MOSCOW – A host of Muslim scholars and religious leaders will gather in the Russian capital this week to issue a fatwa condemning radicalization and extremism. In a conference themed ‘Islamic Doctrine Against Radicalism’, about 50 Russian muftis and imams and nearly 40 prominent Muslim scholars and thinkers will meet in Moscow on May 25. The two-day conference is organized by International Center ‘al-Wasatya’ (Kuwait), Scientific-Educational Center (Russia) and the International Union for Muslim Scholars. The main purpose of the conference is to issue a fatwa condemning radicalism and extremism and condemning the use of terms as Jihad, Takfir and Caliphate for political gains. The fatwa is expected to play an important role not only for Russian Muslims, but also for all Muslims worldwide. The event will feature a host of Muslim thinkers, scientists and experts as well as federal Russian ministers. Prominent scholars from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunis, Oman, Sudan, Turkey and Iran will also partake in the event. Leading among attendees are IUMS Secretary-General Sheikh Muhiddin Ali al-Qaradaghi, Tunisia’s minister of religious affairs Nur ud-Din al-Hamidi, Kuwait’s deputy minister of Islamic affairs Adel al-Falyah, Omani Mufti Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad al-Khalili, Lebanese Mufti Muhammad Rashid al-Qabbani and Secretary General of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Salih bin Hussain bin Abdullah al-Aid. The Conference is supported by the Foundation for Supporting Islamic Culture, Science and Education, established by Russian government, and Ahmad Kadyrov Foundation. Both Russian officials and Muslims are impatiently waiting for the conference and the issuance of the fatwa to be used in the prevention of radical ideas spearheaded by extremists, which spoil the image of Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance and freedom. The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Many prominent individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood are or have been associated with the IUMS including:
- Rachid Ghannouchi (leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood)
- Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza)
- Safwat Hegazi (close to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood )
- Isam al-Bashir (Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood leader)
- Jamal Badawi (U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader)
- Mohammad Sawalha (U.K. Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas)
Basheer Nafi (Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, formerly associated with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
- Isaq Farhan (Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood)
The International Center ‘al-Wasatya’ is likely the same organization known as the Center for Moderation which had been headed by the Sudanese global Muslim Brotherhood figure Issam El-Bashir (aka Essam Al-Basheer) who held numerous positions associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood including as a former director of the UK charity Islamic Relief and a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. However, the Arab Times reported in September 2008 that Dr. El-Bashir had been dismissed from his position. As discussed in a post from 2009, a Kuwaiti organization known as “Moderate Islam” was reported to have been establishing a branch in Russia.
In 2007, a post reported on another fatwa against terrorism issued by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), associated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both groups part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. As that post noted, the FCNA fatwa was criticized for it’s lack of specificity about individuals and organizations, the vagueness of it’s definition of terrorism, it’s lack of theological justification, and the weakness of the implied penalties. It was also noted that over the years, both ISNA and FCNA, the leaders of both organizations as well as the entire U.S. Muslim Brotherhood have been involved with various forms of support for Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization.
Similarly, the IUMS and its leader Youssef Qaradawi have been instrumental in the support of Hamas and Hamas terrorism suggesting that any fatwa issued in Russia must, of necessity, be suspect.