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OBAMA AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood

When President Obama spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo last June, a large portion of his guests were leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The speech was designed to please them more than supporting the reformist movement in Egypt and across the Muslim world.

The Obama administration has hired the first White House Muslim advisor, Dalia Mogahed, who helped with writing Obama’s speech. Mogahed is herself an Islamic ideologue who supports Islamic Sharia and denies any connection between radical Islam and terrorism. Mogahed, who was born in Egypt, has also been a firm defender of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Both of these US groups are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

As an American of Egyptian origin myself, I can tell who is a reformist and who is a radical Muslim sympathizer, and I do not think that Ms. Mogahed’s views are in any way supportive of a reformation in Islam or of its concept of jihad. To the contrary, she denies the existence of any problem with Islamic ideology and she acts in total harmony with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Her excuses are the same old excuses we Egyptians learned day in and day out in defense of Islamic jihad and in blaming others for misunderstanding of Islam. Her answers are always given with total confidence and conviction, as she tells her audience that any violent actions by Muslims have nothing to do with Islam. Never mind that Islamic mosques, education, art and songs all glorify jihad as a holy war for the sake of Allah.

Mogahed brings nothing new to Islamic propaganda but she certainly sounds interesting to Americans who are unfamiliar with this same old Islamic propaganda and who find it hard to question a religion. The truth about Mogahed is that she combines the good old Muslim sheikhs rhetoric with a better presentation that Americans can understand. Sheikhs never take any kind of criticism of Islam and they ridicule those who question Islam with statements like: “Who are you to speak for Islam? Leave the analysis to the experts on Islam.” Mogahed’s logic is very similar and, coincidentally, her book is entitled: “Who Speaks for Islam.” It is a meaningless title showing statistics that are designed to show that Muslims are different and are not all terrorists, which is no news.

Of course among Muslims there are good and bad people, like in any other group. What Mohahed refuses to admit is that reputable critics of Islam have nothing against Muslim people, but they correctly decipher that the problem stems from the ideology of Islam and its scriptures and commandments. What Mogahed refuses to discuss are the actual laws of Sharia, the history of jihad, the ideology and education that produced 9/11, Islamic imperialism, oppression of human rights, women and minorities. Her answers are usually simplistic, such as the argument that Sharia cannot be bad to women because the majority of Muslim women allegedly support Sharia? The bottom line of Mogahed’s propaganda is the same old complaint: that Islam is misunderstood and that Muslim people’s anger and violence is triggered by politics and not by religion. The problem with the West is all a misunderstanding, she argues, and with some education and sensitivity training the West will accept Islam as a religion of peace. Her position in the White House has given her a powerful opportunity to enhance the standing of radical Islamist groups in the eyes of our government instead of the reformists and anti-Sharia Mulsims.

I have recently heard a former Muslim critic of Islam state that he is no longer confident that the US government will protect his civil rights as long as there are people in our government such as Mogahed and others.

The empowerment of Radical Islam under the Obama administration has also emboldened the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which is merely an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MSA has recently accelerated their efforts to silence any speakers who criticize jihad, Sharia or Radical Islam. Anti-Semitism is on the rise on our college campus, resulting in total disregard for freedom of speech aiming and the silencing of any pro-Israel speakers. This is achieved through constant unruly disruptions, such as what happened to the Ambassador of Israel, Michael Oren, at UC Irvine last February. Last October, students opposed to my views went as far as setting a fire in a bathroom next to the hall I was supposed to give my presentation in at Boston University. As a result, my lecture was cancelled.

To show more support to the Muslim brotherhood, last January, Secretary of State Clinton quietly signed an order admitting entry to the US to the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan. The controversial Ramadan was formerly banned from entering the US by the previous administration. Among those who welcomed Ramada and participated in his first public appearance in the US was none other than Dalia Mogahed.

While the Obama administration went out of its way to show goodwill to radical Muslim groups, it has consistently ignored extending any support to the reform movements across the Middle East and that includes the student reform movement in Iran. The message from the US to reformists and pro-democracy and peace groups in the Middle East is not encouraging.

I am in contact with some Muslim reformists in Egypt who believe that the Muslim Brotherhood now has a friend in the White House. Totalitarian radical leaders such as Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, calls Obama ‘our son’ and urges support for Obama as a wise leader who is of Muslim descent. I guess it is nice to have the support of radicals and dictators in the Middle East, which might temporarily save us from another 9/11, but at what cost could that be? They will never abandon their jihadist aspirations. Radical Islamists will not accept anything less than for the US to abandon Israel and they now believe that Obama will do nothing if Israel is attacked. Because of this change in US policy, the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa (from Egypt), has recently suggested improving relations with Iran as a new strategy in the region. This confirms that American power in the region is diminishing. America’s perceived weakness in the region brought by Obama will have serious and lasting consequences.

The Mulsim Brotherhood in Egypt has been empowered. This does not look good for Egypt’s future, especially at a time when Mubarak’s health is deteriorating. Egypt could fall to the Muslim Brotherhood rule, which will cement radical Islam in the whole region and which will empower Iran and radical Islam for generations to come.

President Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah, which paved the way for the radical Islamist regime to take over. Obama is falling in the same footsteps of appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood and empowering it to take over Egypt.

The next US administration might find it very hard to please the Muslim world after the pro-Islamic Obama policies. How can an American Republican President be viewed in the future by the Muslim world when he does not bow to the Saudi King like Obama? If he or she has a policy with America’s best interests being a number one priority, will he or she be called Hitler by Islamists and by our media? Are we going to cheer when Islamists throw their shoes at our future American President simply for not supporting radical Islam? Will Western media call those U.S. leaders who want to protect America racists and bigots for not accepting the Muslim Brotherhood and welcoming them to shape policy in the White House? In terms of what Obama is doing today, that is something real to think about.

Muslim Brotherhood – Know Who They Are

The Society of the Muslim Brothers, often simply, The Brotherhood or MB) is a Sunni transnational movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.[1] The world’s oldest and largest Islamic political group, it was founded in 1928, in Egypt by the schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna.

The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”. Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals, with some exceptions such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to overthrow secular Ba’athist rule in Syria (see Hama massacre). This position has been questioned, particularly by the Egyptian government, which accused the group of a campaign of killings in Egypt after World War II.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, and members have been arrested for their participation in it. As a means of circumventing the ban, supporters run for office as independents. The Egyptian government in one case responded by obstructing voters, despite Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak‘s promise to have a “free and fair election.”

Outside of Egypt, the group’s political activity has been described as evolving away from modernism and reformism towards a more traditional, “rightist conservative” stance.  For example, the Muslim Brotherhood party in Kuwait opposes suffrage for women. The Brotherhood condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks, but whether or not it has ties to terrorism is a matter of dispute. Its position on violence has also caused disputes within the movement, with advocates of violence at times breaking away to form groups such as the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Excommunication and Migration).

Among the Brotherhood’s more influential members was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was the author of one of Islamism‘s most important books, Milestones, which called for the restoration of Islam by re-establishing the Sharia and by using “physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system,” which he believed to include the entire Muslim world. While studying at university, Osama bin Laden claimed to have been influenced by the religious and political ideas of several professors with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood including both Sayyid Qutb and his brother Muhammad Qutb. However, once Al Qaeda was fully organized, they denounced the Muslim Brotherhood’s reform through nonviolence and accused them of “betraying the cause of Islam and abandoning their ‘jihad’ in favour of forming political parties and supporting modern state institutions”.

The Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions are from members who live in oil-rich countries

In the group’s belief, the Quran and Sunna constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The MB goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia. It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam. The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim nations during the early 20th century.

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam very traditionally. Its founder called for “a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior,” “segregation of male and female students,” a separate curriculum for girls, and “the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes…” The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree.

Organization

From transcripts the following hierarchical Organisation structure can be derived:

  • The General Organisational Conference is the highest body of the Ikhwans stemming from the Ikhwans bases, every Usra elects one or two deputies according to its number.
  • The Shura Council has the duties of planning, charting general policies and programs that achieve the goal of the Group. Its resolutions are binding to the Group and only the General Organisational Conference can modify or annul them and the Shura Office has also the right to modify or annul resolutions of the Executive Office. It follows the implementation of the Group policies and programs. It directs the Executive Office and it forms dedicated branch committees to assist in that.[24]
  • Executive Office (Guidance Office) with its leader the General Masul (General Guide) and its members, both appointed by the Shura Office, has to follow up and guide the activities of the General Organisation. It submits a periodical report to the Shura Council about its work and of the activity of the domestic bodies and the general organisations. It distributes its duties to its members according to the internal bylaws.

It has the following divisions : – Executive leadership – Organisational office – Secretariat general – Education office – Political office – Sisters office

In each country there is a Branch committee with a Masul (leader) appointed by the General Executive leadership with essentially the same Branch-divisions as the Executive office has. To the duties of every branch belong fundraising, infiltrating in and overtaking other Muslim organisations for the sake of uniting the Muslims to dedicate them to the general goals of the MB.

The general goals and strategic plans of the MB are only found in Arabic documents. One for Europe called “The Project” was found in 2001 in Switzerland, another for North America was found in 2005 called the “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” An evaluation of this Memorandum was made for the US-Congress and for the Pentagon. Their influence is fast growing, especially in Europe, but not easy to trace while the active members have to keep their membership secret.

One citation from the document “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” makes the objectives of the MB clear: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Main Activity-plan

The main goals on mid-term as approved by the Executive office and the Shura Council are formulated in a 5-year action plan derived from transcripts:

Primary goals

  • reinstatement of the caliphate and reunite the “dar el Islam“.
  • Strengthening the internal structure
  • Administrative discipline
  • Recruitment and settlement of the Dawa’a
  • Energizing the organisations work
  • Energizing political work fronts (e.g. in civil political organisations)

Secondary goals

  • Finance and Investment
  • Foreign relations
  • Reviving Woman’s activity
  • Political awareness to the members of the Group
  • Securing the group (To find out if they are being monitored, and if, how they can get rid of them)
  • Dawa’ah (the lecture/speech of religion)
  • Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
  • Taking advantage of human potentials (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organisations)

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company. It began as a religious, political, and social movement with the credo, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Al-Banna called for the return to an original Islam and followed Islamic reformers like Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. According to him, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by Allah that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems.

The Brotherhood also saw itself as a political and social movement . Al-Banna strived to be a populist. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed to want to protect the workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. However, in addition to holding conservative views on issues such as women’s rights, it was from the start extremely hostile to independent working-class and popular organisations such as trade unions.[31] This is disputed however by William Cleveland, who points out that the Muslim Brotherhood became involved with the labour movement early on, and supported efforts to create trades unions and unemployment benefits.

By 1936, it had 800 members, then this number increased greatly to up to 200,000 by 1938. By 1948, the Brotherhood had about half a million members. Robin Hallett says: “By the late 1940s the Brotherhood was reckoned to have as many as 2 million members, while its strong Pan-Islamic ideas had gained its supporters in other Arab lands”. The Muslim Brotherhood also tried to build up something like an Islamist International, thus founding groups in Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), and Transjordan (1946). It also recruited among the foreign students in Cairo. Its headquarters in Cairo became a center and meeting place for representatives from the whole Muslim world.

Underground links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and democracy in Western societies generally.

In November 1948 police seized an automobile containing the documents and plans of what was thought to be the Brotherhood’s “secret apparatus” (its military wing) with names of its members. The seizure was preceded by an assortment of bombings and assassination attempts by the apparatus. Subsequently 32 of its leaders were arrested and its offices raided. The next month the Egyptian Prime Minister of Egypt, Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, ordered the dissolution of the Brotherhood.

In what is thought to be retaliation for these acts, a member of the Brotherhood, veterinary student Abdel Meguid Ahmed Hassan, assassinated the Prime Minister on December 28, 1948. A month and half later Al-Banna himself was killed in Cairo by men believed to be government agents and/or supporters of the murdered premier.

The Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954 when it was convicted of the attempt to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian government. The group had denied involvement in the incident and accused the government of staging the incident to use it as a pretext to persecute the group and its members. On this basis from 1954 until Nasser’s death in 1970, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were systemically tortured under Nasser’s secular regime, highlighted in Zainab al Ghazali‘s Return of the Pharaoh. Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, promised the Brotherhood that shari’a would be implemented as the Egyptian law and released all of the Brotherhood prisoners. However, as a result of Sadat signing the peace agreement with Israel in 1979, an Islamic group other than the Brotherhood assassinated Sadat in September, 1981.

The Brotherhood is still periodically subjected to mass arrests. It remains an extreme opposition group in Egypt, advocating Islamic reform, democratic system and maintaining a vast network of support through Islamic charities working among poor Egyptians. The political direction it has been taking lately has tended towards more moderate Islamism and Islamic Democracy, somewhat more anti-Western than and a degree to right of Turkey‘s ruling Justice and Development Party.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s candidates, who had to run as independents due to their illegality as a political party, won 88 seats (20% of the total) to form the largest opposition bloc. The electoral process was marred by many irregularities, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. One observer, Jameel Theyabi, writing in an op-ed for Dar Al-Hayat, noted that a December 2006 Muslim Brotherhood military parade and the “wearing of uniforms, displaying the phrase, ‘We Will be Steadfast’, and the drills involving martial arts, betray the group’s intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of ‘secret cells’….” .

Of course, the huge gains in the 2005 parliamentary elections allowed the Brotherhood to pose “a democratic political challenge to the regime, not a theological one” . Initially, there has been widespread skepticism regarding the movement’s commitment to use its influence to push Egypt forward towards a democratic state. For instance, briefly after the elections Sameh Fawzy remarked in the Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper, “If the Muslim Brotherhood were in a position to enforce its ideological monopoly, the vast majority of the populace would face severe restrictions on its freedom of opinion and belief, not just on religious matters, but on social, political, economic and cultural affairs as well”  However, considering its actions in the Egyptian parliament since 2005, it appears that those skeptics misjudged the movement’s scope. In an article for the Middle East Report Samer Shehata from Georgetown University and Joshua Stacher from the British University in Egypt claim that, in fact, it was the Muslim Brotherhood that revived a parliament that till then had “a reputation for being a rubber stamp for the regime” . First of all, according to their observations, the movement did not simply “focus on banning books and legislating the length of skirts” . Instead, the movement’s involvement shows attempts to reform the political system. Unlike other MPs, those associated with the Brotherhood took their parliamentary duties very seriously as an “unmatched record of attendance”  already shows. Moreover, they also took their role as members of the opposition to the ruling NDP quite seriously. A significant example is the creation of a considerable opposition to the extension of the emergency law when MPs associated with the Brotherhood “formed a coalition with other opposition legislators and with sympathetic members of the NDP, to protest the extension” . The overall involvement leads Shehata and Stacher to the conclusion that the Brotherhood has convincingly attempted to transform “the Egyptian parliament into a real legislative body, as well as an institution that represents citizens and a mechanism that keeps government accountable”.

Meanwhile, approved opposition parties won only 14 seats. This revived the debate within the Egyptian political elite about whether the Brotherhood should remain banned.

Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East

Bahrain

In Bahrain, the Muslim Brotherhood is represented by the Al Eslah Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. Following parliamentary elections in 2002, Al Menbar became the joint largest party with eight seats in the forty seat Chamber of Deputies. Prominent members of Al Menbar include Dr Salah Abdulrahman, Dr Salah Al Jowder, and outspoken MP Mohammed Khalid. The party has generally backed government sponsored legislation on economic issues, but has sought a clamp down on pop concerts, sorcery and soothsayers. It has strongly opposed the government’s accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party’s view they should be “beheaded”.

Municipal councillor, Dr Salah Al Jowder, has campaigned against people being able to look into other people’s houses, changing the local by-laws in Muharraq to ensure that all new buildings are fitted with one way glass to prevent residents being able to see out. Although a competitor with the salafist Asalah party, it seems likely that Al Menbar will opt for a political alliance in 2006s election to avoid splitting the Sunni Islamist vote.

Syria

Main article: History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria

Muslim Brotherhood in Syria was founded in the 1930s (according to lexicorient.com) or in 1945, a year before independence from France, (according to journalist Robin Wright (author)). In the first decade or so of independence it was part of the legal opposition, and in the 1961 parliamentary elections it won ten seats. But after the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power it was banned. It played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based resistance movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath Party, (since 1970, it has been dominated by the Alawite Assad family, adding a religious element to its conflict with the Brotherhood). This conflict developed into an armed struggle that continued until culminating in the Hama uprising of 1982, when the rebellion was bloodily crushed by the military.

Since then, the Brotherhood has ceased to be an active political force inside Syria, but it retains a network of support in the country, of unknown strength, and has external headquarters in London and Cyprus. In recent years it has renounced violence and adopted a reformist platform, calling for the establishment of a pluralistic, democratic political system. The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, who lives as a political refugee in London.

Membership in the Syrian Brotherhood became a capital offence in Syria in the 1980 (under Emergency Law 49) and remains so, but the headquarters of the MB-linked Palestinian group, Hamas, is located in the Syria’s capital Damascus, where it is given Syrian government support. This is seen by some as an example of the lack of international centralization or even coordination of the MB.]

Palestinian territories

‘Abd al-Rahman al-Banna, brother of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, went to Palestine and established the Muslim Brotherhood there in 1935. A local nationalist, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini (see article under Mohammad Amin al-Husayni), eventually appointed by the British as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in hopes of accommodating him, was the leader of the group in Palestine. Another important leader associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine was ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam, an inspiration to Islamists because he had been the first to lead an armed resistance in the name of Palestine against the British in 1935.[47] Under these leaders, many moderate local Arab leaders were assassinated, including King Abdullah I of Jordan, and, from 1921 on, numerous terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Jews, amongst which was the murder of 67 religious Jews, men, women and children, and wounding of many others, in the 1929 Hebron massacre. Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini led a general uprising against the British from 1936 to 1939; as a Nazi ally he spent the Second World War in Nazi Germany and advocated for and aided their annihilation of the Jews.[48] In 1945, the group established a branch in Jerusalem, and by 1947 twenty-five more branches had sprung up, in towns such as Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Nablus, and Tulkarm, which total membership between 12,000 to 20,000.

Brotherhood members fought alongside the Arab armies during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and, after Israel’s creation, the ensuing Palestinian refugee crisis encouraged more Palestinian Muslims to join the group. After the war, in the West Bank, the group’s activity was mainly social and religious, not political, so it had relatively good relations with Jordan, which was in control of the West Bank after 1950. In contrast, the group frequently clashed with the Egyptian regime that controlled the Gaza Strip until 1967.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood’s goal was “the upbringing of an Islamic generation” through the restructuring of society and religious education, rather than Palestine’s liberation from Israel, and so it lost popularity to national resistance movements. Eventually, however, the Brotherhood was strengthened by several factors:

1. The creation of al-Mujamma’ al-Islami, the Islamic Center in 1973 by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin had a centralizing effect that encapsulated all religious organizations.

2. The Muslim Brotherhood Society in Jordan and Palestine was created from a merger of the branches in the West Bank and Gaza and Jordan.

3. Palestinian disillusion with the liberation front caused them to become more open to alternatives.

4. The Islamic Revolution in Iran offered inspiration to Palestinians. The Brotherhood was able to increase its efforts in Palestine and avoid being dismantled like national resistance groups because it did not focus on the occupation. While national resistance groups were being dismantled, the Brotherhood filled the void.

After the 1967 Six Day War, as Israel’s occupation started, Israel may have looked to cultivate political Islam as a counterweight to Fatah, the main secular Palestinian nationalist political organization.[52][53] Between 1967 and 1987, the year Hamas was founded, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600, and the Muslim Brotherhood named the period between 1975 and 1987 a phase of ‘social institution building.’ The Brotherhood was able to spread its ideology in six important ways. It established associations, used zakat (alms giving) for aid to poor Palestinians, promoted schools, provided students with loans, used waqf (religious endowments) to lease property and employ people, and established mosques. The establishment of mosques was the most effective, because it built hundreds of mosques in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1967 and 1987 and could use them for political and recruitment purposes.  Likewise, antagonistic and sometimes violent opposition to Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and other secular nationalist groups increased dramatically in the streets and on university campuses.

The Brotherhood’s downfall was its failure to fight the Israeli occupation, but the Intifada changed the Brotherhood’s position and Hamas was established. The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood, formed out of Brotherhood-affiliated charities and social institutions that had gained a strong foothold among the local population. During the First Intifada (1987–93), Hamas militarized and transformed into one of the most violent Palestinian militant groups.

Israel

Main article: Islamic Movement in Israel

The Muslim Brotherhood in Israel -the Islamic Movement- is divided between the southern and northern branches. The southern branch is represented in the Knesset, Israel‘s parliament while the northern radical branch boycotts Israeli elections.

Jordan

The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1942, and is a strong factor in Jordanian politics. While most political parties and movements were banned for a long time in Jordan such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Brotherhood was exempted and allowed to operate by the Jordanian monarchy. The Jordanian Brotherhood has formed its own political party, the Islamic Action Front, which has the largest number of seats of any party in the Jordanian parliament.

Iran

Although Iran is a predominately Shia country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. Navab Safavi, who founded Fadaian Islam, (also Fedayeen of Islam, or Fadayan-e Islam), an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, “was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood.” From 1945 to 1951 the Fadain assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They including anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj-Ali Razm-Ara, former Premier Abdul-Hussein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh

At that time Navab Safavi was an associate and ally of Ayatollah Khomeini who went on to become a figure in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Safavi is thought to have influenced Khomeini with the ideas of the Brotherhood Khomeini and other religious figures in Iran worked to establish Islamic unity and downplay Shia-Sunni differences.

Iraq

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood,[ but was banned from 1961 during the nationalist rule of Abd al-Karim Qasim. As government repression hardened under the Baath Party from February 1963, the group was forced to continue underground. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, the Islamic Party has reemerged as one of the main advocates of the country’s Sunni community. It has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but participates in the political process. Its leader is Tariq Al-Hashimi.

Also, in the north of Iraq there are several Islamic movements inspired by or part of the Muslim Brotherhood network. The Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) holds seats in the Kurdish parliament, as is the main political force outside the dominance of the two main secularist parties, the PUK and KDP.

Saudi Arabia

The Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of Islam and Islamic politics differs from the strict Salafi creed, Wahhabiyya, officially held by the state of Saudi Arabia. Despite this, the Brotherhood has been tolerated by the Saudi government, and maintains a presence in the country.[citation needed] Aside from tolerating the Brotherhood organization[citation needed], and according to Washington Post report, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef has denounced the Brotherhood, saying it is guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and is “the source of all problems in the Islamic world.”

Kuwait

The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait is represented in the Kuwaiti parliament by Hadas.

Muslim Brotherhood in Africa

Algeria

The Muslim Brotherhood reached Algeria during the later years of the French colonial presence in the country (1830–1962). Sheikh Ahmad Sahnoun led the organization in Algeria between 1953 and 1954 during the French colonialism. Brotherhood members and sympathizers took part in the uprising against France in 1954–1962, but the movement was marginalized during the largely secular FLN one-party rule which was installed at independence in 1962. It remained unofficially active, sometimes protesting the government and calling for increased Islamization and Arabization of the country’s politics.

