Ali al-Qaradaghi is the secretary-general of the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), an organization previously led by Yusuf al-Qaradawi and linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.“International Union of Muslim scholars ‘rejects normalisation with Israel and calls for release of prisoners of conscience,’” Middle East Monitor, November 9, 2018, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181109-international-union-of-muslim-scholars-rejects-normalisation-with-israel-and-calls-for-release-of-prisoners-of-conscience/; Ali Abdelaty and Aziz El Yaakoubi, “Islamist group rejects terrorism charge by states boycotting Qatar,” Reuters, December 1, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/gulf-qatar/islamist-group-rejects-terrorism-charge-by-states-boycotting-qatar-idUSL8N1O12V8. Qaradawi allegedly handpicked Qaradaghi as secretary-general of the IUMS.Qatarileaks, Twitter post, May 24, 2018, 2:49 p.m., https://twitter.com/qatarileaks/status/999723958457921537. Qaradaghi has defended Qaradawi from accusations of supporting terrorism, though both have been vocal advocates for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.Hassan Obeid, “Qaradaghi: We support action against Houthis,” Al-Monitor, April 19, 2015, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/04/palestine-international-union-of-muslim-scholars-alqaradaghi.html. Qaradaghi holds a PhD in Islamic jurisprudence and has written dozens of books on Islamic finance. He resides in Qatar, where he is on the faculty of Qatar University.“Curriculum Vitae,” Qaradaghi.com, accessed December 4, 2018, http://www.qaradaghi.com/Details.aspx?ID=4. He also sits on the sharia advisory boards of multiple financial institutions.“Shari’ah Board,” Qatar First Bank, accessed December 6, 2018, https://www.qfb.com.qa/about-us/shariah-board/; Anjuli Davies, “High-profile Islamic finance firm Dar Al Istithmar closes,” Reuters, January 29, 2013, https://www.reuters.com/article/islamic-finance-dar/high-profile-islamic-finance-firm-dar-al-istithmar-closes-idUSL5N0AYD5C20130129; “Curriculum Vitae,” Qaradaghi.com, accessed December 4, 2018, http://www.qaradaghi.com/Details.aspx?ID=4. Qaradaghi was re-elected as secretary-general of the IUMS in November 2018.“International Union of Muslim scholars ‘rejects normalisation with Israel and calls for release of prisoners of conscience,’” Middle East Monitor, November 9, 2018, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181109-international-union-of-muslim-scholars-rejects-normalisation-with-israel-and-calls-for-release-of-prisoners-of-conscience/.
Qaradaghi’s website, www.qaradaghi.com, includes speeches, lectures, and links to his social media accounts. He is active on multiple social media platforms and professes social media plays an important role in the spread of Islam, though “jihad is the greatest way to spread Islam.”“Social media is very important to spread Islamic cause Kaynak: Social media is very important to spread Islamic cause,” Çınarın Sesi, October 16, 2018, http://www.cinarinsesi.com/social-media-is-very-important-to-spread-islamic-cause-159258h.htm.
Qaradaghi has been critical of the United States, and the West in general, over perceived anti-Muslim foreign policy. He called for a “Palestinian, Arab and Islamic uprising” against the United States after President Donald Trump’s 2017 announcement of U.S. intentions to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Hussein Qabani, “Scholars urge ‘uprising’ over Jerusalem embassy move,” Anadolu Agency, February 25, 2018, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/scholars-urge-uprising-over-jerusalem-embassy-move/1073366. Qaradaghi has accused Israel of “ongoing crimes against humanity”Idris Okuducu and Dishad Saifaalddin Ahmed, “Qatar-based Muslim group decries Israel's Gaza violence,” Anadolu Agency, May 15, 2018, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/qatar-based-muslim-group-decries-israels-gaza-violence/1146479. and labeled the United States and Israel “partners in crime.”Idris Okuducu and Dishad Saifaalddin Ahmed, “Qatar-based Muslim group decries Israel's Gaza violence,” Anadolu Agency, May 15, 2018, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/qatar-based-muslim-group-decries-israels-gaza-violence/1146479. Qaradaghi has called for the Muslim world to unite against Israel to restore pre-1948 Palestine.