Video duration 52 minutes 38 seconds
Accusations of terrorism and its financing included more than 100 Austrian Muslim personalities, 30 of whom stormed the homes of a security operation called “Luxor”.
In November 2020, the Austrian capital Vienna witnessed a security operation that was a nightmare for well-known Islamic figures and names in this country, as homes, community and charitable institutions were stormed, as well as mosques in various regions, and personal property was confiscated.
The Austrian government promoted at the time that the campaign came within the framework of combating terrorism and its financing, but many questions were raised about the objectives and timing of this operation, especially in the absence of legal evidence to prove the validity of these accusations.
The episode “The Night of the Storming” of the “What is Hidden is Greater” program (07/01/2022) presented shocking exclusive testimonies of a number of targeted people who are still suffering as a result of the repercussions of this process, and are engaged in a judicial battle with the Austrian authorities in the courts.
Targeted figures recounted the details of what happened on the night of November 9, 2020, using secret documents leaked from Austrian intelligence and the Austrian Public Prosecution Office.
Ibrahim Al-Demerdash, imam and preacher of the “Hidaya” mosque in Vienna, reveals that the storming was at five to five in the morning, when he and his family woke up to sounds, machine guns and lights on them. Death to the point that he pronounced martyrdom.
The same scene was described by Hermas Hermas, an activist in health and charitable institutions in Austria, and Mamdouh al-Attar, a teacher and activist in charitable institutions in Austria.
Al-Attar was unable to hold back his tears as he told – in the investigation of “The Night of the Break-in” presented by Tamer Al-Mishal – how the intruders attacked his house at dawn while they were armed with weapons, without taking into account the conditions of his sick daughter, and he says that he was afraid that her heart would stop out of fear.
Investigation and trivia questions
The targeted figures were subjected to an investigation that lasted for 11 and a half hours. Demerdash revealed that the questions that were directed to them focused on the issue of prayer and the caliphate, while questions were asked to the activist in health and charitable institutions regarding his opinion on the marriage of a girl at the age of nine and the circumcision of girls.
According to Andreas Schweizer, a lawyer for a number of victims of the “Luxor” operation, the purpose of the investigations was religion as a doctrine, and it was not to ascertain the defendants’ affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
It is noteworthy that the Austrian public prosecutor has so far failed to provide clear evidence of the conviction of the targeted figures, which was confirmed by the former official in the Austrian Ministry of Research Raoul Knoecker, who said that the “Luxor” operation was a grave mistake, and did not prove anything.
The investigation of “The Night of the Intrusion” also reveals the details of the intelligence cooperation that took place between Austrian intelligence and foreign security services, including Arab intelligence services. The researcher specializing in Islamic movements, Thomas Schmidinger, suggested the possibility that the Austrian authorities had contacted Egyptian intelligence before the start of the “Luxor” operation, especially since the case documents reveal that one of the targets in the operation, the imam of a mosque in Austria, was arrested in Egypt during his travels to Cairo, After his name was included in the campaign carried out by the Austrian authorities.
The “What is Hidden Greatest” investigation succeeded in obtaining leaked secret documents, some of which belong to the Austrian intelligence service, revealing the scenes of what happened and the minutes of the investigation that was conducted with the victims.
One of these documents, dated March 16, 2020, from the Public Prosecution Office of the city of Graz to the Austrian intelligence service, shows an order to hack into the various social media accounts of the accused, with instructions to spy on the communications of the accused and to monitor all their movements.
Al-Attar asserts that his phone was monitored for five whole months, and the Austrian intelligence monitored 5 calls, one of which was with a loan broker related to buying a house, but he was accused of money laundering and terrorist financing.
According to the leaked documents, the public prosecutor in the city of Graz accused all the persons on the list of links with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, in the context of criminalizing what Austria calls political Islam. However, it is noteworthy that Austria does not officially adopt the classification of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
Regarding the source of the accusation of Islamic figures, lawyer Andreas Schweizer says that the investigations started from people’s posts on Facebook pages bearing the “Rabaa sign” (which refers to the massacre carried out by the Egyptian army against peaceful protesters in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square after the military coup in 2013).
Another secret document dating back to August 2019 shows that Austrian intelligence monitored a meeting in Vienna that it described in the document as suggesting Nazism, and that the participants in it raise the Hitler salute, but the irony is that the picture was of Muslim activists raising the Rabaa logo.
The “What is Hidden Greatest” documents revealed many evidence showing the extent of the gaps in the Austrian novel, as well as providing exclusive testimonies of people who were targeted without having any connection with the Brotherhood or Hamas, but merely because they are Muslims, and among them are Austrians of Turkish origin. They broke into her house and she was suspended from work, and a Palestinian young man named Osama Abu Al-Hasna, who tells the “What is Hidden is Greater” program, that he does not yet know why he was included in the list, and the irony is that this same young man was later honored by the Austrian president because he saved the life of an Austrian policeman.
Among the names on the list of targets is the head of the Islamic Authority in Austria, Anas Shaqfeh, who in 2008 received two medals from the Austrian authorities as a reward for his handling of the Austrian state.