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What’s behind Qatar’s support for educational institutions in Albania

On Saturday, Qatar announced its support for educational institutions. The tiny-rich Gulf country signed a deal through Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) to present a $5million grant to the government of Albania for the purposes of rebuilding two secondary schools and one kindergarten in its capital Tirana.

The agreement was signed by QFFD Director-General Khalifa bin Jassem al-Kuwari and Albanian Minister of State for Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj. Besides, Qatar’s ambassador to Albania Ali bin Hamad al-Marri and the Mayor of Tirana Municipality also attended the signing ceremony.

In a statement, Qatari charitable organisation said that through this agreement it aims to provide equal opportunities and enhance standard of education in Albania, by reconstructing and equipping these educational institutions with all modern facilities. As per the agreement, QFFD would build two secondary schools on 8,000 and 3,632sq m and a kindergarten on 1,875sq m. These well-equipped schools would serve more than 3,000 students in Tirana.

It is not the first time, Qatar has targeted a poverty-stricken and underdeveloped economy to undertake its money-laundering activities, through its charitable organisations in the garb of welfare work. Qatar’s extensive web of charitable institutions controlling educational and cultural centres all across Middle East, Africa and Europe is a proof to what lies behind those generous donations.

Under the garb of charitable work, Qatari regime allegedly bears cost of training, sheltering, feeding, and providing relief and medical facilities to extremist outfits, deemed terrorist organisations around the world. Doha is home to many most wanted terrorist and leaders of many terror outfits including Al Qaeda, Hamas, ISIS, and Muslim Brotherhood. Over the years, the Qatari charitable institutions have taken up the role of regime’s hidden arm which infuses the region with instability, crisis, and civil war, gaining dominance in chaos and devastation.

Investigative journalists George Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, who are considered prominent experts for their understanding of political Islam and the Middle East region, wrote a book and a documentary revealing how Qatar has been financially supporting Muslim Brotherhood, especially its operations in Europe.

The 91-minute documentary titled “Qatar, guerre d’influence sur l’Islam d’Europe (Qatar’s War of Influence over Islam in Europe) which was first aired on the Franco-German television station ARTE on September 17, 2019, and their book “Qatar Papers – How the emirate finances Islam in France and Europe” published in April 2019, exposed how Qatar carried out major money laundering activities and fed the extremist groups including Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, through its charitable organisations.

Malbrunot and Chesnot, who got access to leaked documents, also revealed that Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, received a monthly expense of roughly €35,000 to $39,290 from Qatar Foundation for being their “consultant”. The Swiss newspaper Tribune de Genve reported. that Ramadan received a further €19,000 from organizations such as the League of Muslims in Switzerland when France authorities arrested him on rape charges in 2018.

The documentary also revealed that in order to gain authenticity and legitimacy, Qatar Charity successfully partnered with mainstream Western charities including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

Qatar, in exchange for its money, has been benefiting from Muslim Brotherhood’s influence over people. The terror group uses religion as a means to control people’s lives and to achieve its longstanding dream of establishing caliphate. Qatar through its well established network in Europe has helped Muslim Brotherhood in growing closer to that dream. In 2017, Koen Metsu, a Belgian MP, accused Qatar of abusing the financial channels to fund terrorist activities.

Metsu cited ‘European financial and security reports’ to support his argument and told the European Commission how Qatar was allocating millions of dollars to Muslim Brotherhood for its activities in Europe. Metsu said that “Qatar has for a decade financially supported the Muslim Brotherhood in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Denmark, with more than $175 million.”

The detail report carried out by The Arab Weekly said, “Qatar was using Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe as its own pressure groups to increase its power and influence among the Arab and Muslim communities and also to influence decision-makers in po¬litical and academic circles… Security and financial re¬ports in Europe show the Muslim Brotherhood controls many of the Islamic organisations that are supposed to defend Muslim com¬munities”

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