Saudi Muslim World League Terminates Qaradawi Membership- Action Reverses Years Of Support For Global Muslim Brotherhood Leader


In a move apparently at complete odds with earlier policy, Arab media is reporting that the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL) has terminated the membership of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. According to the Al-Araby report:

June 10, 2017 The Muslim World League announced the termination of the membership of Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Friday, following his inclusion on a so-called ‘terror list’ by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The Saudi-backed organisation tweeted the announcement, saying that ‘based on the classification issued, the Islamic World League has ended the membership of Yusuf al-Qaradawi in the Islamic Fiqh Academy’.

It also supported the states isolating Qatar with regards to their list of proscribed ‘terrorists’ in a statement.

‘This classification confirms Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fight terrorism and to block its sources of funding and support,’ the statement said.

‘The international community must intensify its efforts to counter the activities of terrorist organisations, as well as its feeders and the incubators.’

Qaradawi, 90, was named on the list of alleged terrorists, despite having been hosted and celebrated in Saudi Arabia not too long ago.

Once considered a spiritual guide of the Brotherhood, Qaradawi has in the past condemned terror and described the Islamic State group’s ‘caliphate’ as ‘void under the sharia’.

The list included 59 people and 12 entities who are accused of terrorist activity and posing a threat to the security of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.

The Muslim World League, which is known for its loyal backing of Saudi foreign policy, called upon people connected to those on the list to reject their ideologies.

Read the rest here.

The Muslim World League (MWL), a quasi-governmental religious organization in Saudi Arabia, was established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and the League has always been strongly associated with the Brotherhood. In April and May 2014, we reported on the visits of top Qaradawi aides to the MWL.

The Saudi action against Youssef Qaradawi appears completely at odds with Saudi policy concerning Qaradawi and the Global Muslim Brotherhood over the last years.  In July 2016, the GMBDW reported that  Qaradawi and Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi had been received King of Saudi Arabia at his Safa Palace in Mecca and in October 2015 we had reported that Qaradawi attended a ceremony organized by Saudi Arabia in Qatar earlier that month. In April 2015, we reported that Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Rachid Ghannouchi was welcomed by the new King of Saudi Arabia at the January funeral of his of his half brother, the late King Abdullah.

The GMBDW has been warning since March 2014 that the Saudi Arabia’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization was likely not what it seemed at first and that the Kingdom had been continuing its outreach and support of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Other relevant reporting has included:

  • In October 2015  we reported on an “interfaith” event sponsored by by the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, known by its abbreviation KAICIID, a controversial organization that was founded in Vienna in October 2011 by the then Saudi King. The event featured two key individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In August 2015, we reported on a French newspaper report suggesting that Saudi Arabia was trying to ‘normalise’ its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In July 2015, we reported in that a high-level Hamas delegation, including the group’s political leader, had visited Saudi Arabia where they met with the new Saudi King as well as other officials.
On June 5,  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region with its support for Islamist groups.

For a profile on Youssef Qaradawi, go here.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. No doubt this is the result of US pressure on the Saudis. Unfortunately, I am reminded of LeCarrie’s story “Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy” where the British intelligence service is given chicken feed (relatively trivial intelligence) in exchange for key secrets. The reason this analogy occurs to me is that, notwithstanding the MB’s successes in infiltrating American security organizations, the Saudis appear to be the central hub of funding radicalization in mosques throughout North America.

    As far as I know, the Saudis have not been the primary source of the Muslim Brotherhood. I may be wrong, but though sharing a common goal of imposing Sharia globally, they are not ideologically identical. True to islamic form, this would seem to imply they are to some extent competitors.

    I am by no means an expert, but this has been my general impression.

  2. “No doubt this is the result of US pressure on the Saudis”

    Unlikely that the US anything to do with this….Much more likely is that it is a result of the recent alliance between the Saudi’s in the Gulf states against Qatar.

    “Saudis have not been the primary source of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Not the source but the Brotherhood was very important inside the kingdom for many years, at least to the religious establishment.

    “they are to some extent competitors.”

    Would not describe them as competitors… Yes they have different views on how to practice Islam but clearly they see themselves as part of the same “family.” The current troubles are between the ruling family/government and the Brotherhood and are not religious in nature.