When a multi-party system was introduced in Algeria in the early 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood formed the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP, previously known as Hamas), led by Mahfoud Nahnah until his death in 2003 (he was succeeded by present party leader Boudjerra Soltani). The Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria did not join the Front islamique du salut (FIS), which emerged as the leading Islamist group, winning the 1991 elections and which was banned in 1992 following a military coup d’état, although some Brotherhood sympathizers did. The Brotherhood subsequently also refused to join the violent post-coup uprising by FIS sympathizers and the Armed Islamic Groups (GIA) against the Algerian state and military which followed, and urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a return to democracy. It has thus remained a legal political organization and enjoyed parliamentary and government representation. In 1995, Sheikh Nahnah ran for President of Algeria finishing second with 25.38% of the popular vote. During the 2000s, the party—led by Nahnah’s successor Boudjerra Soltani – has been a member of a three-party coalition backing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Sudan

Until the election of Hamas in Gaza, Sudan was the one country were the Brotherhood was most successful in gaining power, its members making up a large part of the government officialdom following the 1989 coup d’état by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Always close to Egyptian politics, Sudan has had a Muslim Brotherhood presence since 1949. In 1945, a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt visited Sudan and held various meetings inside the country advocating and explaining their ideology. Sudan has a long and deep history with the Muslim Brotherhood compared to many other countries. By April 1949, the first branch of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood organization emerged. However, simultaneously, many Sudanese students studying in Egypt were introduced to the ideology of the Brotherhood. The Muslim student groups also began organizing in the universities during the 1940s, and the Brotherhood’s main support base has remained to be college educated. In order to unite them, in 1954, a conference was held, attended by various representatives from different groups that appeared to have the same ideology. The conference voted to establish a Unified Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood Organization based on the teachings of Imam Hassan Al-banna.

An offshoot of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Charter Front grew during the 1960, with Islamic scholar Hasan al-Turabi becoming its Secretary general in 1964. The Islamic Charter Front (ICM) was renamed several times most recently being called the National Islamic Front (NIF). Turabi has been the prime architect of the NIF as a modern Islamist party. He worked within the Institutions of the government, which led to a prominent position of his organization in the country. NIF supported women’s right to vote and ran women candidates. The Muslim Brotherhood/NIF’s main objective in Sudan was to Islamize the society “from above” and to institutionalize the Islamic law throughout the country where they succeeded.

The Brotherhood penetrated into the ruling political organizations, the state army and security personal, the national and regional assemblies, the youth and women organizations of Sudan. They also launched their own mass organizations among the youth and women such as the shabab al-binna, and raidat al-nahda, and launched educational campaigned to Islamize the communities throughout the country. At the same time, they gained control of several newly founded Islamic missionary and relief organizations to spread their ideology. The Brotherhood members took control of the newly established Islamic Banks as directors, administrators, employees and legal advisors, which became a source of power for the Brotherhood.

The Sudanese government has come under considerable criticism for its human rights policies, links to terrorist groups, and war in southern Sudan and Darfur.

See also: Darfur conflict, Second Sudanese Civil War, and Human rights in Sudan

The conservatism of at least some elements of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood was highlighted in an August 3, 2007 Al-Jazeera television interview of Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed. As translated by the Israeli-based MEMRI, Bin Al-Majed told his interviewer that “the West, and the Americans in particular … are behind all the tragedies that are taking place in Darfur,”

Main article: Darfur Conflict

as they “realized that it Darfur is full of treasures”; that “Islam does not permit a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims;” and that he had issued a fatwa prohibiting the vaccination of children, on the grounds that the vaccinations were “a conspiracy of the Jews and Freemasons.”

Somalia

Somalia’s wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is known by the name Harakat Al-Islah or “Reform Movement”. Nonetheless, the Brotherhood, as mentioned earlier, has inspired many Islamist organizations in Somalia. Muslim Brotherhood ideology reached Somalia in the 1960s, but Al-Islah movement was formed in 1978 and slowly grew in the 1980s. Al-Islah has been described as “a generally nonviolent and modernizing Islamic movement that emphasizes the reformation and revival of Islam to meet the challenges of the modern world,” whose “goal is the establishment of an Islamic state” and which “operates primarily in Mogadishu.”

The founders of the Islah Movement are: Sh. Mohamed Ahmed Nur, Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Abdi, Sh. Ahmed Rashid Hanafi, and Sh. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. The organization structured itself loosely and was not openly visible on the political scene of Somali society.

They chose to remain a secret movement fearing the repressive regime of Siad Barre. However, they emerged from secrecy when the regime collapsed in 1991 and started working openly thereafter. Most Somalis were surprised to see the new group they had never heard of, which was in the country since 1970s in secrecy.

According to the Islah by-law, every five years the organization has to elect its Consultative (Shura) Council which elects the Chairman and the two Vice-chairman. During the last 30 years, four chairmen were elected. These are Sheikh Mohamed Geryare (1978–1990), Dr. Mohamed Ali Ibrahim (1990–1999), Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed (1999–2008) and Dr. Ali Bashi Omar Roraye (2008–2013).

Dr. Ali bashi is a medical doctor, a former university professor and a member of the transitional parliament (2000–2008). During the 1990s, Al-Islah devoted much effort to humanitarian efforts and providing free basic social services.

The leaders of Al-Islah played a key role in the educational network and establishing Mogadishu University. Through their network, they educate more than 120,000 students in the city of Mogadishu. Many other secondary schools such as the University of East Africa in Bosasso, Puntland, are externally funded and administered through organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic organization Al-Islah. In Somalia, they are known to be a peaceful organization that does not participate in any factional fighting and rejects the use of violence.

Today the group’s membership includes urban professionals and students. According to a Crisis Group Report, Somalia’s Islamists, “Al-Islah organization is dominated by a highly educated urban elite whose professional, middle class status and extensive expatriate experiences are alien to most Somalis.”

Although Al-Islah have been criticized by some hardcore Islamists who considered them to be influenced by imperialist western values, Al-Islah speaks of democratic peaceful Somalia. They promote women’s rights, human rights, and other ideas, which they argue that these concepts originate from Islamic concepts. Al-Islah is gaining momentum in the Somali societies for their humanitarian work and moderate view of Islam.

Tunisia

Like their counterparts elsewhere in the Islamic world in general, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has influenced the Tunisia’s Islamists. One of the notable organization that was influenced and inspired by the Brotherhood is Al-Nahda (The Revival or Renaissance Party), which is Tunisia’s 2nd major Islamist grouping after Hizb ut-Tahrir. An Islamist named Rashid Ghannouchi founded the organization in 1981. While studying in Damascus and Paris, Rashid Ghannouchi embraced the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he disseminated on his return to Tunisia.

Libya

Libya was one of the first countries outside Egypt to have a Brotherhood cell. In the late 1940s when the Egyptian members were being prosecuted, King Idris I of Libya offered the Brotherhood refuge and the freedom to spread their ideology. In 1955, the University of Libya was established in Benghazi, near the Egyptian border, and it drew many Egyptian teachers and lecturers including MB members. The Muslim Brotherhood was able to influence a large number of Libyan students during this period.

Dr. Ezzudine Ibrahim was one of the most influential founders of the Brotherhood in Libya. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood was a religious and intellectual tendency in Libya and had many followers amongst the intellectuals and students in the university campuses, and by the mid 1970s it developed a structured Brotherhood organization. The Brotherhood in Libya limited itself to peaceful social, political, economic, and cultural activities.

Soon after coming to power, Muammar al-Gaddafi regarded the Brotherhood a potential source of opposition. He arrested many Egyptian Brothers and expelled them back to Egypt. In 1973, the security services arrested and tortured members of the Libyan Brotherhood banning the organization and forcing it underground. The secrecy phase helped the Brotherhood to become more popular. The Brotherhood operated secretly in groups of interlinked cells, which was spread in the country. The brotherhood remained underground until the end of 1970s. At the beginning of 1980s, the Brotherhood renamed itself the “Libyan Islamic Group” (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya al-Libyia) and tried to re-introduce themselves into the Libyan society. On March 2, 2006, the Libyan government released 132 members of the Muslim Brotherhood that were held as political prisoners.

Their core ideology, strategy, operations and membership are the same as Brotherhood groups in other countries: it seeks to replace the existing regime with one following Sharia law through what it claims are peaceful means. It has an active charitable and welfare wing and has attracted many members of the middle classes, mainly academics, students, engineers and business people. The group has been strengthened by the large number of Libyan students who became member or supporters of the Brotherhood while studying abroad in the United Kingdom and the United States, and have returned home to spread its ideology.

Muslim Brotherhood in the West

United States

The Muslim Brotherhood has been active in the US since the 1960s. Its stated goals have included propagating Islam and creating havens for Muslims in the US, and integrating Muslims. A main strategy has been dawah or Islamic renewal and outreach. In the 1960s, groups such as U.S. military personnel, prison inmates and African-Americans were specifically targeted for dawah. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the USA is

The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a “Civilization-Jihadist” process with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.

Organizations in the US started by activists involved with the Muslim Brotherhood include the Muslim Students Association in 1963, North American Islamic Trust in 1971, the Islamic Society of North America in 1981, the American Muslim Council in 1990, the Muslim American Society in 1992, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought in the 1980s. According to the Washington Post, Muslim activists say MSA’s members represent “all schools of Islam and political leanings – many are moderates, while others express anti-U.S. views or support resistance against Israelis.”

The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release as evidence of  several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood. One of these documents, dated in 1991, explains that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is “settlement”, defined by the author as a form of jihad aimed at destroying Western civilization from within and allowing for the victory of Islam over other religions. In another one of these documents, “Ikhwan in America”, the author alleges that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as Special work by the Muslim Brotherhood), as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group). In November 2008 the Holy Land Foundation was found guilty of illegally funding Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group.

Criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood

Motives

Numerous officials and reporters question the sincerity of the MB’s pronouncements. These critics include, but are not limited to:

  • U.S. White House counterterrorism chief Juan Zarate under George W. Bush, who says “The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians.”
  • Raymond Ibrahim, editor of The Al Qaeda Reader, who notes that Muhammad himself described war as “deceit” and that Muslim Brotherhood disciples, past and present, merely duplicate the “everlasting words of Allah,” as iterated in the Qur’an.
  • Miles Axe Copeland, Jr. -a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan- divulges the confessions of numerous members of the Muslim brotherhood that resulted from the harsh interrogations done against them by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, for their alleged involvement in the assassination attempt made against Nasser (an assassination attempt that many believe was staged by Nasser himself ), which revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood was merely a “guild” that fulfilled the goals of western interests: “Nor was that all. Sound beatings of the Moslem Brotherhood organizers who had been arrested revealed that the organization had been thoroughly penetrated, at the top, by the British, American, French and Soviet intelligence services, any one of which could either make active use of it or blow it up, whichever best suited its purposes. Important lesson: fanaticism is no insurance against corruption; indeed, the two are highly compatible.” .
  • Douglas Farah, a veteran international reporter who describes current Muslim Brotherhood propaganda as a “charm offensive.”
  • Former U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross, who told Asharq Alawsat newspaper that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global, not a local organization, governed by a Shura (Consultative) Council, which rejects cessation of violence in Israel, and supports violence to achieve its political objectives elsewhere too.
  • Magdy Khalil, executive editor of Egypt’s Watani International, who reports consistent MB deceit concerning Egypt’s 12.5% Coptic Christian population, so as to oppress and dhimmify them.
  • The Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz has stated that the Muslim Brotherhood organization was the cause of most problems in the Arab world. ‘The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia,’ he said. Prince Naif accused the foremost Islamist group in the Arab world of harming the interests of Muslims. ‘All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood. We have given too much support to this group…” “The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world,’ he said. ‘Whenever they got into difficulty or found their freedom restricted in their own countries, Brotherhood activists found refuge in the Kingdom which protected their lives… But they later turned against the Kingdom…’ The Muslim Brotherhood has links to groups across the Arab world, including Jordan’s main parliamentary opposition, the ‘Islamic Action Front,’ and the ‘Palestinian resistance movement, ‘Hamas.” The Interior Minister’s outburst against the Brotherhood came amid mounting criticism in the United States of Saudi Arabia’s longstanding support for Islamist groups around the world…”

Links to violence

  • The Brotherhood is widely believed to have had a “secret apparatus” responsible for attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1948[84] and the president of Egypt in 1981
  • Rachel Aspden‘s article, The Rise of the Brotherhood states that The Muslim Brotherhood currently advocates suicide bombing attacks on civilians to fight Zionism, and its self-admitted Palestinian wing Hamas indiscriminately targets Jews as such, both civilians and the military, in Israel.[86] In its Charter, Hamas cites The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and prophesizes the ultimate complete annihilation of Jewry.
  • Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff reported connections between al-Qaeda and Brotherhood figures Mamoun Darkazanli and Youssef Nada.
  • A similar article in the Financial Times reported financial links between 74-year-old Swiss Muslim convert, and businessman Ahmed Huber, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, notably Youssef Nada, Ali Ghaleb Himmat. According to the U.S. government, Al Taqwa “has long acted as financial advisers to al-Qaeda.” Huber is noted in Europe for his links with alleged neo-Nazi and other far right elements. He is reported to have “confirmed” having “had contact with associates of Osama bin Laden at an Islamic conference in Beirut,” whom he called `very discreet, well-educated, very intelligent people.
  • Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi was an influential lobbyist and founder and head of the Brotherhood-linked American Muslim Council before being convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison for conspiracy to murder Saudi Prince Abdullah at the behest of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Status of non-Muslims

  • In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt’s Coptic Christians should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, “we do not mind having Christians members in the People’s Assembly…the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country…This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy.”
  • The Muslim Brotherhood has from its beginnings had a very hostile view of Jews, considering them amongst the ultimate enemies of Islam. The influence of Nazi propaganda and literature from the 1930s and 40s has deepened this view.

