The classification of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) — which was established by the Muslim Brotherhood and supported by Qatar — and its sister organization the International Islamic Council (IIC), was a late step. Prohibiting dealing with these two organizations, especially the IUMS, should have happened sooner.
Since its inception, which coincided with the rise of Al-Qaeda, the IUMS has represented a threat to Islamic societies and moderate Islam worldwide. The IUMS was established in Qatar in 2004 while Al-Qaeda was carrying out bombings and killing people in the name of Islam. They share the same extremist ideology.
IUMS members justified violence and started an intellectual war with muftis and traditional Islamic scholars, undermining them in their home countries and ridiculing their religious edicts.
Saudi scholars from the traditional Salafi school prohibited jihadist operations since the 1990s, because such operations are carried out without state permission. This infuriated IUMS muftis, who tried to justify “martyrdom operations.” The IUMS also engaged in the destruction of major, legitimate Islamic institutions such as the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia and Al-Azhar in Egypt.
Terrorism hiding behind the guise of Islam started at the same time as the establishment of councils that issued radical religious edicts. Like Al-Qaeda and Daesh, these councils considered themselves international rather than domestic.
Al-Qaeda’s birth coincided with that of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in 1997 in London, headed by radical preacher Yusuf Qaradawi. Al-Qaeda opened branches all over the Middle East and Europe, as did radical councils and associations.
The most dangerous side of terrorism is extremist thought. As such, had it not been for religious personalities and associations incubating extremist scholars, and had it not been for Qatar offering them a base and huge funds, the birth, spread and militarization of extremist thought worldwide would not have been possible.