“Muslim scholars body urges focus on Palestinians’ right,” Anadolu Agency, May 14, 2018, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/muslim-scholars-body-urges-focus-on-palestinians-right/1144330. He has also defended Hamas as “defending the rights of the nation….”Hassan Obeid, “Qaradaghi: We support action against Houthis,” Al-Monitor, April 19, 2015, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/04/palestine-international-union-of-muslim-scholars-alqaradaghi.html. After the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, Qaradaghi excoriated Western powers for failing to side with the Turkish government, which he defended as a protector of the “weak and oppressed.”Tasneem al-Nekheli, “Muslim scholars slam western stance on Turkey coup bid,” Anadolu Agency, July 27, 2016, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/anadolu-post/muslim-scholars-slam-western-stance-on-turkey-coup-bid/616964. More than 300 people were killed during the coup attempt and the Turkish government’s subsequent military crackdown. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrested or detained more than 40,000 alleged dissidents, prompting international criticism.Thomas Grove, “Turkey Broadens Post-Coup Purge,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/alleged-coup-leaders-appear-in-court-in-ankara-1468846241; Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu, “Turkey to Release Tens of Thousands of Prisoners to Make Room for Coup Suspects,” New York Times, August 17, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/world/europe/turkey-prisoners-erdogan.html. In June 2021, Algeria held its first parliamentary election since the departure of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2019 after mass protests against his 20-year rule. On June 14, 2021, Qaradaghi criticized the “double standards” used by the international media while covering the elections in Algeria. Noting that there was only 30 percent voter turnout, he added, “if Islamists win the elections, most of the voices in media outlets would say that the voters boycotted.”“IUMS: Media has double standards when it comes to Algeria's elections,” MEMO, June 15, 2021, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210615-iums-media-has-double-standards-when-it-comes-to-algerias-elections/.
Founded in 2004 by clerics reportedly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, the IUMS has received international criticism for ties to terrorism.Ali Abdelaty and Aziz El Yaakoubi, “Islamist group rejects terrorism charge by states boycotting Qatar,” Reuters, December 1, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/gulf-qatar/islamist-group-rejects-terrorism-charge-by-states-boycotting-qatar-idUSL8N1O12V8. Former IUMS president Qaradawi is an unofficial spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.“Al-Qaradawi turns down top Brotherhood post,” Al Jazeera, January 12, 2004, http://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2004/01/2008410145045889729.html; Malek Harb and Jon Gambrell, “Arab nations add names to terror list amid Qatar dispute,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://apnews.com/0f252c487b7b431682a3555f68703eeb. Qaradaghi has described Qaradawi as a moderate opposed to extremism, though Qaradawi has been outspoken in his support of suicide bombings.“French visa ban blow to Al Qaradawi,” Gulf News, March 27, 2012, https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/qatar/french-visa-ban-blow-to-al-qaradawi-1.1000137. In 2012, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh joined the IUMS in a bid to elevate Hamas’s international profile.“Hamas Leader Haniyah Joins Emerging Network of Islamists,” AccessADL, February 10, 2012, http://accessadl.blogspot.com/2012/02/hamas-leader-haniyah-joins-emerging.html. In late 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain designated the IUMS a terrorist organization.“Doha-based Muslim scholars group slams 'terror' claims,” Anadolu Agency, December 1, 2017, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/doha-based-muslim-scholars-group-slams-terror-claims/987063. The UAE had previously designated the IUMS in 2014.“Islamist group rejects UAE terrorism designation,” Reuters, November 17, 2014, https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0J10RX20141117. Qaradaghi has defended the IUMS as focused on peace and independent of any country or NGO.Mazin Majeed Asaad Baqal and Hemn Baban, “Int'l Muslim Scholars Union opens office in N. Iraq,” Anadolu Agency, August 13, 2018, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/intl-muslim-scholars-union-opens-office-in-n-iraq/1230039. According to Qaradaghi, the IUMS grew out of the Muslim ummah (community) and rejected “extremist ideologies that have tried to hijack and distort our peaceful religion.”“Doha-based Muslim scholars group slams 'terror' claims,” Anadolu Agency, December 1, 2017, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/doha-based-muslim-scholars-group-slams-terror-claims/987063. Qaradaghi later announced the IUMS’s intention to press for legal action to overturn the designation.Agence France-Presse, “Qatar-based Muslim group to sue over 'terror' label,” The Express Tribune (Karachi), December 1, 2017, https://tribune.com.pk/story/1573955/3-qatar-based-muslim-group-sue-terror-label/.