Ismaeel Naar, Al Arabiya English
Friday, 7 February 2020
The Qatar-funded International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) released a statement following the announcement of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, describing it as an attempt at an “eradication war” and calling on the Muslim world to “use all means” to fight it.
The latest Middle East peace plan proposed a two-state solution, but in a way that Palestinians would lose large amounts of land. It was rejected outright by Palestinians, with President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas rejecting the plan with “a thousand nos.” In the rest of the Arab world, the response was more measured. While Arab leaders did not fully lambast Trump’s plan in support of Palestinians, they stressed that dialogue between parties should continue.
“The Union is closely following what is happening in the world and the consequent show of force and its exploitation, and is surprised, just as everyone was surprised, by the announcement of US President Trump’s alleged peace plan in the Middle East,” the IUMS said in an official statement following the announcement of the deal.
“The Union calls on all the free people of the world to oppose this eradication war by all means possible,” the statement read.
On the same day that the IUMS released its statement rejecting Trump’s deal, it also posted an excerpt from its founder Youssef al-Qaradawi – a Doha-based Egyptian-born cleric considered the spiritual leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group – calling on Muslims to “wage jihad and sacrifice their souls in defense of Jerusalem.”
The IUMS was established in 2004 and supported financially by Qatar. It was founded by the hardline Islamic scholar al-Qaradawi. Since November 7, 2018, Ahmed Raissouni, a Moroccan Professor of Islamic Jurist, successive al-Qaradawi as president of the IUMS.
Qaradawi is a controversial figure who landed on several Arab countries’ terror list for his advocating terrorism over the years. Egypt tried and sentenced him to death in absentia. Qaradawi has also been banned from entry in several countries, including France and the UK since 2012 after he had advocated for suicide bomb attacks against Israelis. He has also been labeled as a terrorist by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt since 2017 for his support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The IUMS has been known for issuing several controversial statements, including its recent opposition to the recent historic high-delegation visit by the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL) to the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The IUMS called the visit “an expression of unacceptable normalization with Israel” and its president Raissouni said “it is a right and an obligation to question the Holocaust.”
The peace plan unveiled by Trump and touted by his administration as the “Deal of the Century” prompted reactions from world leaders and governments around the world.
The UAE said it believes that the Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community, while Egypt called on both sides to carefully consider the plan with a view to resuming negotiations. The European Union’s top diplomat said after the announcement of the plan that the bloc remains “firm and united” behind the quest for a negotiated two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Bahrain said it supports all efforts to achieve a “just and comprehensive solution” for the Palestinian cause, thanked the US for its work on the plan, and urged the Israeli and Palestinian sides to start direct negotiations under US sponsorship.
For its part, the Arab League rejected the plan, calling it “unfair” to Palestinians.