Israeli media is reporting that a Hamas leader has admitted that its military wing was responsible for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, an event which sparked the recent round of the Gaza conflict. According to a Ynet News report, the admission was made at today’s meeting of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in Istanbul:
Hamas leader, Saleh al-Arouri, officially announced that the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades kidnapped three youths in the West Bank. The Hamas official’s remarks were made during a conference organized by the World Association of Muslim Scholars in Turkey. “It was a heroic act of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam,” said Al-Arui “that kidnapped three Israeli settlers in Hebron.” (software translation from Hebrew)
The Jerusalem Post has also reported today that Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey and thought to be the founder of the Hamas military wing, was the mastermind behind what has been described as a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank that was intended to end the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spark a third intifada.
A Turkish news portal has confirmed that the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), referred to also as the World Muslim Scholar’s Union, was scheduled to meet today in Istanbul. According to a WorldBulletin News report:
August 20, 2014 The World Muslim Scholar’s Union is due to meet in Turkey’s Istanbul today for their fourth term meeting.
The meeting, which will start at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT), will feature an discussion about the role Muslim scholars should play in an Islamic awakening and dealing with problems of identity.
World famous Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi will be among the speakers, as well as Yemeni scholar Abdulwahhab ad-Daylami and the Mufti of Chechnya Salah Mejiyev.
The position of Muslim scholars on the issues of Palestine, Jerusalem, the media and Islamic education will also be discussed.
The Qatari Gulf News had reported earlier that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had received an IUMS delegation headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who heads the IUMS:
August 20, 2014 Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister and President-elect of Turkey, received yesterday morning a delegation from the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Doha-based scholar and IUMS chairman Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The delegation, which also included IUMS secretary-general Dr Ali al-Quradaghi, met Erdogan to congratulate him on his election. During the meeting, discussions were held on the implications of current developments for the region and the Arab and Muslim world. Erdogan also hosted a lunch banquet in honour of the delegation.
Recent years have seen Istanbul become a venue for many events tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. As a 2011 report on the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood networks, authored by the GMBDW editor, concluded:
The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
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. Qaradawi is the IUMS President while many prominent individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas serve as IUMS Trustees.
If the Israeli report is confirmed, the appearance of a senior Hamas leader at an IUMS conference, not to mention his admission of the responsibility for the murder of the Israeli teenagers, would be an extraordinary occurrence that should remove all doubts about the intimate connections between the Global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the current Turkish leadership. It should, but likely would not, result in a formal US terrorist designation of Qaradawi. Although the Union of Good (UOG), headed by Qaradawi, was so designated in 2008, he himself inexplicably was not. IN the past, Qaradawi has claimed he is being protected from US designation by the leadership in Qatar where he is based.
For a profile of the IUMS, go here.
For video of the IUMS meeting, go here (translation in progress)