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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Dutch Security Service warns against Muslim Brotherhood's clandestine infiltration tactics

Dutch Security Service warns against Muslim Brotherhood's clandestine infiltration tactics

December 19, 2007

By Emerson Vermaat

In two topical reports the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service AIVD issued a strong warning against the Muslim Brotherhood's tactics of clandestine infiltration. The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Muslim groups or movements focus on "Dawa," defined by the AIVD as "the propagation of radical Islamic ideology," or the "re-Islamization of Muslim minorities in the West." The term "Dawa" literally means "appeal" (to become a Muslim). In achieving its objectives the Muslim Brotherhood actively follows a strategy of covertly infiltrating social, political and educational institutions as well as local administrations, says the AIVD report From Dawa to Jihad:

"Radical branches of the Muslim Brotherhood employ covert Dawa strategies. Rather than confronting the state power with direct violence, this strategy seeks to gradually undermine it by infiltrating and eventually taking over the civil services, the judicature, schools, local administrations, et cetera.

Apart from clandestine infiltration, covert Dawa may also be aimed at inciting Muslim minorities to civil disobedience, promoting parallel power structures or even inciting Muslim masses to a revolt."

"In the Netherlands some forms of covert Dawa, aiming at a clandestine infiltration of political and social institutions, are also conceivable, for example, attempts to infiltrate community-based organizations with the aim of mobilizing them (thus obstructing the proper functioning of ‘civil society'). But in the long run, more serious forms of such covert subversion are conceivable, for example attempts by radical Islamic organizations to infiltrate local administration, the judicature, et cetera whilst conceiling their actual objectives and loyalties.

Although such activties are carried out within the boundaries of what can be considered tolerable within a healthy democracy, the effects are undesirable. Hence the above described activities may be qualified a somewhat threatening."

Muslim Brotherhood operatives sometimes use front organizations to conceal their activities. The German Security Service BfV links the "Europe Trust" in Birmingham to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Amsterdam newspaper "De Telegraaf" claimed in August 2007 that Yahia Bouyafa, a Dutch Moroccan, plays an important role in Muslim Brotherhood related activities in Holland. Bouyafa's office in Zaandam (near Amsterdam) was financed by the above mentioned Europe Trust, the paper said. Bouyafa himself is chairman of the "Europe Trust Netherlands Foundation."

Bouyafa also runs the publishing company "Noer Al'ilm" which published a Dutch translation of Sheikh's Yousuf Al-Qaradawi's standard work "Introduction to Islam." Qaradawi is a prominent Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who condones suicide bombings. In a 1995 speech in Ohio, Qaradawi said:

"Conquest through Dawa, that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America, not through the sword but through Dawa. Dawa will work through Islamic groups set up by Brotherhood supporters."

Qaradawi was addressing his friends at a Muslim conference in the United States, he would probably never say such things in front of Western cameras.

Bouyafa is also the new chairman of the Dutch Contact Group Islam, an important Muslim body in the Netherlands. The Dutch government often consults this organization when there are problems in the Muslim community. Bouyafa, however, successfully sued De Telegraaf in October 2007 and the newspaper had to retract most of the allegations made in the article. There was no evidence that Bouyafa had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Amsterdam court ruled. The article was partly based on unspecified intelligence sources or reports, which was not acceptable to the court. Bouyafa did not deny, however, his involvement in the Europe Trust. But the court blamed the newspaper for not having given Bouyafa the opportunity to respond to the allegations before they were published.

Operatives of the Muslim Brotherhood operate in secret and covertly. It is often difficult to find conclusive evidence which holds up in court. It is a fact that Qaradawi is a key Muslim Brotherhood cleric. It is also a fact that leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood founded the "Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe" (FIOE), headquartered in Britain. In 1995, FIOE set up the European Trust in order to finance it activities. The Muslim Brotherhood no longer is a mere party or religious organization originating in Egypt. "It has," Ian Johnson told a congressional committee in 2006, "become a dynamic ideology, as potent as communism, spreading accross the Muslim world, linking people in a common vision from Jakarta to Islamabad, Kabul to Cairo, Munich to Chicago." In Germany, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood set up a number of so-called Islamic Centers. The most important Brotherhood organization is the "Islamic Community in Germany" (Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland, or IGB), led by Ibrahim El Zayat.

