The Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE) has reported that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi met recently with the Mufti of Karelia, a Russian republic bordering Finland, who is a member of the FIOE Russian organization. According to the report:
The mufti of Karelia and a member of the Shoura Authority in the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Russia Sheikh Wessam Albardaweel met with Sheikh Youssef Al Karadawy in Kuwait. During the meeting he discussed with Sheikh Karadawy the status of Muslims in Russia. Sheikh Karadawy expressed his approval of the positive changes that have taken place in Russia on the level of increasing religious liberties, and increasing communication between Russian authorities and the Muslims of Russia. He also praised Russian efforts in following cooperative policies with the Islamic world. While discussing the status of the Northern Caucasus region Sheikh Karadawy pointed out that many people in the Islamic world, himself included condemned Russian actions in the past, but time passes and circumstances change, and he quoted the Holy Quran saying that “maybe God Almighty will create amongst you and your enemies peace, and God is capable of all things and He is all forgiving and all merciful”. The war in the Caucasus region benefitted none of the parties involved. Muslims were right in choosing peace, as was the Russian government, which opened up many doors of opportunities for Muslims there, to rebuild their country, and it guaranteed their freedom, as cited in the Holy Quran “and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight”. Sheikh Karadawy went on to say that the Prophet (PBUH) was not a lover of war and destruction, and he even hated the name of” war” which was widespread at the time, and he asked his followers to change their name if one of them was so called. He pointed out that the Islamic world looked on Russia as a power capable of standing up to American arrogance. In conclusion to the meeting the mufti of Karelia extended an invitation to Sheikh Karadawy to visit Russia to meet his many followers and students from the Muslims of Russia. Sheikh Karadawy accepted the invitation an expressed his wish to visit Russia at the first possible opportunity. He also invited the mufti to attend the meeting of the International Assembly of Islamic Scholars to be held in June of this year.
Youssef Qaradawi is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.
A report on FIOE by the NEFA Foundation describes the organization as follows:
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) claims to be an independent organization representing the interests of Muslims in Europe. In reality, the FIOE is an umbrella group that comprises the global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Strong links connect FIOE’s leadership central institutions and member organizations to the Brotherhood, as well as to Saudi Arabia. Funding for the FIOE is derived largely from Gulf sources, including some of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates. The FIOE has strong ties to Hamas and Hamas fund-raising organizations, and some FIOE member organizations show evidence of links with Al-Qaida. The FIOE recently opened a headquarters office in Brussels and has had some success in positioning itself as a “dialog partner” for the EU and other important institutions.