QFI, funded by the Qatari government, explains on its website that the initiative was founded in response to Obama’s call in his June 2009 speech to the Arab world in Cairo, Egypt, to “create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.”
QFI claims more than 100 U.S. schools and organizations have already connected on the interactive website. The stated goal of the initiative is to “connect every school in the U.S. with the world by 2016.”
QFI, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. branch of the Qatar Foundation, founded in 1995 by Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Thani is still the group’s vice-chairman, while one of his three wives, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairs the organization’s board. Thani also launched Al Jazeera in 1996 and served as the television network’s chairman.
The Qatar foundation is also close to the Muslim Brotherhood. In January 2012, it launched the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics under the guidance of Tariq Ramadan, who serves as the center’s director. Ramadan is the grandson of the notorious founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna. Ramadan was banned from the U.S. until 2010 when the Obama administration issued him a visa to give a lecture at a New York school.
QFI, meanwhile, named several institutions after Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many regard Qaradawi as the de facto spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The foundation also instituted the Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi Scholarships and in 2009 established a research center named the Qaradawi Center for Islamic Moderation and Renewal.
Qaradawi has personally attended scores of foundation events, including conferences at which he served as a keynote speaker. Qaradawi achieved star status because of his regular sermons and interviews on Al Jazeera.
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Qardawi openly permitted the killing of American troops in Iraq and praised the “heroic deeds” of “Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades and others.”