“Clockboy” Ahmed Mohammed and his family announced they are leaving the U.S. to live in Qatar, a country whose citizens send the largest amount of aid to terrorists in Syria. The move was spurred by 14-year-old Mohammed’s invitation to join a program for young inventors funded by a charitable organization with connections to ISIS.
The Mohammed family released the following statement Tuesday:
After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization’s on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity.
So what exactly is the Qatar Foundation, or QF?
Qatar’s former emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his wife, Sheikha Mozah, founded the immensely wealthy organization to promote educational opportunities within the emirate. Part of their efforts include the 1,000-acre Education City — with satellite campuses from Northwestern, Texas A&M, and Carnegie Mellon — which Mohammed toured earlier this month.
Qatar is Amazing!! https://t.co/alrZZ4195I
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) October 6, 2015
In addition to their educational aspirations, the Foundation has financially supported mosques that frequently host preachers who echo the foundational philosophy behind ISIS. The Daily Beast reports that the mosque located within Education City has hosted a “parade of infamous preachers,” who are notorious for their anti-Shia rhetoric.
Coincidentally, the same day an anti-Shia preacher spoke at QF’s mosque on May 29, an ISIS suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque in nearby Saudi Arabia, killing four. One week earlier, another ISIS terrorist attack at a Shia mosque in the eastern part of the country killed 21 and injured 100. The same foundation rhetorically enabling ISIS will soon be cutting Mohammed’s scholarship checks.
QF isn’t the only entity with sympathies for terrorist ideology in Qatar. There are at least 20 individuals, including government officials, who are funding terrorists and other radical militant organizations in Syria. Last December, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke out against the Qatari government amid allegations that the country was siphoning funds meant for the construction of the World Cup stadium to fund terror activity.
A report by the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance details who these funders are and how they have funded violent movements within the region. This behavior isn’t anything new either. Prominent Qataris have funded al-Qaeda for decades.
The U.S. has been trying to curb Qataris from financially supporting terrorism by slapping individuals with sanctions. The effectiveness of this approach is questionable at best since the Qatari government seems to look the other way. Geographically small and militarily weak, Qatar publicly stands up to radical militants in order to win over western countries like the U.S. and the U.K. as allies. They have provided jets in an airpower mission against ISIS, yet the government has done next to nothing to stop prominent individuals from raising support for terrorist groups in the region.
If Mohammed and his family weren’t suspiciously close to questionable characters and organizations before, they are indeed much closer now. They are moving to a country that aids terrorists while Mohammed accepts scholarship funds from an organization that regularly invites radical speakers who espouse the same beliefs spurring ISIS fighters. These changes don’t seem to align with the Mohammed family’s insistence that young Ahmed has nothing to do with radicalized sectors of the Islamic faith. If anything, it affirms the suspicions that many had voiced before.