In 1988, the Brotherhood even set up its own bank in Lugano, Switzerland. The "Taqwa bank" was run by Ahmed Huber, a Swiss Muslim convert and Holocaust denier, Youssef Nada (manager), an Egyptian immigrant, and Ali Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian immigrant.

During a house search in November 2001, a photo was found showing how Nada shook hands with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Also found was a video cassette of a trip paid by Nada and other Muslim Brothers to Afghanistan. What the police further found in Nada's expensive villa was the highly interesting Muslim Brotherhood document "Towards a global strategy to promote political Islam" (Vers une stratégie pour la politique islamique). This document discussed the creation of an Islamic state by controlling and influencing local and global centers of power and enhancing social influence. Temporary cooperation (cooperation provisoire) must be sought with "national movements" on issues such as "the struggle against colonialism." Tactical alliances are possible.

The secret Muslim Brotherhood document found in Nada's villa further calls for support to other movements involved in the jihad and the proclamation of Islamic Dawa. It is important to stay in touch with these movements, whereever they may be.

Nada claimed in a 2004 interview that the Muslim Brotherhood was a peaceful and tolerant organization which rejected violence. This is a misrepresentation of facts. Hamas, for example, which is an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood, openly espouses a strategy of violence. And the document found in Nada's villa in the North Italian village of Campione calls for support to jihadist movements.

Members and sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood or Brotherhood front organizations do not hesitate to file expensive lawsuits against their opponents.

Nazis, neo-Nazis and Muslim fundamentalists

The document also recommends "to conduct research on the Jews, the enemies of Muslims," and "to create jihad cells in Palestine."

What unites the Muslim Brotherhood and neo-Nazis is their common hatred of the Jews. Prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas have been interviewed or were quoted in the neo-Nazi press. Hamas leader Abdel Azziz El Rantisi, for example, was interviewed by the German neo-Nazi youth periodical "Junge Freiheit." He lashed out against the Israeli "aggressors, occupiers and killers." The same periodical also translated an interview given by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to the Egyptian weekly "Al-Ahram."

Former Swiss journalist and Al-Taqwa Bank board member Ahmed Huber was inspired by his countryman François Genoud, an outspoken anti-Semite and Hitler admirer who collaborated with the Nazi secret service. After the war he helped Nazi war criminals escape from Germany. Huber himself praised the 9/11 attackers as "young patriots who destroyed the Towers of godlessness" (New York's Twin Towers) and "the Symbol of Satan" (the Pentagon).

Huber's friend and Holocaust revisionist (denier) Jürgen Graf – also a Swiss national – fled to Iran when he was sentented to 15 months in jail. Once safe and well in Tehran, he began to publish his own "Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung" and "The Revionist: Journal for Critical Historical Review." The fundamentalist Mullahs in Tehran welcomed "persecuted" neo-Nazis from Europe, granting them asylum. (In the run up to the World Campionship 2006, German neo-Nazis discussed the possibility of organizing solidarity demonstrations in support of Iran; they also applauded Iranian president Ahmadinejad's statement that the Holocaust was a "myth.")

There is, really, nothing new under the sun. In the Third Reich it was SS leader Heinrich Himmler himself who was quite enthousiastic about the "ideological unity (Weltanschauliche Verbundenheit) between National Socialism and Islam." The Nazis, too, granted asylum to "persecuted" Muslim leaders like Haj Amin Al-Husseini (or Al-Husayni), the grand-mufti of Jerusalem, who stayed in Berlin between November 1941 and April 1945. Just like the Iranian Mullahs allowed Jürgen Graf to propagate his ideas and views from Tehran, so did the Nazis allow Al-Husseini to establish a propaganda bureau in their capital.

