German media is reporting Austrian police have conducted raids targeting a large number of Islamic organizations and individuals suspected of ties to terrorist and criminal organizations. According to the Deutsche Welle report:
Austrian police carried out sweeping raids on Monday targeting dozens of people with suspected ties to terrorist and criminal organizations. Prosecutors in the Styria region said they were investigating over 70 people and several associations that are suspected of “belonging to and supporting the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas organizations.” The other alleged offenses include forming a terrorist organization, financing terrorism and money laundering, according to the prosecutor’s statement. Officials said the operation “has no connection” to the November 2 terror attack in Vienna, but was rather the result of a year-long terrorism probe.
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The operation, which began in the early hours of 9 November 2020, saw a total of 60 searches in the federal states of Styria, Carinthia, Vienna, and Lower Austria. According to the Austrian interior minister, more than 930 officers were involved in the sting aimed at combating “the breeding ground of extremism.”
Further Austrian media reporting indicates that one of the main organizations targeted was the Islamische Liga der Kultur (ILK), a co-founder of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) and representing the Global Muslim Brotherhood in Austria, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). Other premises searched included those of the Islamisches Kulturzentrum in Graz. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch reported in 2014 that, according to Egyptian media, the headquarters of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood was planning to move to Graz. In London, a senior Brotherhood leader later denied the story, and the Austrian national police directorate responsible for Graz said, “there is a rumor” but that they had “no confirmation or information that something is up.”
Austrian media also reports that among those targeted was Farid Hafez, an Austrian political scientist with personal and family ties to the GMB network in Austria. Hafez is a senior researcher at Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, whose staff includes multiple individuals tied to US Muslim Brotherhood groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America. Hafez is also a co-editor of the annual ‘European Islamophobia Report’ published by the SETA Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research, a Turkish think-tank part of the Turkish influence network with headquarters in Ankara and offices in Istanbul, Washington DC, Cairo, and Berlin. SETA is closely linked to President Erdoğan.