Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, a controversial Muslim cleric who backed a fatwa authorizing the killing of American soldiers in Iraq in 2004, was promoted by the State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau on May 23. The bureau sent out a tweet to the official website of Bayyah, who currently serves as the vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), an organization that is notorious for supporting the killings of Americans and Jews. The CT Bureau has since apologized for its error and the tweet has been deleted.
The tweet sent out by the CT Bureau was linked to a press release on Bayyah’s website, condemning the recent abduction of hundreds of Nigerian girls by terror offshoot Boko Haram. However, Bayyah himself is known for having supported several controversial cases in the past and he happens to be banned from visiting the United States. For instance, Bayyah has earlier urged the United Nations to criminalize blasphemy, spoken out in favour of Hamas – the terror organization that rules over the West Bank and also issued a fatwa prohibiting all forms of normalization with Israel.
Terrorism analyst Patrick Poole said that the State Department needs to be more careful about the Muslim leaders it chooses to promote.
“This administration is continuing to push extremist clerics like Bayyah as part of a fantasy foreign policy that somehow they are a counter to al Qaeda. But in Bayyah’s case, it was his organization that issued the fatwa allowing for the killing of US soldiers in Iraq and said it was a duty for Muslims all over the world to support the Iraqi ‘resistance’ against the United States that gave religious justification for al Qaeda’s terrorism… “And Bayyah said nothing as his pal Yusuf Qaradawi issued fatwas authorizing the use of suicide bombings and publicly defended terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad… If anything, clerics like Bayyah and Qaradawi have actively aided al Qaeda,” said Poole.
In June 2013, The Obama administration came under fire after organizing a meeting with Bayyah at the White House where the cleric reportedly met with members of the National Security Council to discuss issues such as poverty and global health.
The Anti Defamation League has referred to Qaradwi, leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and founder of IUMS, where Bayyah serves as vice president, as a “theologian of terror.”
Photo Credit: Magharebia