INVESTMENTS IN SWITZERLAND: Qatar said to be leading funder of mosques in Europe


Museum of Islamic Civilisation
The Museum of Islamic Civilisations, opened in 2016, is said to be one of five projects in Switzerland funded by Qatar.

(© Keystone / Laurent Gillieron)

Qatar has funded mosque and Islamic centre projects in Switzerland to the tune of several million francs, according to “Qatar Papers”, a book just published by two French journalists.

Authors Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot base their information on internal documents leaked from Qatar Charity, an NGO funded by the Qatari royal family.

“Qatar is today a leading funder of Islam in Europe,” Malbrunot said in an interview with Swiss television RTS on Thursday. He said Qatar was doing this through a network of connections close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The book says that Qatar Charity has funded 140 mosque and Islamic centre projects in Europe to the tune of €71 million (nearly CHF80 million/$80 million). The most projects (50) were in Italy.

In Switzerland, the NGO provided more than €3.6 million between 2011 and 2014 for five projects by Muslim organisations, according to “Qatar Papers”. They include the Museum of Islamic Civilisations in La Chaux-de-Fonds (canton Neuchâtel), the Muslim Cultural Complex of Lausanne (canton Vaud) and the Salah-Eddine mosque in Bienne (canton Bern).

Contacted by Swiss media, a director of the museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds said it was in full respect of Swiss law.

The book also claims that controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan is receiving €35,000 per month from another Qatari NGO, the Qatar Foundation, as a “consultant”. This is sourced to a document from the French financial watchdog Tracfin. It says he also received €19,000 from the Swiss Muslim League in early 2018 at the time of his arrest on rape allegations, which he denies.

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