From January 5–11, 2023, an international delegation of Muslim scholars visited high-ranking members of the Taliban government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kandahar. According to a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Muslim Scholars Association:
January 10, 2023 A delegation of Muslim scholars representing various countries and multiple religious associations paid a blessed visit to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 12/6/1444 to 18/6/1444 AH, in order to convey congratulations to their Muslim brothers in the Emirate on the great victory achieved […], and to see the conditions of Muslims in Afghanistan and transfer what they see and hear to their brothers.
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According to the statement, the delegation met with prominent leaders in the Taliban government, including Deputy Prime Ministers Abdul Salam Hanai and Abdul Ghani Baradar, Defense Minister Muhammad Yaqoub, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Muttaqi.
In the statement, the scholars said they confirmed that the 2021 victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan represented “a victory for all Muslims and that the Afghan Mujahideen — may Allah reward them — planted hope in the hearts of people.” They further urged the Islamic Emirate to be steadfast against its enemies, adding that it was “under a vile siege” due to US sanctions. The scholars also called on Islamic countries to be keen to communicate with the emirate and to recognize its political system.
The meeting included several scholars of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), including:
- Muhammad Al Saghir (aka Mohammed Al-Sagheer), an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood scholar and the Chairman of the IUMS Da’wa and Proselytization Committee
- Nawwaf Takrouri, head of the Association of Palestinian Scholars Abroad, which is known to have participated in European Hamas support conferences
A few days prior to the meeting, Taliban leader Hebatullah Akhundzadeh had refused to welcome an official high-level delegation of IUMS leaders to Afghanistan over what appeared to be concerns about adverse international reactions to such a meeting. He later apologized for the refusal, and the IUMS publicly accepted the apology. The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) had reported in October 2021 that the IUMS had welcomed a delegation from the newly established Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to their headquarters in the Qatari capital Doha. This meeting brought together top IUMS leaders, including the then IUMS President Ahmed Al-Raissouni, IUMS Secretary-General uAli Al-Qaradaghi, and Mohamed Al-Yafei, Director of the IUMS Qatar branch.
Founded in 2004, the IUMS is an international body of Muslim theologians whose leadership is closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and, until recently, was led by the late 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 August 2021, the GIOR reported that several organizations and individuals tied to the GMB and Palestinian terrorist groups had issued communiqués congratulating the Taliban on their victory and praising their “courageous leadership.”