In late October, French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with representatives of the French Council of the Muslim Faith to develop an action plan to confront extremist groups threatening the values of the French Republic.
After the meeting, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner revealed that the French president invited representatives of the Muslim council to stand with the state in the fight against “Islamist extremism.”
It was only a month after that meeting before France began to take the first operational steps to counter the activity of the Brotherhood and its arms in the country, when it issued a decision to close the European Institute for Human Sciences, a Brotherhood-affiliated educational institution in France.
What is the European Institute for Human Sciences?
In the 1990s, the leaders of the Union of Islamic Organizations – one of the Brotherhood’s arms founded by fugitive leaders from Egypt during the Gamal Abdel Nasser era and active in spreading the Brotherhood’s ideology –proposed the establishment of Islamic-style educational institutions to prepare imams to preach at Islamic centers and mosques in Europe to ensure the Brotherhood’s control of Islamic institutions on the continent.
The idea of the European Institute for Human Sciences (IEHS) was born in that era, and the Brotherhood’s leaders worked to bring the idea to fruition. They founded the institute’s branch in Wales in 1997, before establishing another branch in France.
The institute opened in Paris in January 2001 with about 180 students and announced that it would seek to produce imams and teachers who understand religious texts and understand the European context. The opening was attended by Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was keen to support the idea of the institute.
In 2009, the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation recognized IEHS as an accredited institute of higher education, and this recognition encouraged more students to enroll in the institute, bringing the number of students enrolled to about 2,000 by 2012.
During this period, the institute opened another branch in the French Château-Chinon tourist area.
The European Institute for Human Sciences has many registered Brotherhood-affiliated institutes across Europe, such as the institutes in Château-Chinon, Paris and Wales, as well as institutes in Birmingham, England; Frankfurt, Germany; and Helsinki, Finland, which opened in 2016.
Ahmed Jaballah, the arm of Qatar and Director of the European Institute
Qatari’s top man in Europe is Ahmed Jaballah, director of the European Institute of Human Sciences in France. He headed the Union of Islamic Organizations and is known for his affiliation with the Brotherhood.
Born in Tunisia in 1956, Jaballah completed his education until he obtained a degree in theology from the Faculty of Islamic Law and Theology at the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis in 1979. He then moved to France to obtain a master’s and doctorate in Islamic studies from Sorbonne University in Paris.
Jaballah is a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. He was also president of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France between 1985 and 1991.
According to the Qatarileaks website, Jaballah is Qatar’s finance broker for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Qatar has given him €50 million to rally Muslims in the suburbs of Paris, persuade them to the thought of Hassan al-Banna, and recruit them to the ranks of ISIS, as well as to promote Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, and to defend him despite accusations of rape and harassment. He also works to glorify Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi.