Backgrounder: Muslim World League
Posted: May 19, 2009
The Muslim World League (MWL) is a Saudi Arabia-based international organization that promulgates a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam around the world through a large network of charities and affiliated organizations.
In recent years, the MWL's has attempted to portray itself as a broad global Islamist organization, outwardly emphasizing tolerant aspects of Islam and promoting itself as a leader in interfaith dialogue. Its ideological backbone, however, is based on an extremist interpretation of Islam and several of its affiliated groups and individuals have been linked to terror-related activity.
While the MWL has on several occasions condemned terrorism in general terms, it has a long history of providing financial support to terrorist groups or having organizational links to them, including to Hamas, Abu Sayyaf group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Jemaat al Islamiyya, and Al Qaeda.
The MWL also provides a platform for inflammatory speech, including anti-Semitism. For example, Sheik Yusef Qaradawi was invited to speak at the MWL's First International Islamic Conference on Dialogue in Mecca in June 2008. Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who openly calls for violent jihad against Jews, told the gathering he would "never sit with Jews on one platform and never hold dialogue with those Jews who have committed injustice against us and support Israel."
The organization also has a history of virulent anti-Israel rhetoric. In January 2009, in response to Israel's military action in Gaza to staunch the barrage of Hamas rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities, the MWL released a statement condemning the "Israeli Holocaust in Gaza." MWL secretary-general Abdullah al Turki also wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on behalf of the MWL on January 6, 2009, describing the Israeli operation in Gaza "as the worst form of state-sponsored terrorism ever known to the mankind."