Response to criticism

The Brotherhood itself denounces the “catchy and effective terms and phrases” like “fundamentalist” and “political Islam” which it claims are used by “Western Media” to pigeonhole the group, and points to its “15 Principles” for an Egyptian National Charter, including “freedom of personal conviction… opinion… forming political parties… public gatherings… free and fair elections…”

Similarly, some analysts maintain that whatever the source of modern Jihadi terrorism and the actions and words of some rogue members, the Brotherhood now has little in common with radical Islamists and modern jihadists who often condemn the Brotherhood as too moderate. They also deny the existence of any centralized and secretive global MB leadership. Some claim that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology.

The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?

Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi

  • The Muslim Brotherhood is increasingly at the center of a heated political controversy in the U.S. and among its Western allies. Foreign Affairs, an important weathervane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, featured in its March-April issue an article by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood had become a moderate organization.
  • The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British House of Commons issued a report in the summer of 2007 concluding: “As long as the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a commitment to the democratic process and non-violence, we recommend that the British Government should engage with it and seek to influence its members.” Ironically, while prominent voices in the West are calling for a new political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Arab world many serious analysts warn about its continuing violent nature and global ambitions.
  • At a meeting of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Egyptian Parliament held in January 2007, Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Mohammed Shaker Sanar openly admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not committed to Western democratic values. He said that nothing about the organization had changed. “The organization was founded in 1928 to reestablish the Caliphate destroyed by Ataturk….With Allah’s help [the Muslim Brotherhood] will institute the law of Allah.”
  • This year, newly revealed federal court documents that were accepted into evidence during the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation revealed further the inner thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood about its global mission. A sixteen-page Arabic document discloses: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.”
  • The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West which will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. As far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.

The Muslim Brotherhood is increasingly at the center of a heated political controversy in the U.S. and among its Western allies. On April 23, Newsweek speculated about whether the attendance of a Muslim Brotherhood leader at a diplomatic party held by the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Francis Ricciardone, might signal a shift in the Bush administration’s policy toward the worldwide radical Islamic movement. Indeed, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also had a brief exchange with the Muslim Brotherhood member at the event, where he heard a brief rationalization of the policies of Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood branch that has engaged in suicide bombing attacks and is recognized as an international terrorist organization.

Finally, Foreign Affairs, an important weathervane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, featured in its March-April issue an article by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood had become a moderate organization.1 The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which seeks to reach out and influence the American political system posted on its website the Foreign Affairs piece on the Muslim Brotherhood. And James Traub echoed many of their arguments in the New York Times Magazine on April 29, 2007, in which he claimed that “the Muslim Brotherhood, for all its rhetorical support of Hamas, could well be precisely the kind of moderate Islamic body that the administration says it seeks.”

The opening of a relationship between Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood would represent a major reversal in U.S. policy in the war on terrorism. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood has been widely regarded in the Arab world as the incubator of the jihadist ideology that led to the rise of radical Islamic militant organizations. A former Kuwaiti Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab’i, argued in Al-Sharq al-Awsat on July 25, 2005, that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from “the mantle” of the Muslim Brotherhood.2 A recently disclosed British Foreign Office memo from January 17, 2006, which was leaked to The New Statesman, indeed admitted, “The Egyptian Government perceives the Muslim Brotherhood to be the political face of a terrorist organization.”

Ironically, while prominent voices in the West are considering opening a political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Middle East many columnists are still warning about its hostile intentions. Thus, Tariq Hasan, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, alerted his readers on June 23, 2007, that the Muslim Brotherhood was preparing a violent takeover in Egypt, using its “masked militias” in order to replicate the Hamas seizure of power in the Gaza Strip.3 And writing on October 23, 2007, in the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat, columnist Hussein Shobokshi wrote that “to this day” the Muslim Brotherhood “has brought nothing but fanaticism, divisions, and extremism, and in some cases bloodshed and killings.” Thus, both Arab regimes and leading opinion-makers in Arab states still have serious reservations about the claim of a new moderation in the Muslim Brotherhood.

There are understandable reasons why Arab regimes reach such conclusions; Abdullah Azzam, the teacher and mentor of Osama bin Laden, was a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. Bin Laden’s current deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was heavily influenced by the ideology of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.4 And Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait in his youth.5 Even in recent years the Muslim Brotherhood’s publication in London, Risalat al-Ikhwan, maintained its jihadist orientation; it featured at the top of its cover page in 2001 the slogan, “Our mission: world domination” (siyadat al-dunya). This header was changed after 9/11, but the publication still carried the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto which includes: “jihad is our path; martyrdom is our aspiration.”

Despite this unambiguous historical record, parts of the U.S. intelligence establishment have in the past entertained working with the Muslim Brotherhood. Robert Baer, who was a CIA case officer in the Middle East for its Directorate of Operations, describes how the CIA’s station chief in Khartoum, Milton Beardon, did not reject the idea of working with members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood in order to topple the Libyan leader, Mu’ammar Qaddafi.6 In 1986, Bearden would go on to become the CIA station chief in Islamabad, where he became instrumental in working with the most militant Afghan mujahideen, many of whom were allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadi groups, in their war against the Soviet Union.7

In 2005, after his retirement, Bearden would join other ex-intelligence officials, like Alastair Crooke, from Britain’s MI-6, in seeking to launch a dialogue in Beirut with radical fundamentalist groups, including the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, and Hamas.8 Thus even though the work of Western intelligence agencies in the 1980s produced the “blowback” that was witnessed with the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s, there has been a constant school of thought in the West believing in the advisability of working with the representatives of radical Islam, in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular.

Indeed this school of thought has been making important inroads; the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British House of Commons issued a report in the summer of 2007 concluding: “As long as the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a commitment to the democratic process and non-violence, we recommend that the British Government should engage with it and seek to influence its members.”9 The underlying assumption of this recommendation is that the Muslim Brotherhood has indeed become a more moderate organization, just as Leiken and Brooke argue in their Foreign Affairs article. For that reason, it is important to carefully analyze their arguments in order to ascertain whether they have any basis

U.S. Policy Toward Radical Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood Debate

The September 11 attack prompted the American administration to change both its domestic and foreign policies and to initiate a comprehensive campaign against radical Islam, which preaches global jihad, and the countries developing weapons of mass destruction that threaten the United States. Promoting the idea of democracy is at the core of President Bush’s foreign policy, which seeks to support democratic governments or those aspiring to democracy and to exert pressure on the Arab regimes to adopt the principles of democracy and human rights as a way of battling religious fundamentalism. The president’s initiative kindled an argument between those who regard it as an effective way of creating an alternative to the Al-Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood school of radical Islam and those who feel that conditions in the Middle East are not yet ripe and that such an initiative is liable to achieve the opposite result and pave the way for a radical Islamic takeover of the current regimes.

Dr. Robert S. Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center in Washington, and Steven Brooke, a researcher at the Center, have called upon the American administration to institute a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood to promote democratization in the Islamic world. They published an article in the March-April 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs called “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” in which they advise the American administration to enter into a strategic alliance with the organization, which they refer to as “moderate,” calling it a “notable opportunity” to use the Brotherhood to promote American interests.

They have also written that “When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, the beginning of wisdom lies in differentiating it from radical Islam and recognizing the significant differences between [the] national Brotherhood organizations [operating in various parts of the world]. That diversity suggests Washington should adopt a case-by-case approach, letting the situation in each individual country determine when talking with – or even working with – [the branches of] the Brotherhood is feasible and appropriate….Washington should be taking stock of its interests and capabilities in the Muslim world – a conversation with the Muslim Brotherhood makes strong strategic sense.”

Leiken and Brooke based their recommendation on the assumptions that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate, has a constructive approach to democracy, and is a potential partner for America and the West. This article will contrast Leiken and Brooke’s main arguments with facts taken from official, public Muslim Brotherhood sources.

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood has Embraced Democratic Western Values

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna as an organization seeking to combat the secularization of the emerging Egyptian state. But it evolved into an organization that saw itself struggling against Western civilization, as a whole, in order to advance what it defined as Muslim civilization.10 It quickly spread and established branches in dozens of countries within the Middle East and even beyond.

According to Leiken and Brooke,

The Muslim Brotherhood is a collection of national groups with differing outlooks, and the various factions disagree about how best to advance its mission. But all reject global jihad while embracing elections and other features of democracy….The [Muslim Brotherhood] followed the path of toleration and eventually came to find democracy compatible with its notion of slow Islamization.

A distinction should be made between how the Muslim Brotherhood regards democracy [as positive] and how Al-Qaeda regards it [as infidel]….Many analysts, meanwhile, sensibly question whether the Brotherhood’s adherence to democracy is merely tactical and transitory….There is slim evidence that the Brotherhood has pondered what it would do with power. Although it has been prodded by the electoral process to define as its slogan “Islam Is the Solution”….And in extensive conversations with the Muslim Brotherhood’s disparate allies throughout the Middle East, we heard many expressions of confidence that it would honor democratic processes.

The Muslim Brotherhood does indeed participate in political activity and defend the democratic process. That is not, however, because it has accepted the principles of Western democracy as Leiken and Brooke have claimed, but rather because the democratic process can be exploited to establish an Islamic regime which will then obviate democracy, as was made evident by its platform in the 2007 Egyptian parliamentary elections.11 The organization claimed to be participating in the elections because “the Muslim Brotherhood preaches the path of Allah…[and therefore it is participating] to fulfill Allah’s commands in peaceful ways, using existing constitutional institutions and a decision determined by the ballot box.” That is, democracy is Islam’s ingress to power. The Muslim Brotherhood platform also noted that “the rule in [Egypt] must be republican, parliamentary, constitutional and democratic in accordance with the Islamic Sharia,” and that “the Sharia ensures liberty for all.” The organization does not accept the principle of the separation of church and state, and the Islamic rule they aspire to is, for them, a realization of democracy.