Al-Husseini was a personal friend of Hassan Al-Banna's, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. In an article published in 1938, Al-Banna glorified death and the "death industry." Al-Husseini would become Al-Banna's deputy in 1946.

Al-Husseini was also a close friend of Heinrich Himmler's. On November 2, 1943, Himmler sent him a telegram emphasizing that "the National Socialist movement of greater Germany" fully support "the struggle of the freedom loving Arabs, especially in Palestine." There as "a common struggle and a natural alliance against the Jewish intruders (Eindringlinge). During a visit to the Middle East in 1937, Adolf Eichmann stressed the importance of Syria in countering Jewish and British influence in Palestine. The Nazis also supported a pro-German newspaper in Damascus. Eichmann, too, became one of the mufti's closest friends.

Haj Amin Al-Husseini played a nefarious role in the Holocaust. In July 1944, he sent a letter to Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop asking him to prevent Jews from leaving Germany for Palestine: "It would be indispensable and infinitely preferable to send them to other countries where they would find themselves under active control, for example in Poland." It was in Nazi occupied Poland that more than three million Jews were gassed in death camps run by Himmler's diabolical SS.

With the assistance of Heinrich Himmler the mufti created his own Muslim SS units, the Eastern batallions (Ostbattaillone) and the notorious Handjar (Sword) units which committed terrible attrocities in Bosnia. Formally, these Muslim units were part of the Waffen-SS. Husseini's men were trained by Himmler's SS and even visited the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen.

In a meeting with Hitler in November 1941, the mufi urged the Führer to push his armies into the Southern Caucasus as soon as possible. Hitler replied that this would probably not be in the far future, and "then the hour of the liberation of the Arabs will have arrived and the mufti will be the most qualified spokesman for the Arab world."

After the War the mufti was still remarkably popular among the Arabs. Although a war criminal and a Nazi ally, he continued to play an important role in the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Takiyya" and hidden agendas

Radical Muslims and terrorists often follow a strategy of denying and lying in court or in media interviews claiming that they espouse non-violence. I have followed many terrorism trials in the Netherlands since 2002, and invariably the same pattern emerges: the accused simply deny they are involved in terrorism or had the intention to kill or harm anyone. They also claim that "jihad" primarily means the effort to become a better Muslim, it should usually is not be associated with violence. (Documents found on their computers, jihadist beheading videos and tapped phone conversations show quite something else, though.) Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch Moroccan terrorist who killed Theo van Gogh in November 2004, was the only one who said he was very proud of what he had done. In an important article in the Dutch newspaper "De Volkskrant" Dutch islamologist Hans Jansen says that jihad means "violence against non-Muslims." "Denying jihad is fashionable but it is as stupid as denying the Holocaust. It is the jihad that made Islam great."

The recent AIVD report "The radical dawa in transition" points out that so-called Salafists or Salafis (ultra-orthodox Muslims) are deceitful and double-tongued:

"Contact with the supposed ‘enemies of Islam' is permitted out of self-defense, but the true purpose of and thinking behind it must never be revealed to the infidels.

This defense mechanism builds upon what was originally a Shi'ite dogma, ‘takiyya,' which allows believers to adopt a different religious or ideological identity to defend oneself or the faith when it is under threat. One practical repercussion of this is that Salafi mosques in the Netherlands present a façade of respectability in the contacts with the outside world: as and when necessary, they deliver a message of moderation and integration. But that is clearly very different from the word they are spreading within their own trusted circles."

