Religious Shiite Centers in France – An Iranian Establishment to Form a Potential Terrorist Platform on European Soil

Religious Shiite Centers in France

“Hezbollah is gradually building up stockpiles of weapons on European soil…” 

Nathan A. Sales, Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the US State Department, September 2020 

“One of the difficulties in closing down centers and taking legal action against individuals or confiscating terror-designed funds sent to Lebanon and Iran is the providing of substantial proof…” 

“Europol”, from the summary of the 2019 report

The radical Shiite axis, led by Iran, strives to create, wherever it operates, an active civilian and military integrated infrastructure. The civilian infrastructures the axis cultivates and establishes throughout its areas of operation, forms the basis for the freedom of its military and terrorist activity. 

The Shiite centers of culture and social societies in France – produce a communal influence under the guidance of the radical Shiite axis led by Iran. Moreover, some of them may create a potential platform for terrorist activity on European soil. 

When examining the activities of the radical Shiite axis in Europe, it is clear that Iran is leading the activities. Iran conducts its operations as a one, cross-border community, to which Shiites who support its radical ideology belong. Its target audience is generally Shiites and sometimes even Sunnis who are identified as potential supporters, meaning all allies and proxies of Iran who advocate and strive to implement the export of the radical Shi’ite Islamic revolution around the world. The whole activity seems to be conducted under a large umbrella organization called “Ahlul Bayt” which was established by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Khamenei, in 1990. Under this organization operate several associations around the world, in general, and in Europe in particular. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult to make a distinction regarding the specific affiliation and identity of any organization/institution/association or the specific affiliation and identity of any particular individual activist or operative. It looks like Both Iran, Hezbollah and other Shi’ite elements have ties with these associations. 

This report deals with two major organizations operating around the world via branches, who also have an active branch in France: the first is the “Al-Ghadir” Islamic association (اإلسالمية الغدير جمعية (the second is a charitable association institution named after the “Imam Al Khoei” (جمعية اإلمام الخوئ).

The purpose of the report is to examine whether the two French branches are part of a worldwide association designed to spread the dangerous ideology of the radical Shi’ite axis led by Iran to youngsters and adults alike. 

In addition, our report will detail the involvement of “Zahra Center Grande-Synthe” Association members in its planning to carry out an Iranian-led terrorist attack on French soil against the Iranian opposition in July 2018, during a conference of opposition figures in Villepinte, southern France. The association, whose manager is known for his ties with Hezbollah, allegedly served as a logistics center for planning terrorist acts on French soil. 

“Al-Zahra’s” Association members’ involvement in terrorist activity is an example of Iran’s use of the radical axis’ civilian infrastructures as a platform assisting in military/terrorist activity, just as is in the case of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. 

This report is composed of an opening chapter summarizing the main findings on “Al-Ghadir” and “Al Khoei” associations in the world in general and their branches in France in particular, and three additional parts in which there is a breakdown of all the findings in detail. 

Both the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and Shi’ite Iran promote an ideology that completely conflicts with France’s values as a secular and democratic republic, undermining its very existence as such. 

France is undoubtedly aware of the affiliation to the radical axis led by Iran of these association branches. Recently, France has been conducting an operation of monitoring and closing down of no fewer than 76 religious centers and associations, mainly linked to the activities of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood (Al Jazeera, December 3rd, 2020). Two of them were already closed down during November 2020. The question is whether France ignores the ties of Shi’ite associations to the radical Shi’ite axis led by Iran, and does not carry out operative actions against their branches in France? 

We intend to examine whether these associations/branches serve as a platform for both the indoctrination of dangerous radical ideology and linked to terrorist activities or terrorist organizations.

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Tal Beeri

Tal Beeri

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