Leiken, Brooke and the Muslim Brotherhood all use the same word, democracy, but their definitions and interpretations are worlds apart. Interviewed on September 17, 2007, by the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Karama,12 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef said that the organization’s campaign slogan would be “The Sharia is the Solution” and that human rights and democracy would be included under Sharia rule. He devoted his May 12, 2007, weekly missive to an exposition of democracy as seen through Muslim Brotherhood eyes. He said that only Islam, which was given to men by Allah, was the expression of true democracy. He wrote that “Islam preceded…doctrines and ideologies devised by men. The final, absolute message from heaven contains all the values which the secular world claims to have invented….Islam and its values antedated the West by founding true democracy, exemplified by the Shura [the advisory council under the Caliphs] and Islam’s respect for the equality of other religions….With regard to liberty, Islam reached a goal which secular preachers have not, for the liberty promised by Islam is genuine in every way, even in faith and religion….As to the claim that Islam does not recognize civil authority, the authority of Islam is democratic…it is genuine liberty, it provides equality in practice and is transparent, it neither oppresses nor robs any man of his rights….It is on that foundation and with those values that the Muslim Brotherhood calls for justice, equality, and liberty.”13

‘Akef has never equivocated regarding his views on Western democracy. On April 30, 2005, he told the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Ahram that the Muslim Brotherhood opposed American democracy because it was “corrupt and serves the American agenda….The Muslim Brotherhood has held demonstrations against foreign intervention and against any democracy that serves the Americans….[American] democracy is corrupt because it wants to destroy the [Islamic] nation, its faith and tradition.”14 He told the BBC that Western democracy was “unrealistic” and “false.”15

One of ‘Akef’s examples of America’s “corrupt values” is the attempt to stop female circumcision in Africa. On July 12, 2007, he wrote that “[the Americans] spend billions of dollars and endlessly plot to change the Muslim way of life, they wage war on Muslim leaders, the traditions of its faith and its ideas. They even wage war against female circumcision, a practice current in 36 countries, which has been prevalent since the time of the Pharaohs.”16

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood Opposes Jihad against the West and Does Not Incite Muslims to Wage Jihad

According to Leiken and Brooke, the Muslim Brotherhood deters Muslims from violence and channels them into politics and charity work. They based that claim on having been told the following:

  1. A senior member of the Egyptian Brotherhood’s Guidance Council in Cairo said, “If it weren’t for the Brotherhood, most of the youths of this era would have chosen the path of violence.”
  2. The leader of the Jordanian Islamic Action Front, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Jordan, said that his group outdoes the government in discouraging jihad: “We’re better able to conduct an intellectual confrontation…[than] a security confrontation with the forces of extremism and fanaticism.”
  3. The Brotherhood claims success at sifting radicalism out of its ranks through organizational discipline and a painstaking educational program….If a Muslim Brother wishes to commit violence, he generally leaves the organization to do so…[and is] more likely to join the moderate center rather than to take up jihad.
  4. The Muslim Brothers are intent on achieving national [not global] goals, as opposed to the jihadists who want international murder….The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt pursues internal issues, not jihad.

However, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad, that is, holy war against the infidels, is one of the fundamental elements spread by the Muslim Brotherhood. The organization’s ideology, as it appears on its official website, regards “the prophet Muhammad as its leader and ruler, and jihad as its path.”17 Jihad has a global strategy beyond self-defense, it is the unceasing attack on every infidel rule, intended to widen the borders of the Islamic state until all mankind lives under the Islamic flag.

Clicking the links “The Goals of the Muslim Brotherhood” and “Muslim Brotherhood Measures” leads to explanations of jihad based on the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Jihad, it is noted, is Islam’s most important tool in effecting a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim countries, moving on to reestablishing the Caliphate over three continents in preparation for a conquest of the West, and finally instituting a global Islamic state. The following are quotations from the organization’s website:

We want a Muslim individual, a Muslim home, a Muslim people, a Muslim government and state that will lead the Islamic countries and bring into the fold the Muslim Diaspora and the lands robbed from Islam and will then bear the standard of jihad and the call [da’wah] to Allah. [Then the] world will happily accept the precepts of Islam….The problems of conquering the world will only end when the flag of Islam waves and jihad has been proclaimed.18

The goal is to establish one Islamic state of united Islamic countries, one nation under one leadership whose mission will be to reinforce adherence to the law of Allah…and the strengthening of the Islamic presence in the world arena….The goal…is the establishment of a world Islamic state.19

And if prayer is a pillar of the faith, then jihad is its summit…and death in the path of Allah is the summit of aspiration.20

It is evident that the Muslim Brotherhood does not hide its global aspirations and the violent path it intends to follow to achieve them. The Muslim Brothers are meticulous in their step-by-step plan first to take over the soul of the individual and then the family, people, nation and union of Islamic nations, until the global Islamic state has been realized. The principle of stages dictates the Muslim Brotherhood’s supposed “moderation,” which impressed Leiken and Brooke so deeply. However, that “moderation” will gradually vanish as Muslim Brotherhood achievements increase and acceptance of the existing situation is replaced by a strict, orthodox Muslim rule whose foreign policy is based on jihad.

Unlike Leiken and Brooke, who minimize the importance of jihad in the Muslim Brotherhood’s world concept, for ‘Akef it is at the center of the struggle against the United States, the West, Israel, and other infidel regimes. He regards Islam as waging “a battle of values and identity” against the forces of “imperialism” and the “Anglo-Saxons” attacking the Arab-Muslim world “on the pretext of spreading democracy, defending minority rights, and opposing what they call terrorism.” He advises Muslims to adopt “the culture of resistance against the invasion,” explaining that Allah gave “the occupied, oppressed nations jihad and resistance as a means of achieving freedom.” He added that “the culture of resistance to invasion and occupation have intellectual, military, and economic aspects. Experience in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan have proved that resistance is not imaginary or fictitious or impossible, but rather it is possible when the [Islamic] nation presents a united front and uses its weapons and faith to face an imperialist, whether he comes with arms or inundates us with his ideas, values, or obsolete morality.”21

In a recent weekly missive, ‘Akef declared a new strategy adopted by the Brotherhood to confront Western imperialism and the satanic alliance between the U.S. and Israel based on supporting the “resistance” in any Muslim country under foreign occupation, including Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. For the first time, ‘Akef called upon the Brotherhood to grant not only financial and material support but to join the resistance to achieve freedom for the Muslim nation.22

One of the planks of the Muslim Brotherhood platform in the Egyptian Parliamentary elections in 2005 dealt expressly with that aspect, stating that “it is important to support national resistance movements in all the occupied Arab lands in every way possible.”23 During the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006, ‘Akef called upon Egyptian President Mubarak and the other Arab leaders to support “the Lebanese resistance,” and it was implied that the Muslim Brotherhood had a broad military infrastructure in place. ‘Akef said that he was “prepared to send 10,000 jihad fighters immediately to fight at the side of Hezbollah” if the Egyptian government would permit it.24

The links between the Muslim Brotherhood and global terrorism were also made evident by the reception Hassan al-Turabi, a high-ranking Muslim Brother and at that time one of the heads of Sudan, provided for Al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. In 1991, accepting al-Turabi’s personal invitation, Osama bin Laden moved from Saudi Arabia to Sudan and established a terrorist network there. In addition, al-Turabi founded the Popular Arab and Islamic Conference, some of whose members were the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and the Egyptian Jihad. The Conference met in April 1991, December 1993, and March 1995.25 In August 1993, in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, the United States included Sudan in its designated list of terrorism sponsoring states.26 Prior to the U.S. led attack on the Taliban regime, the Muslim Brotherhood actually had training camps in Afghanistan, where it worked with Kashmiri militants and sought to expand its influence in Central Asian states, especially Tajikistan.27

Similarly, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas (the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood) enables the various Islamic terrorist organizations – including Al-Qaeda branches – to operate unhampered. One of the factions, the Army of the Nation (more commonly known as the Army of Islam and openly boasts of direct connections with Al-Qaeda), participated in joint terrorist attacks with Hamas and was responsible for the abduction of BBC journalist Alan Johnston in March 2007. Sources in the Gaza Strip said that to secure Johnston’s release, Hamas gave it $5 million and more than a million rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles and promised not to harm its operatives.28 Interviewed for the Ilaf Website on July 17, 2007, Abu Ashur, right-hand man of Army of Islam chief Mumtaz Durmush, admitted that the Army of Islam had “adopted Al-Qaeda’s principles” and was working toward the establishment of an Islamic state in the Gaza Strip and the liberation of Palestine. He said that Al-Qaeda both sent money to finance the Army of Islam and gave it instructions.29

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood Does Not Reject the Possibility of Recognizing the State of Israel

Even on the central issue of Israel, each national organization calls its own tune. Every Muslim Brotherhood leader with whom [Leiken and Brooke] spoke claimed a willingness to follow suit should Hamas recognize the Jewish state….Zawahiri expressed the jihadist view saying, “No one has the right, whether Palestinian or not, to abandon a grain of soil from Palestine, which was a Muslim land and which was occupied by infidels.” The Muslim Brotherhood does not stress the religious aspect, and that enrages the jihadists. Compare the statement from the Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who argues that “the enmity between us and the Jews is for the sake of land only,” with this one from Zawahiri: “[Allah], glory to Him, made religion the cause of enmity and the cause of our fight.”

Yet in reality, the Muslim Brotherhood leadership has repeatedly proclaimed that the movement will never recognize the State of Israel or its right to exist.30 ‘Akef, interviewed by the daily Filisteen al-Muslima in 2005, glorified in the increase in the number of Palestinian “resistance organizations” [i.e., terrorist organizations], calling them “a great blessing,” if only they would all unite to work for “the genuine goal, the expulsion of the Zionists from the land of Palestine.” He called the State of Israel “a foreign body which by virtue of its nature cannot remain where it is.”31 In October 2007, he again stated that the Muslim Brotherhood vigorously opposed the idea of recognizing Israel and that this position was “one of the movement’s basic principles and will not be negotiated.” He said that “as far as the movement is concerned, Israel is a Zionist entity occupying holy Arab and Islamic lands…and we will get rid of it no matter how long it takes.”32

Completely contradicting Leiken and Brooke’s claims, the Muslim Brotherhood justifies its position toward Israel with religious arguments similar to those of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s second in command. ‘Akef, like Zawahiri, has said that “no one has the right to give up one inch of Palestinian soil, for the land of Palestine is the natural right of its [Arab] inhabitants and of all Arabs and Muslims.” He has also said that “those rights [of Muslims to Palestine] cannot be negotiated, and no one can waive them, nor does posterity have the right to waive them under any pretext….Our religion does not permit acceptance of the loss of the land and the contamination of the holy places.”33

Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood fully agrees with Al-Qaeda regarding Palestine, basing its position on the Islamic faith and on jihad as the way of achieving the final goal. That goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a state ruled by Islamic law on its ruins. Leiken and Brooke’s claim that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has moderate views regarding Israel is extremely strange, to say the least. Qaradawi is known for his radical fatwas, for providing religious Islamic justification for carrying out suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians, for a fatwa permitting Palestinian women to carry out such attacks,34 for brainwashing Palestinian youth into joining the jihad, and for raising funds for charitable societies in the Palestinian Authority affiliated with Hamas.35 Sheikh Qaradawi, considered Hamas’ spiritual mentor, is well known in the Muslim world, is often interviewed, and often expresses his opinions publicly. Thus it is particularly strange that his views were not known to Leiken and Brooke.

Like Zawahiri, Qaradawi’s view of the Jews is filtered through religious hatred. He has written that “today the Jews are not the Israelites praised by Allah, but the descendants of the Israelites who defied His word. Allah was angry with them and turned them into monkeys and pigs, and that is why they are called a stiff-necked race. Allah pledged they would suffer until they gave up their tyranny, corruption, and crime, which is what they have employed in Palestine. Among the slaves of Allah, the faithful will be those who carry out Allah’s pledge regarding the Jews.” He also said that today the Jews have the same character faults as the Jews in the Qur’an, “they are evil, deceitful, and violate agreements.”36 The future will lead to a total victory of Muslims over Jews: “There is no doubt,” he said, “that the battle in which the Muslims overcome the Jews [will come]…. In that battle the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.”37

Leiken and Brooke: The Muslim Brotherhood is Not an International Organization with a Single Agenda

According to Leiken and Brooke, there is no Islamist Comintern. The Brotherhood’s dreaded International Organization is in fact a loose and feeble coalition scarcely able to convene its own members….The ideological affiliations that link Brotherhood organizations internationally are subject to the national priorities that shape each individually.

