Founded in 1962 by Islamic representatives from 22 countries, the Muslim World League (MWL), also called Rabita, is an Islamic non-governmental organization based in Saudi Arabia and controlled and funded by the Saudi government. Its objectives are “to disseminate Islamic Dawah and expound the teachings of Islam,” and “to defend Islamic causes in a manner that safeguards the interests and aspirations of Muslims, solves their problems, refutes false allegations against Islam, and repels inimical trends and dogma which the enemies of Islam seek to exploit in order to destroy the unity of Muslims and to sow seeds of doubt in our Muslim brethren.” All MWL leaders are of Saudi descent, and the organization's current Secretary General is Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki.
MWL promotes Wahhabism, the extremist form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s, the League's Pakistan office was run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Khalifa was the co-founder of the Benevolence International Foundation and he helped to finance Operation Bojinka, a foiled 1995 plot that would have simultaneously detonated bombs aboard eleven U.S.-bound airliners, blowing them up in mid-flight over the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
In addition, two members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell based in Boston worked at MWL’s Pakistan office. One worker, Nabil al-Marabh, number 27 on the FBI's list of wanted terrorists, was arrested by federal agents in Detroit shortly after 9/11; it was reported that he “intended to martyr himself in an attack against the United States.” The other operative, Raed Hijazi, was apprehended and tried in Jordan on charges that he planned to blow up a hotel filled with Americans and Israelis on New Year’s Eve in 2000.
In his book The Two Faces of Islam, Stephen Schwartz reports: "In 2000, the Muslim World League (a provider of funds to Osama bin Laden) hosted 100 prominent American Islamic personalities on hajj [a pilgrimmage to Mecca]. They were accompanied by a delegation of 60 Latin American 'academics and specialists.' All expenses for the latter were paid by Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the United States."
MWL at one time oversaw Rabita Trust, a now-defunct charity whose professed purpose was to give aid to Afghani refugees in Pakistan. The Trust came under investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee based on evidence that it had knowingly funded terrorist groups.
Today MWL oversees the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), one of the vehicles through which the Saudi government finances Islamic extremism and international terrorism.
In January 2006, MWL called for United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to denounce a derisive cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that had recently appeared in Danish and Norwegian newspapers. A letter sent by MWL Secretary General Al-Turki to Annan noted that Muslims around the world were offended by the cartoon and that international laws “prohibited scorning religions and other hatred-provoking practices.”
MWL is an observer member of the Organization of Islamic Conferences, an inter-governmental coalition dedicated to “liberating Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa from Zionist occupation.” MWL also has “Category A” observer status in the United Nations, and consultative status in the UN Economic and Social Council. Moreover, MWL is a member of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The League is also a founding member of the International Supreme Council for Dawah and Relief, an Islamic recruiting center based in Cairo.