World Assembly of Muslim Youth
|Saleh Al ash-Sheikh|
|Dr Abdullah Omar Nasseef|
|Dr. Saleh Solaiman Al-Wohaibi|
|Website||www.wamy.co.uk (English) www.wamy.org (Arabic)|
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth is an international Islamic educational organization whose stated purpose is “preserve the identity of Muslim youth and help overcome the problems they face in modern society”. Reportedly the world's largest Muslim organization, WAMY organizes conferences, symposia, educational workshops and research circles to address youth and students issues, in addition to football tournaments and European Muslim Scouts camps for Muslim youth in Europe. Along with the Muslim World League, it is part of a "worldwide network of largely Saudi-funded groups...promoting Islamic teachings and encouraging Muslims to be more religiously observant, as well as providing interested non-Muslims and recent converts with information about Islam". It maintains satellite chapters in 31 other countries and is affiliated with some 196 other Muslim youth groups on five continents.
WAMY was founded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1972 and opened offices in countries with significant Muslim populations throughout the world. WAMY was founded by Muslim Brotherhood member Kamal Helwabi who went on to serve as WAMY's executive director until 1982.
According to the Pew Research Center, "between the 1970s and 1990s, the European activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth became so intertwined that it was often difficult to tell them apart". According to Pew the influence of WAMY and MWL has waned somewhat as social media and blogs have "made it easier for other groups to reach wide audiences".
WAMY's stated aim is "to preserve the Muslim identity, to help overcome the problems Muslim youth face in modern society", and to "educate and train Muslim youth in order for them to become active and positive citizens in their countries". WAMY aims to "Introduce Islam to non-Muslims in its purest form as a comprehensive system and way of life" and "to establish a relationship of dialogue, understanding and appreciation between other faith organizations". It also aims to organize conferences, symposia, workshops and research circles to address youth and students issues. WAMY aims "to publish books, brochures, reports and exhibition material that best introduce Islam to non-Muslims in its holistic vision", and best educate the Muslim youth about their role in the societies. WAMY aims to organize exchange visits, Hajj and Umrah trips and provide training and support to Muslim youth organizations in order to help them better fulfill their objectives. Favoured books include works by Islamist authors Sayyid Qutb, Abul A'la Maududi, and Muhammad Qutb.
The WAMY UK website states that "Our aim is to build bridges of peace and unity in our multicultural society. …Through educating the Muslim youth to the common good and promoting understanding among people of different communities."
According to the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, "as a result of Saudi money and influence, both the League and the Assembly are widely regarded as promoting the strict Wahhabi brand of Islam that is prevalent in the desert kingdom".
Alleged support for terrorism
In May 2004, 50 FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided WAMY's office in the United States at Alexandria, Virginia. WAMY issued a statement saying that all of its computers and hard drives were seized in the raid, and a volunteer board member, Ibrahim Abdullah, was arrested on immigration charges. An affidavit signed by one Customs Senior Special Agent David C. Kane stated that a WAMY publication lists people who have attacked Israelis, including a man who killed 14 people by driving a bus off a cliff, as "Heroes from Palestine". Kane writes that a section of that publication, titled "Animosity Toward the Jews", lists reasons for Muslims to hate Jews, including, "The Jews are humanity's enemies: they foment immorality in this world." In a statement, WAMY strongly denied any terrorist ties and said the government had told them the probe is focused only on "immigration issues".
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