AFP is reporting that the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has praised a Syrian rebel-group with ties to Al Qaeda while asking them to renounce their ties to the group. According to the report:
April 22, 2013 10:00 AFP “Al-Nusra Front, which has done very well in its jihad (holy war) against the tyrant regime of Damascus, should … remain within the ranks of the Free (Syrian) Army, to maintain unity,” the International Union of Muslim Scholars which he heads said in a statement.
“This pledge causes internal and external dangers, and its impact on the revolution is dangerous, because it breaks the ranks of the mujahedeen,” the Doha-based group said.
The report goes on to provide background about Al-Nusra:
Listed by Washington as a ‘terrorist’ group, Al-Nusra has been playing an effective role in the fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
It has long been suspected of links to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but the announcement of an alleged merger between the groups and its pledge to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri earlier this month have raised hackles among some in the Syrian opposition…..
Rebel fighters and activists have been reluctant to criticise the group publicly, unwilling to alienate one of the fiercest fighting forces battling the regime.
When the United States designated the group a ‘terrorist’ organisation last December, the Syrian National Coalition and other opposition groups criticised the decision.
But there has been discomfort with both Al-Nusra’s tactics, including suicide bombings, and its explicit calls for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria.
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 and/or Hamas 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)
- Salah Sultan (former U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, notorious antisemite)
The IUMS has recently:
- Criticized French military intervention in Mali aimed at Al Qaeda
- Helped Qatar draft a law aimed at banning attacks on or offenses to religion
- Demanded that former Pope Benedict apologize “just as he apologized to the Jews”
- Called for punishment of U.S. soldiers who burned Korans