DPI report: Islamist propaganda and political activism

Activists from the Dar al Janub organisation share Hamas messages and spread extremist views.

Since Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, demonstrations have regularly taken place in European cities, in which religious extremist and political actors also take part. In Austria, the group Dar al Janub (Arabic for "House of the South") is one such part of the protest movement. The new DPI Focus shows how the "Verein für antirassistische und friedenspolitische Initiative" (association for anti-racist and peace policy initiatives) - which publicly appears as Dar al Janub - combines Islamist and left-wing extremist positions. In the context of post-colonial debates, anti-Semitic resentment is also repeatedly spread. The publication by the Documentation Centre for Political Islam sheds light on the ideology and activities of the group and shows how not only religious extremist movements are heroised, but also how problematic contacts with Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organisation, have been repeatedly cultivated in the past.

"The example of the Dar al Janub group clearly shows how extremisms can merge. The dissemination of propaganda glorifying violence by Islamist terrorist groups in Austria without comment or contradiction is at odds with the pluralistic democratic constitutional state. Social commitment and freedom of opinion are being misused by the association's activists to devalue other people and create a breeding ground for radicalisation," says Lisa Fellhofer, Director of the Austrian Fund for the Documentation of Religiously Motivated Political Extremism.

Propaganda for terrorist groups

The organisation regularly uses its presence on social media to disseminate religious extremist content from various groups - such as Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) - as well as the Hamas-affiliated news agency "Quds News Network" (QNN). The publications also include the worship of terrorists as martyrs and propaganda in favour of militant Islamism. In the past, individual activists from Dar al Janub's circle have cultivated personal contacts with supporters and members of Hamas. As early as 2007, a press conference was organised in Vienna with a Hamas mayor. In May 2021, one of the group's central figures publicly posted a photo of a meeting with the well-known and high-ranking Hamas leader Ismail Haniyya.

Although the organisation officially describes itself as a "peace policy initiative", its activities are in sharp contradiction to this. Even after the terror of 7 October 2023 in Israel, Dar al Janub shared Hamas' propaganda and glorified it as a legitimate resistance movement.

Politischer Islam von links? Der Verein Dar al Janub als Bindeglied zwischen Islamismus und radikaler Linken

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