EU funding: windfall for Islamists

In 2019 alone, “Islamic Relief Germany” received 712,000 euros from the EU Commission

The European Commission supports several associations that are rated as Islamist by the Federal Government or the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Even though functionaries made anti-Semitic statements, EU funds keep flowing.

The assessment of the federal government was clear: Islamic Relief Germany (IRD) she stated in April 2019 that she has “significant personal connections to the Muslim Brotherhood or related organizations”. As early as December 2016, the Berlin Senate reported that the Muslim aid organization had acted several times as a sponsor of organizations that are close to the Islamist brotherhood.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Aid is still working with IRD. It has certified the association as a “humanitarian partner for the period from 2021 to 2027”, with a budget that has not yet been opened. In 2019, the EU Commission provided IRD with 712,000 euros for projects in the field of earthquake and flood disaster relief.

“We take the accusation of the federal government very seriously,” said an IRD spokesman when asked. There are no concrete allegations. The association’s board of directors commissioned an investigation in October 2020 to check the allegations. The result is still pending.

In 2019, EU funds also flowed to other highly controversial organizations: The European Muslim Union (EMU) was funded with 90,367 euros for the Open project as part of the EU Commission’s Internal Security Fund Police. It is intended to serve the fight against Islamist online radicalization, runs until October this year and received a total of 508,936 euros in funding.

The founder and president of EMU is the lawyer Andreas Abu Bakr Rieger. In 1993, he said to supporters of an Islamist organization that was later banned: “Like the Turks, we Germans have often fought for a good cause in history, although I have to admit that my grandfathers were not very thorough with our common main enemy.” In 2007, Rieger apologized for the sentence in “Spiegel”, describing it as a “black spot” in his past.

Even today, however, Rieger presents photos on his homepage in which he poses with people who have attracted attention through anti-Semitic statements. Among them is the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammed Ahmed Hussein, who in 2011 quoted a tradition ascribed to the Prophet Mohammed, a hadith, in which it says: “O Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” Rieger also appears on the net with Mahathir bin Mohamad, the former premier of Malaysia, repeatedly inciting against Jews. After the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist last October, Mohamad tweeted that Muslims have a right to be angry and murder millions of French people.

“The statements mentioned do not correspond to my convictions, nor are they in line with my own contributions,” said Rieger to the newspaper WELT AM SONNTAG. There was no substantive exchange with the Mufti. He met Mohamad for the last time in 2005: “I consider his current statements about Paris to be cynical and wrong.” On Rieger’s homepage, one can read that he has “a good relationship with the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, whom he also works as a lawyer represents legally in Europe ”.

The Kuwaiti news agency Kuna reported in November 2014 that the cabinet of the United Arab Emirates had classified the European Muslim Union together with 82 other groups as terrorist. When asked about this list, Rieger said that this accusation was absurd and that there was no justification for it: “I am shocked and upset by this tip.”

The “Weimar Institute for Humanities and Contemporary History” founded by Rieger is also part of the EU-funded project Open. It received a grant from Brussels of 67,547 euros. The government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania classified the association as Islamist in February 2017. In the Brandenburg Constitutional Protection Reports of 2009 and 2010, the institute was named in the field of “Islamist Extremism”. Rieger is ideologically close to an Islamist movement, it said in the 2008 report. On request, Rieger announced that the Weimar Institute had jumped into the open project since a partner left. At the time, he was not on the club’s board. A current retrieval from the register of associations of the Weimar District Court shows: Rieger has been a member of the association’s board again since July 2020.

Nicola Beer (FDP), Vice President of the European Parliament, is outraged about the cooperation between the EU Commission and the controversial organizations: “European funds must not fall into the hands of organizations that feed anti-Semitism or other hatred.” Monika Hohlmeier (CSU ), the chairman of the budget control committee in the EU parliament, demands that the commission carry out detailed screenings of all project participants: “EU funding for anti-Semites and Islamist anti-democracy opponents must have no place with us.” A spokeswoman for the commission announced that they do not finance any organizations who pursued an illegal or extremist agenda. In the event of a breach of the applicable conditions, it is possible to claim money back: “The Commission is committed to preventing radicalization.”

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