By Francesca Marino
Rome [Italy], April 2 (ANI): White sheets to cover the huge windows and hide from curious and the random passer-by the activities inside. It's the so-called 'cultural centre', a mosque in disguise, run in Brescia by the Tabligh Eddawa, the missionary branch of Tablighi Jamaat.
The centre has been closely monitored, for a couple of years now, by the Italian intelligence because of the kind of devotees it welcomed and still welcomes.
According to the Italian police, in fact, from the 'centre' passed Maulana Tariq Jameel, a member of the Tablighi Jamaat and director of a madrassa in Faisalabad, Pakistan. And, before his arrest in April 2015, even Hafiz Muhammad Zulkifal, considered by investigators the "spiritual ideologist" of the massacre at the Peshawar market in 2009, in Pakistan, which cost the lives of 137 people, mainly children, as well as being part of an Al Qaeda cell based in Sardinia.
Zulfikal, arrested in 2015 during a counter-terrorism operation in Sardinia, has unfortunately been freed last December because the terms for pre-trial detention expired. He currently is under closed monitoring, because the Tribunal said there are "valid sources of evidence relating to his supposed financing, direction and liaison with armed groups operating abroad dedicated to the design and implementation of guerrillas and terrorist acts,"
The Tablighi Eddawa in Brescia was involved also, last July, into an investigation related to money transfers and funds to Jihad. The hypothesis of a huge flow of money sent to jihadi fighters and the link with Pakistan emerged when the Brescia police dismantling an illegal funding network which had been active for months.
The network of illegal fundings involved a couple of Pakistani 'Islamic Cultural centers' active in Brescia and all linked to the Tablighi. Among these associations are Al Ummah Italia, al Noor, Masjid Ennour Onlus, Arahma Onlus and of course the Tablighi Islamic Center.
According to the official reports, these associations are connected to Tablighi Eddawa, a worldwide network of itinerant missionaries engaged in the door-to-door propagation of Islamic faith and aimed at converting non-believers or converting the "bad" Muslims.
A network very popular apparently, especially among the immigrants. The network, according to the investigations, preaches the "true radical Islam, its members live imitating the Prophet's lifestyle and try to bring back to Allah all Muslims of weakened faith".
Tablighi Jamaat thrives on voluntary donations, but its transcontinental network of mosques, Koranic schools and cultural centers would not be able to survive without the funds regularly received by the World Muslim League and other pan-Islamic organisations financed by Saudi Arabia and from the Wahhabi countries of the Gulf.
The organisation's headquarters in Europe, located in Dewsbury, England, was built in 1978- thanks to money from the World Muslim League. And it is not only Italy in fact but also France, United Kingdom and USA to have proven links of the organization to Al Qaida and other terror groups. But someway the attention to the group, despite evidences of partnership with a number of jihadi groups, and despite the fact that several famous jihadi have been linked to the organization, is quite lose and the West did not ban yet the group.
According to the intelligences of western countries, in fact, Tablighi Jamaat is not a terrorist group in itself but 'only' the "antechamber of terrorism". They infiltrate mosques and Koranic schools which are gradually reopened to radicalise the local Muslims and transform them into fighters to be sent to war theaters but does not commit any terrorist act itself.
Things are different in Russia. In February 2020 in fact a counter-terrorism operation in Moscow led to the dismantling of a terrorist cell directly affiliated to Tablighi Jamaat. The Russian Federal Secret Service arrested in fact seven people, both Russian and Central Asians, all actual members of the Tablighi.
The cell, according to Russian intelligence, was engaged in various activities, including the search for new followers through a strong campaign of proselytism, the dissemination of Tablighi Jamaat propaganda material in the Muscovite Islamic community, the management of training camps for new recruits, functional to their radicalization.
Moscow, unlike the Western countries, has banned and outlawed the Tablighi Jamaat activities in the country since 2009, when the organisation was included, on recommendation of the Russian Supreme Court, into the list of terrorist groups monitored by the Kremlin.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are strictly those of the author) (ANI)