Austrian Antisemitism Expert Fined for Claiming Academic Is Member of Muslim Brotherhood

Members of the Arab-Israeli Islamic Movement chant slogans during a protest in support of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi (portrait) and against the army crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth on August 17, 2013. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD …

A court has fined Austrian political scientist Michael Ley, an expert in Islamic antisemitism, for claiming a University of Salzburg professor was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Ley was handed down a fine of 2,400 euros after being found guilty of incitement and slandering University of Salzburg professor Farid Hafez, Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung reports.

The political scientist had claimed Prof Hafez was an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood and said that one of the organisation’s goals was to destroy Judaism during the launch of his book Islamic Antisemitism in February.

Hafez made a legal complaint and the judge in the case demanded that Ley give sufficient proof to his claim the academic was a member of the Islamist body. The Brotherhood has had its symbols recently banned in Austria, along with other organisations including recognised terrorist groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

When Ley could not provide sufficient evidence of membership, the case was granted to Hafez. Mr Ley told Kronen Zeitung that he will “certainly” appeal the decision, however adding, “But let’s face it, it will not be successful either.”

Dr Hafez has not been silent on the ban, writing an article for the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency news outlet earlier this week claiming that the “real goal” of the ban “is not to threaten the Muslim Brotherhood, which is already weak and politically defeated in many Arab countries, but actually to threaten civil society activists and politicians with a Muslim background in the West.”

Hafez also complained that while Brotherhood symbols had been banned, symbols of the hipster-right Identitarian youth movement had not. “With this warrant, the minister of interior (currently from the FPÖ) can potentially go after every oppositional Muslim organisation,” he wrote.

In 2017, he had decried what he termed a “conspiracy theory” regarding Muslim Brotherhood infiltration into institutions in the United States and around the world citing the presence of an “Islamophobic network” both in the United States and in Europe as the cause of the conspiracy.

Last year, Swedish academic Sameh Egyptson claimed the opposite saying that Swedish political parties had been the target of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration since the 1980s.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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