaign against radical Islamic ideology and the influence of countries like Turkey in the Austrian Islamic community, Kronen Zeitung reports.

Media reports that between 40 and 60 imams, including their families, could be expelled in total. The imams all stand accused of receiving funding from abroad. Official investigations have been launched in 11 cases. Two of the imams had already been denied extensions to their residency permits.

Among the mosques facing closure is the Mosque of the Grey Wolves on Antonsplatz, in the working-class Vienna district of Favoriten, where the Gallipoli reenactment took place.

The other six mosques are in Vienna, Upper Austria and Carinthia, in all of which hardline salafist teachings are said to be widespread.

Mr. Erdogan, speaking Saturday, said: “They say they’re going to kick our religious men out of Austria. Do you think we will not react if you do such a thing?”

“That means we’re going to have to do something,” he added without elaborating.

Around 360,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, including 117,000 Turkish nationals.

Relations between Ankara and Vienna have been strained since a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016 which was followed by a wave of arrests. Mr. Erdogan’s speech precedes presidential and legislative elections on June 24 in which he faces stiff opposition.

During last year’s Turkish referendum on expanding the president’s powers, tensions ran high between Vienna and Ankara after Austria said it would not allow campaign-related events.

The new policy comes after a number of scandals involving mosques in Austria, including one in which Islamists were plotting to overthrow the government to replace it with an Islamic caliphate. The ATIB association came under fire last week when a Turkish mosque posted images of young children swearing oaths to the Turkish state.

Austria to close 7 mosques, expel foreign-funded imams in crackdown on political Islam

Mosque in Vienna – Photo Credits: Stefan Rotter / Shutterstock.com

Voice of Europe, June  8, 2018:

Austria’s government said on Friday, that the country plans to shut down 7 mosques and expel up to 60 imams, newspaper Kronen reports. 

Foreign-funded imams and mosques promoting political Islam are main targets of the measures. They will be mostly conducted against mosques and imams controlled by Turkey.

“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures – the pool that we’re talking about – comprises around 60 imams,” Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said.

A research into a mosque controlled by the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB), showed earlier how young boys played soldiers and re-enacted the World War I battle of Gallipoli. As they died for their country, their “corpses” were then lined up and draped in Turkish flags.

Austria’s Chanchellor, Sebastian Kurz, vowed that “parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation have no place in our country”.

Turkey called Austria’s decision an “racist move” which is anti-Islam. The presidential spokesman of the country, Ibrahim Kalin, said:

“Austria’s decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country.”