The same report warns against clandestine attempts by radical Muslims to influence government policy and mainstream social organizations:

"The radical dawa has begun active clandestine efforts to gain strategic influence over national and local government policy-making and to secretly enter mainstream social organizations. The clandestine aspect of this derives from the fact that the people concerned refrain from mentioning their religious opinion and loyalties. For example, the radical dawa has become actively involved in advising local authorities on crime fighting, premature school-leaving by ethnic minority youth and services for immigrant women. Organizations secretly affiliated to Salafi mosques have obtained government grants for projects to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents and school drop-outs from the ethnic minorities. Away from the purview of the funding body, these young people are then presented with the message of the radical dawa.

This particularly seems to hit home with young habitual criminals from Muslim backgrounds since it loads their latent sense of guilt with religious baggage.

Radical dawa activists are also involved in homework clubs for ethnic minority schoolchildren. Rarely, however, can they or their activities be associated directly with a mosque. The funding bodies usually achieve their aim – a reduction in crime, a return to study, better school results or whatever it may be – but in the process a number of the young beneficiaries make anti-democratic Salafi ideology their own."

"In their contacts with the government, radical dawa activists often represent themselves as spokespersons for the Muslim community. And, thanks to their high level of organization and outwardly honorable motives, they are regularly accepted as such. In reality, though, they certainly do not speak for the community as a whole. This is a role they take upon themselves with a hidden agenda: to gain as much control as they can over contacts between the authorities and Muslim communities in the Netherlands."

The Dutch intelligence report is equally critical of the Muslim Brotherhood:

"The movement has begun to make inroads in Europe in the early 1960s. Its bridgehead was established in Germany, where Saïd Ramadan – former personal secretary to Hassan Al-Banna and father of the Swiss academic and theologian Tariq Ramadan – has settled. From there, he and others built up a network which has now branches in virtually every European country.

Not all Muslim Brothers or their sympathizers are recognizable as such. They do not always reveal their religious loyalties and ultra-orthodox agenda to outsiders.

Apparently cooperative and moderate in their attitude to Western society, they certainly have no violent intent. But they are trying to pave the way for ultra-orthodox Islam to play a greater role in the Western world by excercising religious influence over Muslim immigrant communities and by forging good relations with relevant opinion leaders: politicians, civil servants, mainstream social organizations, non-Islamic clerics, academics, journalists and so on. This policy of engagement has been more noticeable in recent years, and might possibly herald a certain liberalization of the movement's ideas. It represents itself as a widely supported advocate and legitimate representative of the Islamic community. But the ultimate aim – although never stated openly – is to create, then implant and expand, an ultra-orthodox Muslim bloc inside Western Europe."

"Political Salafism in Western Europe has very much borrowed the Brotherhood's methodology: achieving the Islamization of a society through strong organization, and the gradual, clandestine establishment of a society of a strictly religious Muslim social system."

"The Muslim Brotherhood certainly has some support in the Netherlands. For example, the management committee of the es-Salaam mosque currently under construction in Rotterdam – and set to be the largest in the country once it is finished – includes several members with known links to the organization."

In his essay on the Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe, Lorenzo Vidino points out "that most European politicians fail to understand that by meeting with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy."

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands specialized in crime and terrorism. His website is: emersonvermaat.com.


1. From Dawa to Jihad (Leidschendam: AIVD, 2004), p. 8, 41, 42.

2. De Telegraaf (Amsterdam based newspaper), August 4, 2007, p. 5 ("Meer Moslimmacht. Bouyafa, nieuwe gesprekspartner regering, werkt mee aan heimelijke plannen").

3. Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, Verfassungsschutzbericht 2006 (Cologne: BfV, 2007), p. 131-134: "Reaktionen der deutschen rechtsextremistischen Szene auf antisemitische Äusserungen der iranische Regierung," 132: "Im Vorfeld der Fussballweltmeisterschaft 2006 diskutierten einige Angehörige der deutschen rechtsextremistischen Szene die Frage einer Unterstützung des Iran." "Solidaritätsbekundungen zum Iran...", 239: "Einer der prominentesten Vordenker der Muslim Bruderschaft, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi..." "Islamischer Zentren;" "der Muslim Bruderschaft nahe stehende Föderation Islamischer Organisationen in Europa."

