The US Department of Treasury has designated an associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi as an Al Qaeda financier. On December 18 of last year, the Treasury department imposed sanctions on Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi (Aka Umair Al-Nuaimi) who was designated for providing financial support to al-Qa’ida, Asbat al-Ansar, al-Qa’ida in Iraq, and al-Shabaab. According to the Treasury announcement:
In 2013, Nu’aymi ordered the transfer of nearly $600,000 to al-Qa’ida via al-Qa’ida’s representative in Syria, Abu-Khalid al-Suri, and intended to transfer nearly $50,000 more.
Nu’aymi has facilitated significant financial support to al-Qa’ida in Iraq, and served as an interlocutor between al-Qa’ida in Iraq leaders and Qatar-based donors. Nu’aymi reportedly oversaw the transfer of over $2 million per month to al-Qa’ida in Iraq for a period of time. He also served as an interlocutor between these Qatari nationals and al-Qa’ida in Iraq leaders. Between 2003 and 2004, Nu’aymi provided support to the Iraqi insurgency more broadly and served as a conduit for their broadcast materials to media outlets.
Nu’aymi as of mid-2012 provided approximately $250,000 to two U.S.-designated al-Shabaab figures, Mukhtar Robow and Sheikh Hassan Aweys Ali, the latter of whom is also designated by the United Nations (UN). Also in 2012, Nuaymi provided financial support to a charity headed by Yemen-based Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Humayqani, who channeled funding to AQAP.
According to its website, Nu’aymi is the head of Alkarama, described as “a Swiss-based, independent human rights organisation established in 2004 to assist all those in the Arab World subjected to, or at risk of, extra-judicial executions, disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention.” On December 24, Nu’aymi issued a statement on the Alkarama website denying the US allegations call them “unfounded accusations that aim to silence me because of my publicly declared opposition to U.S. policies in the Arab world and, in particular in the Gulf area since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.”
In November 2011, we reported that Youssef Qaradawi had arrived in Cairo accompanied by the head of the Karama Organization for Human Rights, Abdel Rahman Naaniny. Subsequently, the GMBDW reported in June of last year that a conference on Syria was held in Cairo that included Youssef Qaradawi as well as more than 70 religious organizations from across the Arab world. The event was jointly organized by various Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood groups in the Middle East and Europe together with the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GAAC), where Nu’aymi serves as Secretary-General. (Also attending the Cairo conference was Salah Sultan, close to Qaradawi and last reported as the subject of an Egyptian arrest warrant as part of the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.) The GAAC is itself an international Islamist umbrella group comprised of scholars tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafi-Jihadi scholars including individuals designated as terrorists by the US government. In June 2012, we reported that Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi and Qaradawi associate had spoken at a December 2011 GAAC meeting along with Dr. Walid Musa’id al-Tabatibai (aka Walid al-Tabtabai), a well-known Kuwaiti parliamentarian and Salafi leader who authored a letter praising Osama Bin Laden and who is also the GAAC Vice-President. Nu’aymi was also in attendance.
Not surprisingly, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is headed by Qaradawi, condemned the US actions and helpfully added that Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad `Abd al-Rahman al-Humayqani, a second individual designated at the same time as Nu’aymi, is actually the Alkarama representative in Yemen. The Treasury announcement also adds that in addition to providing financial support and other services to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Humayqani works together with Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood leader Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani to issue religious guidance in support of AQAP operations.
Youssef Qaradawi is the most important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and is the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were utilized by Hamas to justify their operations. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to head he Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. He is based in Qatar and has said the Qatari Emir has protected from being designated as a terrorist by the U.S. He has also reportedly amassed substantial wealth by serving as the Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. Qaradawi is the head of the Union of Good (UOG), a worldwide coalition of charities helping to raise funds for Hamas and is the leader of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the theological body of the European Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi been banned from entering the US since 1999 and UK since 2008. Last year, authorities also refused him entry into France. Last September, the GMBDW reported that Egypt’s chief prosecutor had issued an arrest warrant for Qaradawi who was accused of inciting the killing of Egyptian security forces and meddling in the country’s affairs. The same report also noted that Qaradawi was asked to leave Kuwait as a result of were been described as “divisive remarks he has made inciting violence and bloodshed.”
As for Nu’aymi himself, a 2007 US State Department Cable said that he was “closely watched because of his hard-line tendencies” and his connection to GAAC and was arrested in 2009 in Qatar after he urged the the Qatari Consultative Council to oppose co-education at the Qatar University. He was released three years later. Nu’aymi has also been banned from entering Saudi Arabia, likely due to GAAC’s history of opposition to the Saudi regime. Gulf media reports that Nu’aymi is a Qatar University professor and former president of the Qatar Football Association as well as a founding member of a prominent charity – the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Foundation, named for a member of the country’s ruling family. The Foundation has its own reported ties to terrorism financing. A 2007 US State Department cable said that Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) Deputy Governor Jihad al-Wazir:
….asserted that individuals and organizations in UAE and Qatar are the main contributors to Hamas charities. He said a charity established by Qatari Sheikh Eid bin Mahmoud al-Thani was one, adding that it has transferred funds through JP Morgan Chase.
That an accused Al Qaeda and Hamas financier was the head of an organization claiming to promoting human rights points to a disturbing trend. As observed by an article in the Daily Beast:
Al-Naimi’s organization has in the past worked closely with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) as well as the U.N. Human Rights Council. Al-Karama has also issued joint communiqués with Human Rights Watch, which specializes in legal advocacy on behalf of Islamist prisoners throughout the Middle East.
The article also observes that Al Karama:
…advocated for the release of Hassan al-Diqqi, the leader of a banned political party in the United Arab Emirates. In 2010, the group claimed credit for forcing the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to criticize the Emirates for his detention. In September, however, the Washington Post reported that al-Diqqi appeared in a video earlier this year at a training camp for jihadist rebels in Syria.
Although these Western organizations, as well as Al Karama itself, have denied any knowledge of Nu’aymi’ activities and say they believe the organization to be reputable, at the very least the incident suggests a general failure to closely scrutinize organizations purporting to be promoting human rights in the Middle East. In November of last year, the GMBDW reported on the UK-based Emirates Center for Human Rights (ECHR), an organization purporting to advocate human rights in the Gulf and that has sponsored events at the UK parliament. As noted, the ECHR is in fact tied to the wife of UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Altikriti who, according to the ECHR director helped to setup the Center.