In a December 2005 interview with the London-based daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, ‘Akef boasted that the movement was “the largest organization in the world,” and said that “a [Muslim] person who is in the global arena and believes in the Muslim Brotherhood’s path is considered part of us and we are part of him.”38 In a different interview he revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood operated in more than 70 countries. When asked if the Muslim Brotherhood leader served all the movement’s branches, he answered that it did, saying “the Muslim Brothers have the same guide [leader] all over the world. And [the heads of the movement’s branches] outside Egypt have the title of Inspector General. Every region is free to make its own decisions and determine its own policy, but there are certain general issues on which we take a stand.”39

In an in-depth interview with Al-Jazeera, Yusuf Nada, the Muslim Brotherhood’s “foreign minister,” explained the relations between the world leadership in Egypt and the various branches around the world. He said that the movement had one guide [i.e., Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef] and no other. There were, he said, representatives who met for specific purposes. When asked if the Shura council operated the various branches, Nada answered in the affirmative.40

In an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Sheikh Kamal Helbawy, the founder of the Muslim Association of Britain and one of the founders of the Muslim Council of Britain, revealed how the Muslim Brotherhood operated globally. He said there was “coordination at the global level… similar to federal [coordination]. Meetings and consultations are held [regularly]….Every aspect is the subject of consultations….The Muslim Brotherhood’s main headquarters are in Egypt, and the Supreme Guide is Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef. There are independent organizations [i.e., within the federal structure] outside Egypt….International coordination has not ceased and will never cease, unless there are the means [for collaboration], which will hopefully bring about…the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate following the path of the prophet [Muhammad]….Coordination is continuous in the Islamic movement [the Muslim Brotherhood] between regions, not individuals. The regions choose whoever is capable of participating in international coordination [that is, in the Shura council]….In regions where Islamic movement activity is just beginning, the focus is usually on construction, education, and studies, guided by activists preparing for the future.”41

Therefore, it can be seen that Muslim Brotherhood authority rests with the Supreme Guide, Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef, but the branches in the various host countries are able to act independently as necessary. The situation of Muslim Brotherhood activists in Syria, where the organization’s activities are banned by law, is different from that in Jordan, where they can operate freely. Every branch throughout the world is committed to the movement’s ideology as set down by Hassan al-Banna and to the decisions made by the world leadership. Thus the policies expressed by ‘Akef are binding and are the true voice of the movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Goals

Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a staunch Islamist, who in the past was a candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, issued a fatwa in April 2003, describing how Islam would conquer Europe and defeat Christianity by exploiting Western liberalism and democracy. It would be made possible, he promised, by spreading Islam until it was strong enough to take over the entire continent. He wrote that “it is eminently clear that the future belongs to Islam, and that the religion of Allah will be victorious and will, by the grace of Allah, conquer all other religions.” His prediction was based on an Islamic tradition according to which the prophet Muhammad said that one of the signs of redemption in Islam would be the initial conquest of Constantinople and then the conquest of Rome.

According to Qaradawi, “Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by a 23-year old Ottoman named Muhammad ibn Murad, whom we call Muhammad the Conqueror. Now what remains is to conquer Rome. That is what we wish for, and that is what we believe in. After having been expelled twice, Islam will be victorious and reconquer Europe….I am certain that this time, victory will be won not by the sword but by preaching and [Islamic] ideology….The conquest of Rome and the spread of Islam East and West will be the fruit of the seed we plant and entail the return of the Caliphate, which treads the straight path [of Islam] and is based on the path of the prophets….[The Caliphate] is worthy of leading the nation to victory.”42

Like Qaradawi, ‘Akef does not hide the Muslim Brotherhood’s aspirations to lead a world Islamic revolution. He has stated that “the path of the Muslims is global,” and Islam is the “religion of humanity.” The Caliphate, he explained, is “the home of the entire [Islamic] nation, not only of the Muslim Brotherhood….We want…the Arab-Muslim world to be one nation, relying on the words of Allah: ‘This is your nation, one nation.'”43

At a meeting of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Egyptian Parliament, held in January 2007, Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Mohammed Shaker Sanar openly admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not committed to Western democratic values. He said that nothing about the organization had changed. “The organization was founded in 1928 to reestablish the Caliphate destroyed by Ataturk….With Allah’s help [the Muslim Brotherhood] will institute the law of Allah.”44

This year newly revealed federal court documents, accepted into evidence during the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, revealed further the inner thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood about its global mission. A sixteen-page Arabic document, entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group,” established that it sought to create “a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood.” In explaining the “role” of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America, the memorandum discloses: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated, and God’s religion [i.e. Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.”45

Conclusion and Evaluation

The thesis presented by Leiken and Brooke was inspired by impressions received during conversations with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose names are not mentioned and who are quoted neither fully nor accurately. It is clear that both Leiken and Brooke were duped by the ambiguity of their interlocutors’ rhetoric, which was tailored for Western ears and meant to lull suspicions and hide genuine intentions. Leiken and Brooke were deeply impressed by the support given by the Muslim Brotherhood for “democracy,” but they failed to understand that for the Muslim Brotherhood and the West, the word has two completely different meanings. As far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, Islamic rule expresses “true democracy,” and that is the only kind to which they are committed.

The Muslim Brotherhood poses a serious threat to the West. It hides behind ambiguous terminology, which makes the organization appear moderate and enables it to operate freely in its host countries, thereby establishing a convenient base from which to disseminate radical Islamic ideology among the growing Muslim communities. Once that has been achieved, demography and radically-minded public opinion will enable the Muslim Brotherhood to take over a government by “democratic” means. That will signal the last day of Western democracy in that country and the installation of an Islamic government, whose objective will be to export radical Islamic rule to other countries, the next step in realizing the vision of a world Caliphate. In Europe the sand is running out, and a showdown with the Muslim Brotherhood is closer than anyone suspects. However, to a certain extent, the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict delays the realization of Islamic aspirations in Western Europe.

As far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, Spain is an occupied country, as are other regions in Europe that were once under Islamic control. The organization’s “pragmatism” is manifested by its willingness to postpone a confrontation until it has garnered sufficient political (or military) power to shake the ruling governments to their foundations and effect a complete reversal. The collapse of the moderate Arab regimes into radical Islamic hands is likely to accelerate the empowering of an Islamic state that regards the West and its culture as the chief enemy.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors world Islamic recruitment for a revolution made possible by terrorist attacks and an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries and expel Western presence from Muslim regions. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West that will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. The organization’s stance is that an Al-Qaeda attack against the West at this time might hamper the Islamic movement’s buildup and focus the West on the threat implicit in Muslim communities. However, as far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.

The Muslim Brotherhood is involved in terrorism and provides religious Islamic justification for suicide bombing, terrorism, and terrorist attacks against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jihad in all its aspects, including military, is perceived as the prime tool in the battle against the West. It is difficult to find a common set of interests for the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood, as do Leiken and Brooke. Collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, while turning a blind eye to their intentions, both overt and hidden, is tantamount to paving the way for their “democratic” takeover of the moderate Arab regimes (similar to the bitter experience of the Legislative Council elections in the Palestinian Authority in January 2006) and for harming the United States’ most vital interests in the Middle East. It is not easy to understand why Leiken and Brooke have recommended that the American administration consider the Muslim Brotherhood a potential partner, given that the United States is its principal enemy. The organization actively seeks to destroy America’s status as a world power and to replace it with an Islamic power whose foreign policy will be based on jihad and the spread of Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Infiltration of the West

The Muslim Brotherhood, today widely regarded as the largest Islamic movement in the world, was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928. Its member groups are dedicated to the motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Research analyst Lorenzo Vidino writes about The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe: “Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations.” Their ultimate goal “may not be simply ‘to help Muslims be the best citizens they can be,’ but rather to extend Islamic law throughout Europe and the United States. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch, and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially, when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community. But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop their facade and embrace radicalism.”

Moreover, “While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to cement Islamist influence over Germany’s Muslim community, they have not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites, Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has become the predominant organization in the government’s Islamic Council. In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita’ ed Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy) is the government’s prime partner in dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.”

The irony, according to Vidino, is that “Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the Muslim world. He would never have dreamed that his vision might also become a reality in Europe.”

Al-Banna may not have believed that to be possible in the short run, but he did dream of conquering areas formerly under Islamic rule. German historian Egon Flaig quotes Banna as saying: “We want the flag of Islam to fly over those lands again who were lucky enough to be ruled by Islam for a time, and hear the call of the muezzin praise God. Then the light of Islam died out and they returned to disbelief. Andalusia, Sicily, the Balkans, Southern Italy and the Greek islands are all Islamic colonies which have to return to Islam’s embrace. The Mediterranean and the Red Sea have to become internal seas of Islam, as they used to be.”

One of the Brotherhood’s first pioneers in Europe was Sa’id Ramadan. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sa’id Ramadan, who was al-Banna’s son-in-law, joined the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth. At the age of 20, Hassan al-Banna chose Sa’id to be his personal secretary and sent him to Palestine to establish a branch of the movement there. After World War II, when Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini returned to Palestine, Sa’id Ramadan helped him to form military groups for the struggle against the Jews. Al-Husseini was an active accomplice in the Holocaust and visited leading Nazis repeatedly. Terrorist organization Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the MB today.

After Hassan al-Banna’s assassination in 1949, Sa’id Ramadan returned to Egypt and became a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1954 he went to Jerusalem with another leading Brotherhood member, Sayyid Qutb, in order to participate in the World Islamic Conference, and was elected conference secretary-general.

In the late 1950s, Sa’id Ramadan managed to persuade Saudi Prince Faisal to help him establish Islamic centers in Europe’s main capitals. In 1958, he settled in Geneva and there founded the Islamic Center, which became the headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood members expelled from Egypt. In 1964, he opened Islamic centers in London and Munich, and became the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad.

The oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia has for years granted an influx of money to the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva, Switzerland, now run by Sa’id’s son Hani Ramadan. He was made infamous by a 2002 article in the French daily Le Monde defending the stoning of adulterers to death. His brother Tariq Ramadan, a career “moderate Muslim,” later called for a “moratorium” on stoning. In 2008 it was announced that Hani Ramadan would receive SFr255,000, the equivalent of two years’ salary, in damages from the canton of Geneva. He was sacked in 2004 after defending the stoning of persons guilty of adultery. An appeal commission of the education department sided with Ramadan, annulling the termination. The government also agreed to pay Ramadan’s legal fees.

It was the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a follower of Hassan al-Banna in his youth, who directed the prayer at Sa’id Ramadan’s funeral in 1995, as Tariq Ramadan proudly reports. Sa’id Ramadan had close contacts with Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb, whose writings have inspired countless Jihadists around the world, for instance terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. According to writer Paul Berman, Ramadan “not only knew Qutb; he was, at the crucial moment, Qutb’s most important supporter in the world of the Egyptian intellectuals. Said Ramadan was the editor who got Qutb started on what became his most important work.”

According to Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab’i, former Kuwaiti minister of education, “The beginnings of all of the religious terrorism that we are witnessing today were in the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology of takfir [accusing other Muslims of apostasy]. Sayyid Qutb’s book Milestones was the inspiration and the guide for all of the takfir movements that came afterwards. The founders of the violent groups were raised on the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who worked with Bin Laden and Al-Qa’ida went out under the mantle of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, says decadent Europe will give way to an Islamized Europe. In the 21st century, “The West will begin its new decline, and the Arab-Islamic world its renewal” and ascent to seven centuries of world domination after seven centuries of decline. “Only Islam can achieve the synthesis between Christianity and humanism, and fill the spiritual void that afflicts the West.” All good people are implicitly Muslims “because true humanism is founded in Koranic revelations.” In a clash with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-Somali critic of Islam, Ramadan said it was wrong to say that Europe had a Judeo-Christian past. “Islam is a European religion. The Muslims came here after the first and second world wars to rebuild Europe, not to colonise.”

Danish theologian Kirsten Sarauw writes in her article A Declaration of War Against the People of Europe that in 2007 in Vienna, Austria, a conference was held about so-called Euro-Islam. Prominent Muslim delegates formulated a strategic vision of a Europe dominated by Islam. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, envisioned an “upcoming Islamic era.” The conference was in agreement about the first and foremost goal, namely the introduction of religious Islamic jurisprudence (sharia) in Europe, “in the beginning at least as a parallel system alongside national laws in European states.” As to the real meaning of sharia, they all agreed to avoid publicity as far as possible. According to Sarauw, Tariq Ramadan proclaimed that the real intentions of this work must be concealed from the general public.

