France's European Institute of Human Sciences in the spotlight for its alleged relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood

The French newspaper Le Parisien has published an investigation launched by the French Public Prosecutor's Office accusing the organisation of alleged "abuse of trust"
Flags of the Muslim Brotherhood

PHOTO/AFP  -   Flags of the Muslim Brotherhood

In the spotlight. This is the headquarters of the European Institute of Human Sciences (EIHS) in France, a place where future imams and teachers of Koranic schools, as well as ordinary citizens who want to learn Arabic or get closer to Islamic culture, go after the French daily Le Parisien published an investigation in which they accuse this institution of "mismanagement and suspicious financing", as well as of behaviour that could pose "a threat to France's national security". 

The French daily reported that the public prosecutor's office in Bobigny, a city in the north-east of Paris and the capital of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, has opened a preliminary investigation against this institution for abuse of trust. Some 1,500 students pass through the walls of this institute every year, which has "academic recognition from the Rectorate of Créteil" and collaborates with various universities and organizations, such as the Catholic Institute of Paris.

However, Le Parisien has denounced that beyond the façade of this building hides a very different reality. In particular, with regard to the content of teaching, marked by the ideology of the founders and teachers, as well as by the sources of funding.  The media came to the premises of this organization more than a week ago. There was Sheikh Ahmed Jaballah, a man with an excellent curriculum and who, according to this newspaper, advocates a peaceful Islam. They also note that he was president of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), which has since become Muslims of France (MF), a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

During his visit to this institute, the editor of the newspaper Le Parisien came across a copy of a book called "The licit and the Illicit in Islam", a work considered by some experts as anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynist. The author of this book is - according to this newspaper - Sheikh Youssouf Al-Qaradawi, one of the designers of the academic program of the IESH and spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. The newspaper denounces the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on the institute and criticises the fact that, according to the institute's student directory, people like Inès Madani, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the first instance for attempting to blow up a car near Notre-Dame in September 2016, have spent time there.

However, the newspaper clarifies that the IESH "is not a school of jihad", although the passing of certain profiles through its classrooms has led the authorities to intensify surveillance. The investigation launched against this organisation also focuses on sources of funding, as there is allegedly a discrepancy between the IESH's turnover and its real estate investments. The judicial authorities have begun to analyse the origin of the money that allowed the construction of a student residence of two million euros or the university campus project in 2018.  

Le Parisien has pointed out that the authorities have focused their attention on recent financial transfers between the IESH and the Gulf countries, Kuwait and Qatar.  According to the data to which this newspaper has had access, in August 2018, two years ago, the institution received 750,000 euros from Qatar Charety, a non-governmental organization for development aid in the Middle East. In November 2019, IESH reportedly received 150,000 euros from Kuwait. Although these investments are not illegal as such, the authorities are investigating whether or not this fund is being used to finance projects for which they are collecting bills.  "An endowment fund, for the purpose of carrying out a work or a mission of general interest, cannot under any circumstances give rise to commercial activities", they have clarified.