4. Washington Post (Internet), September 11, 2004 ("In search of friends among foes"): Qaradawi: "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America..."

5. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 4, 2006 (BfV report on Europe Trust).

6. Rechtbank Amsterdam, LJN BB6245, dossier 378776, October 18, 2007 (Bouyafa wint kort geding tegen De Telegraaf).

7. Ian Johnson, Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Congressional Testimony, February 9, 2006 (American Islamic Forum for Democracy, AIFD).

8. Sylvain Besson, La conquête de l'occident. Le project secret des Islamistes (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2005), p. 18, 19, 21 (Nada in July 2004: "Les Frères musulmans sont pacifiques, tolérants... Nous sommes contra la violence."), 22-27, 192-205 (full text of the document found in Nada's home). Page 204: "Faire des études sur les juifs, ennemis des musulmans... Créer des cellules de jihad en Palestine."

9. Junge Freiheit, August 17, 2001.

10. Anton Maegerle, Die unheilige Allianz zwischen Hakenkreuz und Halbmond. Neonazis und fundamentalistische Islamisten (Informationsdienst gegen Rechtsextremismus, www.idgr.de, 2001).

11. Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, Auseinandersetzung mit Rechtsextremismus. El Husseini: Akteur der Shoa (BLZpB, updated on February 12, 2007): "Himmler war von der weltanschaulichen Verbundenheit zwischen Nationalsozialismus und Islam begeistert."

12. Telegramm Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler and den Grossmufti Amin El Husseini, Berlin, November 2, 1943: "Die Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung hat seit ihrer Entstehung den Kampf gegen das Weltjudentum auf ihre Fahne geschrieben. Sie hat deshalb schon immer mit besonderer sympathie den Kampf der freiheitsliebende Araber, vor allen in Palestina, gegen die juedischen Eindringlinge verfolgt. Die Erkenntniss dieses Feindes und der gemeinsamen Kampf gegen ihn bilden die feste Grundlage des natuerlichen buendnisses zwischen dem nationalsozialistischen Grossdeutschland und den freiheitsliebenden Mohammedanern der ganzen Welt."

Muftism and Nazism: World War II Collaboration Documents: www.eretzyisroel.org.

13. Bericht über die Palestina-Ägyptenreise von SS-Hauptsturmführer Eichmann und SS-Oberscharfüher Hagen, G II 112, 26-3 Hg/Pi, Berlin: November 4, 1937, p. 24: "Aus verschiedenen mit unterrichteten Männern geführten Gespräche ging hervor, dass alle arabisch-regierten Länder über Syrien Gelder nach Palestina fliessen lassen und auch Waffen hinüberschmuggeln, um den Sieg der dortigen Araber über Juden und Engländer zu ermöglichen." P. 39: "La Chronique," Damaskus... dass durch Papierlieferung vom Propagandaministerium unterstützt wird."

14. Israel Gutman (Ed.), Enzyklopädie des Holocaust (München/Zürich: Piper Verlag, 1995), Vol II, p. 632: : "Adolf Eichmann, der treueste Verbundete des Grossmuftis."

15. Der Grossmufti von Jerusalem beim Führer. Aus den Aufzeichnungen des Gesandten Schmidt über die Unterredung zwischen Adolf Hitler und dem Grossmufti von Jerusalem Hadji Mohamed Amin El Husseini am 28.November 1941 (www.ns-archiv.de).

16. Hans Jansen, Ontkennen jihad is modieus en dom, in: De Volkskrant, September 26, 2007, p. 11.

17. General Intelligence and Security Service, The radical dawa in transition. The rise of Islamic neo-radicalism in the Netherlands (Leidschendam: AIVD, 2007), p. 45 ("takiyya"), 52, 53 (Muslim Brotherhood), 67, 68 ("hidden agenda").

18. Lorenzo Vidino, The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe, in: The Middle East Quaterly, Winter 205 (Vol XII, No. 1).

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