Austria has become the first country in the European Union to ban the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood as part of a new anti-terrorism law.
The law bans the Egyptian-founded Muslim Brotherhood by adding it to a list of organisations linked to “religiously motivated crime”. It sets a punishment of a month in prison and a €4,000 (£3,407/$4,717) fine for those who propagate the group’s literature or disseminate its slogans. The law also allows the government to place electronic tags on convicted terrorists for monitoring, reports Spiegel Ausland.
The ban comes as part of an anti-terrorism package the Austrian parliament passed and which was created in response to the Vienna terror attack on November 2nd, where an Islamic radical murder four people and injured 23 others, Marianne reports.
According to the French magazine, the Muslim Brotherhood has a long history in Austria. It first opened an office in the city of Graz in the mid-1960s, which was used as the group’s financial hub before moving to Switzerland, where member Youssef Nada opened the al-Taqwa bank.
Austria to Ban ‘Political Islam’ in Wake of Europe Terror Attacks https://t.co/Hsw4yHCh4W
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 12, 2020
The al-Taqwa bank, in turn, was investigated by American and Swiss authorities shortly after 9/11 over accusations of helping to finance terrorism.
The Public Prosecutor of Graz and the Styrian Constitutional Protection Office launched a two-year investigation into the movement of funds in the city of Graz named “Operation Luxor” and drew up a list of 70 people suspected of terror links, money laundering, and financing terrorism.
A large-scale raid and arrest of suspects was scheduled for November 3rd of last year but took place on November 9th due to the Vienna terrorist attack and saw 60 addresses raided and millions of euros seized.
The new designation for the Muslim Brotherhood comes after the Austrian government has also banned the symbols of the ultranationalist Turkish Grey Wolves, the far-left Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Islamic State, and other extremist groups.
The move to ban the Muslim Brotherhood comes after Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in the aftermath of the Vienna terrorist attack, promised to create a new criminal offence related to “political Islam”, saying it would allow the government to “take action against those who are not terrorists themselves, but who create the breeding ground for it”.
Austrian Government Launches Raids Against Islamic Radicals https://t.co/ftPPuyIs0o
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 9, 2020