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.”
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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.