On September 10, 2022, The Board of Trustees of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) announced the appointment of the Indonesian national Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri as its new president to complete the remaining term of former president Ahmad Al-Raysuni who resigned last month. The Qatar-funded organization noted that the election of Al-Jufri was conducted in accordance with Article 31 of the union's statue, which states that "If the position of the president becomes vacant or if an incident prevents him from performing his duty, the board of trustees chooses one of the president's deputies to be president until the general assembly is convened, and a president of the union is elected at its first meeting."
Following the union's announcement of Al-Jufri's appointment, several analysts described him as a Muslim brotherhood loyalist and argued that his election reflects the Muslim brotherhood struggle to thrive in the Arab world and in Turkey and highlights the group's intention to promote its ideology in East Asia.
Who Is Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri?
According to IUMS, Al-Jufri was born in the city of Solo (Surakarta) in central Java, Indonesia on July 17, 1954. He holds a doctorate in Islamic law from the Islamic University of Madina, Saudi Arabia. He was the Minister of Social Affairs in Indonesia, a lecturer in graduate studies at Sharif Hidayatullah public University in Jakarta and was a lecturer at the College of Sharia at the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences which is affiliated with Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia. Other positions held by Al-Jufri includes Director of the Sharia Advisory Center in Jakarta, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Bait Al Mal "Moamalat," a member of the Sharia Board of Islamic Insurance "Takaful," and a member of the Sharia Board of the National Bank in Jakarta. He was the Indonesian ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2006 to 2009.
Before and during his tenure as a deputy president of the IUMS, Al-Jufri made a limited number of appearances in which he addressed Muslim related issues including the objectives of the IUMS and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. For example, in November 2018, Al-Jufri delivered a speech at the opening session of the general assembly of the IUMS which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in which he praised IUMS founder Sheikh Youssouf Al-Qaradawi and described the IUMS as "an establishment for all Muslims and [not limited to] a minority sect, a jurisprudential school of thought, or an organized party or a state or a group. It represents and sides with Islam only."
In April 2021, Al-Jufri delivered a speech addressing the Palestinians who took part in a sit-in inside the Al-Aqsa mosque saying that the government and the people of Indonesia are with the them. In the same speech, Al-Jufri mentioned that before the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of Indonesians traveled to Jerusalem and visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque "and the objective behind that is to let the Jews know that this [Al-Aqsa] a property that belong to all Muslims and that Israel does not have the right to access this holy place." Al-Jufri then stressed that he wishes to be among those who pray in Al-Aqsa physically and "we wish and we pray to Allah to grant us martyrdom over there... This is the wish of every Muslims all over the world."
Reaction To Al-Jufri's Appointment
Analysts also described Al-Jufri, who received warm welcomes by both IUMS's former President Al-Raysouni and its Secretary-General Ali Al-Qaradaghi, as a Muslim Brotherhood loyalist whose appointment was meant to expand the group's influence in East Asia as a result of its current struggle to gain a strong foothold in the Arab world and in Turkey.
Shortly after the announcement, Ali Al-Qaradaghi posted a tweet that read: "Congratulations to the union for an Indonesian president. And congratulations to Indonesia for assuming the presidency of scholarly institution. Today, sheikh Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri was elected president for the International Union of Muslim Scholars for the remaining term of this cycle. We warmly congratulate him and we wish success in achieving the great objectives of the union."
The union's Twitter account posted a tweet under the name of the former president Al-Raysouni, who prayed to Allah to support Al-Jufri and guide him to success.
In contrast to the warm welcome, Syrian writer and political analyst Mohammed Hawaidi who has over 10,000 followers, posted a tweet on September 14, 2022, in which he noted that Al-Jufri's appointment had been decided at "a time when the Muslim Brotherhood are being cornered in the Arab world and in Turkey and that their only way out today is Indonesia which will suffer from their radical and astray ideology."
Commenting on Al-Jufri's appointment, Syrian activist and Twitter user Ali Al-Dandashi (over 167,000 followers) posted a tweet on September 14, 2022, saying: "Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri is a new tool in the hand of the Muslim Brotherhood after he was brought up on their destructive ideology and raised by them in the Islamic university in Jakarta."
Syrian TV host Rasha Hasan posted a tweet in which she connected Al-Jufri's appointment to a study conducted by Moustapha Zahran, an Egyptian expert on Islamist groups published by the UAE-based think tank TRENDS Research and Advisory on the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Indonesia and the alliances they have built with the political parties there.
Analyst Ghassan Yousef referred to the same study in a tweet posted on September 14, 2022, to highlight the danger of the appointment of Al-Jufri. He wrote: "A study published by TRENDS center stated that the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Indonesia is considered a major controversy in the Asian country because the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood contradicts the basis upon which Indonesia was established. This is where the danger of the appointment of Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri as president of the union of witchdoctors of Islam in the world comes from."
Along the same lines, Egyptian analyst Nabeel Moustapha, the former chairman for Egyptian dailies Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Youm Al-Sabi', posted a tweet on September 15, 2022 in which he wrote: "The International Union for the corrupt scholars, which is based in and funded by Qatar and listed on terrorist lists, appointed the Indonesian Habib Salim Segaf Al-Jufri as president so it would be able to expand deeply in East Asia after it has been cornered in the Arab countries. [It intends] to create new arms for the Muslim brotherhood following the deterioration the group and its arms have experienced in many countries."
 Iumsonline.org/ar/ContentDetails.aspx?ID=26287, September 10, 2022.
 Youtube.com/watch?v=UhyS1bG8Dak, November 6, 2018.
 Youtube.com/watch?v=Z9cw84xcCKc, May 1, 2022
 Twitter.com/Ali_AlQaradaghi/status/1568684437646475264, September 10, 2022.
 Twitter.com/iumsonline/status/1568649171833622529, September 10, 2022
 Twitter.com/MohammedHawaidi/status/1569930110454611968, September 14, 2022.
 Twitter.com/Alialdandashi/status/1569939176082255872, September 14, 2022.
 Twitter.com/rashasara1111/status/1569951412926431233, September 14, 2022.
 Twitter.com/ghasanyousef/status/1570110294457782273, September 14, 2022.
 Twitter.com/n_m_gaafar10/status/1570460804314693632, September 14, 2022.