IslamismSeptember 5 2022, 6:43 am

Head of Muslim Brotherhood Scholars Union Steps Down After Remarks on Western Sahara

Moroc­can media is report­ing that Ahmed Rais­souni, the Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Union of Mus­lim Schol­ars (IUMS), a body of the­olo­gians tied to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, stepped down from his post after a July 2022 Moroc­can media inter­view sparked con­tro­ver­sy. In the inter­view, Rais­souni said  Mau­ri­ta­nia should be part of Moroc­co, describ­ing Mau­ri­ta­ni­a’s exis­tence as a “mis­take.” Accord­ing to a Moroc­co World News arti­cle:

August 29, 2022 Fol­low­ing an emer­gency meet­ing on Sat­ur­day, the board of direc­tors of the Inter­na­tion­al Union of Mus­lim Schol­ars (IUMS) announced that they accept­ed Ahmed Raissouni’s res­ig­na­tion as head of the orga­ni­za­tion. More than two-thirds of the coun­cil vot­ed in favor of “Sheikh Ahmed Raissouni’s desire to resign from the pres­i­den­cy,” giv­ing “pri­or­i­ty to the Union’s interest.”

Read the rest here.

In a 29 July 2022 inter­view on Blan­ca TV (Morocco/online), Rais­souni said that the sep­a­ra­tion of Mau­ri­ta­nia and the West­ern Sahara region from Moroc­co was a “colo­nial­ist fab­ri­ca­tion” and that a jihad march should be orga­nized into West­ern Sahara and the Alger­ian city of Tin­douf, where there are large pop­u­la­tions of West Saha­ran refugees. As part of the inter­view, Rais­souni also crit­i­cized the King of Moroc­co and the Moroc­can gov­ern­ment for nor­mal­iz­ing rela­tions with Israel, brand­ing their poli­cies as a “mark of shame” and pre­dict­ing Israel would cease to exist. React­ing to harsh crit­i­cism from Mau­ri­tan­ian politi­cians and some observers, Rais­souni respond­ed that his remarks were “spon­ta­neous” and were not intend­ed to chal­lenge Mau­ri­ta­ni­a’s sovereignty.

Found­ed in 2004, the IUMS is an inter­na­tion­al body of Mus­lim the­olo­gians whose lead­er­ship is close­ly tied to the GMB and, until recent­ly, was led by Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) spir­i­tu­al guide Youssef Qaradawi. Sev­er­al promi­nent Euro­pean Mus­lim faith lead­ers tied to the GMB were IUMS mem­bers and/or have served as IUMS Trus­tees, includ­ing for­mer Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Islam­ic Stud­ies pro­fes­sor Tariq Ramadan and Ahmed Jabal­lah, a senior leader in the French and glob­al Mus­lim Brotherhood.

In Octo­ber 2021, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that the IUMS had wel­comed a Tal­iban lead­er­ship del­e­ga­tion from the then new­ly estab­lished Islam­ic Emi­rate of Afghanistan to their head­quar­ters in Doha, where they vowed future col­lab­o­ra­tion. In June 2022, the GIOR report­ed that Nihad Awad, the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions, par­tic­i­pat­ed in a high-lev­el meet­ing of IUMS and GMB lead­ers in Doha.


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