In 2007 it was announced that Tariq Ramadan was to hold the Sultan of Oman chair of Islamology at the University of Leiden. Leiden is the oldest university in the Netherlands, founded in the sixteenth century by Prince William of Orange, the leader of the Dutch struggle for independence. Dutch Education and Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk said that he did not object to Ramadan’s appointment. Meanwhile, the Amsterdam city council, dominated by the Dutch Labour Party which receives many Muslim votes, developed teaching material warning school children against the opinions of Dutch Islam critic Geert Wilders.

The European Council for Fatwa and Research, headed by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is working on a Muslim Constitution for Europe that will be above national legislation. According to Tina Magaard from the University of Aarhus, behind these ambitions “lies decades of work.” Islamic groups have for years aimed at establishing their control over the Muslim communities, and in some cases have won official recognition from government bodies. According to Magaard, “The Imams and Islamists consider the cooperation with the state institutions a transfer of power. Now it is they who rule.”

Former Muslim Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, author of the excellent book “Global Jihad – The future in the face of Militant Islam,” warns that the Islamization going on in European cities is not happening by chance. It “is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders which was planned in 1980 when the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States.” The instructions told Muslims to get together into viable communities, set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. To resist assimilation, they must group themselves geographically in areas of high Muslim concentration. According to Sookhdeo, the ultimate goal is Islamic rule in Europe.

Patrick Poole describes how discussion of a document called “The Project” so far has been limited to the top-secret world of Western intelligence communities. Only through the work of an intrepid Swiss journalist, Sylvain Besson, has information regarding The Project finally been made public. It was found in a raid of a luxurious villa in Campione, Switzerland on November 7, 2001. The target of the raid was Youssef Nada, who has had active association with the Muslim Brotherhood for more than 50 years.

Included in the documents seized was a 14-page plan written in Arabic and dated December 1, 1982, which outlined a 12-point strategy to “establish an Islamic government on earth” – identified as The Project. According to testimony given to Swiss authorities by Nada, the unsigned document was prepared by “Islamic researchers.” It represents a flexible, multi-phased, long-term approach to the “cultural invasion” of the West.

Some of its recommendations include:

• Using deception to mask the intended goals of Islamic actions

• Building extensive social networks of schools, hospitals and charitable organizations

• Involving ideologically committed Muslims in institutions on all levels in the West, including government, NGOs, private organizations

• Instrumentally using existing Western institutions until they can be put into service of Islam

• Instituting alliances with Western “progressive” organizations that share similar goals.

As Patrick Poole says, “What is startling is how effectively the Islamist plan for conquest outlined in The Project has been implemented by Muslims in the West for more than two decades.”

Included in this work was the powerful Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Sylvain Besson and Scott Burgess note the striking similarities between Qaradawi’s publication, Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase and The Project. Qaradawi is backed by Saudi money and founded the major English language website IslamOnline, which has several hundred full-time employees and serves as an international outlet for his teachings. He is also leader of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which spreads its rulings on sharia-related matters to mosques across Europe. He is based in Qatar, home to the influential Arabic satellite TV channel Al Jazeera, where he runs the popular program “Sharia and Life.” The intellectual Dr. Khaled Shawkat warns that Al Jazeera “has been hijacked” by the MB “to the extent that three or four Muslim Brotherhood members sometimes appear on a single news program.”

Yusuf al-Qaradawi was an important figure during the Muhammad cartoons riots in 2006 and was indirectly responsible for attacks against the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria. According to Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen, “Clearly, the riots in Denmark and throughout the world were not spontaneous, but planned and organized well in advance by Islamist organizations that support the MB, and with funding mostly from Saudi Arabia.” The purpose was to impose sharia-style restrictions on free speech on Western nations.

Ehrenfeld and Lappen state that the Muslim Brotherhood and its offspring organizations employ the Flexibility strategy: “This strategy calls for a minority group of Muslims to use all ‘legal’ means to infiltrate majority-dominated, non-Muslim secular and religious institutions, starting with its universities. As a result, ‘Islamized’ Muslim and non-Muslim university graduates enter the nation’s workforce, including its government and civil service sectors, where they are poised to subvert law enforcement agencies, intelligence communities, military branches, foreign services, and financial institutions.”

Douglas Farah writes about the largely successful efforts by Islamic groups in the West to buy large amounts of real estate. Some groups are signing agreements to guarantee that they will only sell the land to other Muslims. The Brotherhood, particularly, is active in investments in properties and businesses across Europe, laying the groundwork for the future network that will be able to react rapidly and with great flexibility in case of another attempted crackdown on the group’s financial structure. Most of the money comes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

According to Farah, the governments of Europe and the United States continue to allow these groups to flourish and seek for the “moderate” elements that can be embraced as a counter-balance to the “radical” elements: “We do not have a plan. They do. History shows that those that plan, anticipate and have a coherent strategy usually win. We are not winning.”

According to journalist Helle Merete Brix, Muhammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, aided by Saudi Arabia, gives large amounts of petrodollar to various organizations at the forefront of the Islamization of Europe, such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi has publicly boasted that “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror” and that Muslims will conquer Europe and the United States.

Former CIA director R. James Woolsey estimates that the Saudis have spent nearly $90 billion since the mid-1970s to export their ideology into Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike. That may well be a conservative estimate. Since the spike in oil prices following the embargo/financial Jihad in 1973, Arab and Muslim states have received trillions of dollars from the sale of oil and gas, probably the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. A significant portion of this money has been used to buy an army of hirelings and apologists in non-Muslim countries, as well as on financing the global Jihad.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Royal Family, is an international investor ranked among the ten richest persons in the world. In 2005, Bin Talal bought 5.46% of voting shares in News Corp, the parent of Fox News. In December 2005 he boasted about his ability to change what viewers see. Covering the Jihad riots in France that fall, Fox ran a banner saying: “Muslim riots.” According to Talal, “I picked up the phone and called Murdoch… (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty. Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots.”

Harvard University and Georgetown University have received $20 million donations from Prince bin Talal to finance Islamic studies. Martin Kramer, the author of “Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America,” said: “Prince Alwaleed knows that if you want to have an impact, places like Harvard or Georgetown, which is inside the Beltway, will make a difference.”

Georgetown said it would use the gift to expand its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The leaders of the Center, renamed to Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, say it now will be used to put on workshops regarding Islam, addressing U.S. policy towards the Muslim world, addressing Muslim citizenship and civil liberties, and developing exchange programs for students from the Muslim world.

Georgetown professor John Esposito, founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, has, probably more than any other academic, contributed to downplaying the global Jihadist threat. Kramer states that during the 1970s, Esposito had prepared his thesis under his Muslim mentor Ismail R. Faruqi, a Palestinian theorist of the “Islamization of knowledge.” During the first part of his career, Esposito never studied or taught at a major Middle East center. In the 80s, he published a series of favorable books on Islam. In 1993, Esposito arrived at Georgetown, and has later claimed the status of “authority” in the field.

Journalist Stanley Kurtz has demonstrated how the Saudis have managed to infiltrate the US education system and influence what American school children are taught about Islam and the Middle East, not just at the university level but also at lower levels.

Egyptian author Tarek Heggy warns that the Muslim Brotherhood “opposes the notion of a state based on democratic institutions, calling instead for an Islamic government based on the Shura (consultative assembly) system, veneration of the leader and the investiture of a Supreme Guide. In this, they are close to the model established by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran. (…) The Brotherhood calls for a constitutional and legal system based on the principles of Shari’a, including cruel corporal punishments in the penal code (stoning, lashing, cutting off the hands of thieves, etc.).”

Despite this, Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke published an article in Foreign Affairs about the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood, arguing that the group has “rejected global Jihad” and “embraces democracy.” Several US Democratic members of Congress met with the head of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, despite that fact that the Egyptian MB has spawned several terrorist movements.

In a memo, the US State Department told its embassy in Cairo to launch a dialogue with religious groups because clashes with them would incite more attacks against US interests. They advised Washington to pressure the Egyptian government into allowing the MB to play a larger role in Egypt’s political landscape. There are signs that American authorities are reaching out to the Brotherhood. Steven Stalinsky, the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, warns that “A lack of knowledge about the Muslim Brotherhood is evident on the part of U.S. officials who are now cozying up to the organization.”

As Youssef Ibrahim of the New York Sun comments, “For years, the Soviet Union benefited from those Vladimir Lenin is said to have dubbed ‘the useful idiots of the West’ — reporters, scholars, leftists, and assorted romantics who said the Soviet system of totalitarianism was not so bad.” He argues that the Brotherhood is now taking over this role. Ibrahim is tired of the silence from the Muslim majority: “In Islam, ‘silence is a sign of acceptance,’ as the Arabic Koranic saying goes. (…) The question that hangs in the air so spectacularly now — particularly as England has been confronted once again by British Muslims plotting to kill hundreds — is this: What exactly are the Europeans waiting for before they round up all those Muslim warriors and their families and send them back to where they came from?”

The current leader of the MB, Mohammad Mahdi Akef, called on its members to serve its global agenda, declaring “I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America.” On its English website, the Brotherhood professes moderation and praises Multiculturalism as a way to spread Islam. However, on their Arabic website, Akef in February 2007 reassured his followers that “the Jihad will lead to smashing Western civilization and replacing it with Islam which will dominate the world.” In the event that Muslims cannot achieve this goal in the near future, “Muslims are obliged to continue the Jihad that will cause the collapse of Western civilization and the ascendance of the Muslim civilization on its ruins.”

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 with the vision of restoring the Islamic Caliphate. There are signs that his disciple Yusuf al-Qaradawi hasn’t given up this goal. In an interview with German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Qaradawi said: “Islam is a single nation, there is only one Islamic law and we all pray to a single God. Eventually such a nation will also become political reality. But whether that will be a federation of already existing states, a monarchy or an Islamic republic remains to be seen.” Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi, a Jordanian intellectual, states that: “The Caliphate has remained unchanged from 632 through 2004 – it has kept its primitive, simple tribal form (the elite’s allegiance to the sovereigns) – an un-democratic structure, despotic, and bloody except for a brief period of 12 years during the rule of Abu Baker and Omar Bin Al-Khattab [the first and second Caliphs]. (…) Since the time of [the Umayyad Caliph] Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan through the last Ottoman Sultan, (that is from the year 661 through the year 1924), the Islamic Caliphate was drenched with blood, and ruled by fist and sword – and even today the situation is the same in most of the Arab world.”

Nabulsi quotes al-Qaradawi as saying: “‘There are those who maintain that democracy is the rule of the people, but we want the rule of Allah.’ Such ideas] are a call for the Rule of Allah, discussed by Sayyid Qutb in his book ‘The Milestones.’ [Qutb] borrowed this idea from Pakistani intellectual Abu Al-‘Ala Al-Mawdudi, who introduced the theory that authority is Allah’s, not the people’s, and that the sovereign is none other than Allah’s secretary and His representative on earth.”

In one essay, al-Qaradawi writes that: “Secularism may be accepted in a Christian society but it can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. Christianity is devoid of a shari`ah or a comprehensive system of life to which its adherents should be committed.” However, “as Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (`ibadah) and legislation (Shari`ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari`ah,” and “the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari`ah is downright riddah [apostasy].”

The adoption of secular laws and equality for Muslims and non-Muslims amounts to apostasy. Harsh words from a man who has voiced support for the traditional sharia death penalty for those leaving Islam.

According to the major website Islam Online, which is owned by Yusuf al-Qaradawi and sponsored by rich Arabs, “Islam is not a religion in the common, distorted meaning of the word, confining its scope only to the private life of man. By saying that it is a complete way of life, we mean that it caters for all the fields of human existence. In fact, Islam provides guidance for all walks of life — individual and social, material and moral, economic and political, legal and cultural, national and international.”

Famed historian Bernard Lewis in 2007 told The Jerusalem Post that Islam could soon be the dominant force in Europe. He warned that this Islamization could be assisted by “immigration and democracy.” It is a well-established fact that Muslims vote overwhelmingly for left-wing parties all over Europe.

According to journalist Salam Karam, “For the Muslim Brotherhood, Sweden is in many ways an ideal country, [and it] shares the ideals of the Social Democrats in their view of the welfare society. Leading figures in Muslim congregations are also active within the Social Democratic [Party], and have very good relations with Sweden’s Christian Social Democrats – Broderskapsrörelsen. The Social Democrats have, in turn, and perhaps as thanks for the support they receive from the mosque leadership, shown a tendency to shy away from the fact that there is extremism in some of our mosques. This has given the Muslim Brotherhood the freedom to force its ideology upon [the mosque’s worshippers].”

Writer Nima Sanandaji states that “The Social Democratic party has started fishing for votes with the help of radical Muslims clergies.” They have been working with the influential Muslim leader Mahmoud Aldebe, president of Sweden’s Muslim Association, which is widely believed to be inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1999 Aldebe proposed that sharia – the Islamic law – be introduced in Sweden. The Social Democrat Ola Johansson has referred to the book Social Justice in Islam by the Jihadist ideologue Sayyid Qutb as proof that the Socialist ideology could find common ground with Islamic ideas. After the elections in 2002, the Muslim Association sent a congratulation letter to the re-elected Social Democratic Prime Minister Göran Persson, hoping that his party would work for implementing some of the sharia demands of the Association in the future. In 2007, the Social Democrats launched a formalized network for cooperation with Muslims, after they lost the elections the year before.

Walid al-Kubaisi, a Norwegian of Iraqi origins and a critic of sharia supporters, believes Yusuf al-Qaradawi is more dangerous than terrorist leader Osama bin Laden: “In Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood discovered a unique opportunity: Democracy. The democratic system leaves room for freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and finances religious communities and religious organizations. This has been utilized by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the Muslim communities, recruit members and build the Islamist networks that have become so visible lately.” Whereas bin Laden uses bombs, al-Qaradawi exploits democracy as a Trojan horse. The Brotherhood gets their activities financed from Germany, Britain etc. They gain recognition and infiltrate the democratic system.

According to Walid al-Kubaisi, the journalist Dr.Osama Fawzi has revealed that many of al-Qaradawi’s trips to Western countries are for the purpose of receiving medical aid and treatment for impotence because he is married to a girl 60 years younger than himself. Kubaisi, who writes Arabic fluently, sent an email to Qaradawi’s website, asking whether it was legal according to Islamic law to marry a nine-year-old girl. He got a “yes” in reply.

Muhammad himself, according to Islamic sources, married his wife Aisha when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was eight or nine. Since he is the perfect example to emulate for Muslims for time eternity, this is still legal in Islamic law today: Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64

Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been hailed as a “moderate Muslim” by people such as London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone, who represents the British Labour Party. Many Muslims voted for the Labour Party in previous elections, and London has a large and growing Muslim population. The cleric visited the UK in 2004, where he was welcomed by Livingstone, and chaired the annual meeting of the European Council of Fatwa and Research at London’s City Hall. In January 2008, prominent Muslims pledged to back Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London during the elections in May 2008. A statement praised Livingstone for his support of a Multicultural society and for protecting Muslim communities against Islamophobia, and said that “We pledge to continue our support for the mayor on all levels possible in order to secure his staying in office for a third term.” Among the 63 signatories was Tariq Ramadan.

In February 2008, al-Qaradawi was refused a visa to enter to the UK following pressure from British Conservatives. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that it deplored the decision, while the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) described the decision to bar al-Qaradawi as “an unwarranted insult to British Muslims.” Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called for the death penalty for homosexuality, for the destruction of the state of Israel, has defended suicide attacks and preaches that husbands should beat disobedient wives. He was also indirectly responsible for the torching of the Damascus embassies of NATO member states Denmark and Norway during the Muhammad cartoon riots in 2006.

The Koran can quite logically be viewed as Mohammed’s “Mein Kampf”

By Jim Lampe

You have stated the reasonable case of Muslims from their perspective. But it does not reflect the opinion of any Muslim expert that I know. Here is Bruce Tefft, the former Director of CIA’s Terrorism Center:

“Islam is an ideology with religious trappings. The Koran can quite logically be viewed as Mohammed’s “Mein Kampf” — it lays out his justification for murder, rape, torture and military conquest on a daily basis. Since Mohammed made it up as he went along, it lacks some of the coherency and consistency of the “Mein Kampf” but it has the same effect. It is full of contradictions, but Muslims start from the premise that Allah can make no errors, and mere mortals cannot know what Allah really means.”

“So long as there is this book (the Koran) there will be no peace in the world.” — Winston Churchill

From Brigitte Gabriel (a Christian who lived under Islamic rule), author of “Because they Hate,” and “They Must be Stopped,” and founder of Act! for America” “I founded ACT! for America because Islamic militants have declared war on America. I know what this means. For years, I witnessed first-hand how brutally jihadists treat non-Muslims. We are in for the fight of our lives and we must ACT! – before it’s too late.”
http://www.actforamer…

Nonie Darwish, is an author and ex muslim, and this is what her daughter asked her:
“Why is America trying to tame untamable terrorists, it is like ‘having a pet shark?'”

In this video Darwish explains that AT THE END of EVERY Islamic SERVICE THEY PRAY FOR THE DEATH OF JEWS, CHRISTIANS, and INFIDELS.
http://www.youtube.co…

Ex-Muslim, Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan Blasts Islam, and says: “Islam is a political doctrine”
http://www.youtube.co…

Sheikh Abu Ala Maududi, stated in his book, “Islamic Law and Constitution” that the Islamic State:
“seeks to mould every aspect of life and activity…. In such a state no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic State bears a kind of resemblance
to the Fascist and Communist states.” and;

“Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam.” p 262

– Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, publicly read this Islamic poem:
“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and Muslims our soldiers… He also stated there is no moderate Islam, or radical Islam there is only Islam.

Pamela Geller’s is a leading opponent of Ground Zero Mosque. There is all kinds of documentation on her site about Honor Killings, Abuses of Woman, torture, etc.

She has an interview with the Iman Rauf of GZ Mosque who compares Jihad to football, and just past 6:30 minutes states HOW HE USES PRESIDENTS. It is pure jihad strategy. He says all he cares about is moving the ball forward, even if it is only one yard at time.
http://atlasshrugs200…

I believe there are moderate muslims, but in the end, how many of them would prefer Sharia over a republic? They could transform the country peacefully via the ballot box. Every expert I know has said we are in danger.

Muslim Brotherhood – Sunni Movement

The Society of the Muslim Brothers, often simply, The Brotherhood or MB) is a Sunni transnational movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.[1] The world’s oldest and largest Islamic political group, it was founded in 1928, in Egypt by the schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna.

The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”. Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals, with some exceptions such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to overthrow secular Ba’athist rule in Syria (see Hama massacre). This position has been questioned, particularly by the Egyptian government, which accused the group of a campaign of killings in Egypt after World War II.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, and members have been arrested for their participation in it. As a means of circumventing the ban, supporters run for office as independents. The Egyptian government in one case responded by obstructing voters, despite Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak‘s promise to have a “free and fair election.”

Outside of Egypt, the group’s political activity has been described as evolving away from modernism and reformism towards a more traditional, “rightist conservative” stance.  For example, the Muslim Brotherhood party in Kuwait opposes suffrage for women. The Brotherhood condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks, but whether or not it has ties to terrorism is a matter of dispute. Its position on violence has also caused disputes within the movement, with advocates of violence at times breaking away to form groups such as the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Excommunication and Migration).

Among the Brotherhood’s more influential members was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was the author of one of Islamism‘s most important books, Milestones, which called for the restoration of Islam by re-establishing the Sharia and by using “physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system,” which he believed to include the entire Muslim world. While studying at university, Osama bin Laden claimed to have been influenced by the religious and political ideas of several professors with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood including both Sayyid Qutb and his brother Muhammad Qutb. However, once Al Qaeda was fully organized, they denounced the Muslim Brotherhood’s reform through nonviolence and accused them of “betraying the cause of Islam and abandoning their ‘jihad’ in favour of forming political parties and supporting modern state institutions”.

The Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions are from members who live in oil-rich countries

In the group’s belief, the Quran and Sunna constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The MB goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia. It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam. The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim nations during the early 20th century.

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam very traditionally. Its founder called for “a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior,” “segregation of male and female students,” a separate curriculum for girls, and “the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes…” The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree.

Organization

From transcripts the following hierarchical Organisation structure can be derived:

  • The General Organisational Conference is the highest body of the Ikhwans stemming from the Ikhwans bases, every Usra elects one or two deputies according to its number.
  • The Shura Council has the duties of planning, charting general policies and programs that achieve the goal of the Group. Its resolutions are binding to the Group and only the General Organisational Conference can modify or annul them and the Shura Office has also the right to modify or annul resolutions of the Executive Office. It follows the implementation of the Group policies and programs. It directs the Executive Office and it forms dedicated branch committees to assist in that.[24]
  • Executive Office (Guidance Office) with its leader the General Masul (General Guide) and its members, both appointed by the Shura Office, has to follow up and guide the activities of the General Organisation. It submits a periodical report to the Shura Council about its work and of the activity of the domestic bodies and the general organisations. It distributes its duties to its members according to the internal bylaws.

It has the following divisions : – Executive leadership – Organisational office – Secretariat general – Education office – Political office – Sisters office

In each country there is a Branch committee with a Masul (leader) appointed by the General Executive leadership with essentially the same Branch-divisions as the Executive office has. To the duties of every branch belong fundraising, infiltrating in and overtaking other Muslim organisations for the sake of uniting the Muslims to dedicate them to the general goals of the MB.

The general goals and strategic plans of the MB are only found in Arabic documents. One for Europe called “The Project” was found in 2001 in Switzerland, another for North America was found in 2005 called the “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” An evaluation of this Memorandum was made for the US-Congress and for the Pentagon. Their influence is fast growing, especially in Europe, but not easy to trace while the active members have to keep their membership secret.

One citation from the document “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” makes the objectives of the MB clear: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Main Activity-plan

The main goals on mid-term as approved by the Executive office and the Shura Council are formulated in a 5-year action plan derived from transcripts:

Primary goals

  • reinstatement of the caliphate and reunite the “dar el Islam“.
  • Strengthening the internal structure
  • Administrative discipline
  • Recruitment and settlement of the Dawa’a
  • Energizing the organisations work
  • Energizing political work fronts (e.g. in civil political organisations)

Secondary goals

  • Finance and Investment
  • Foreign relations
  • Reviving Woman’s activity
  • Political awareness to the members of the Group
  • Securing the group (To find out if they are being monitored, and if, how they can get rid of them)
  • Dawa’ah (the lecture/speech of religion)
  • Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
  • Taking advantage of human potentials (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organisations)

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company. It began as a religious, political, and social movement with the credo, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Al-Banna called for the return to an original Islam and followed Islamic reformers like Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. According to him, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by Allah that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems.

The Brotherhood also saw itself as a political and social movement . Al-Banna strived to be a populist. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed to want to protect the workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. However, in addition to holding conservative views on issues such as women’s rights, it was from the start extremely hostile to independent working-class and popular organisations such as trade unions.[31] This is disputed however by William Cleveland, who points out that the Muslim Brotherhood became involved with the labour movement early on, and supported efforts to create trades unions and unemployment benefits.

By 1936, it had 800 members, then this number increased greatly to up to 200,000 by 1938. By 1948, the Brotherhood had about half a million members. Robin Hallett says: “By the late 1940s the Brotherhood was reckoned to have as many as 2 million members, while its strong Pan-Islamic ideas had gained its supporters in other Arab lands”. The Muslim Brotherhood also tried to build up something like an Islamist International, thus founding groups in Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), and Transjordan (1946). It also recruited among the foreign students in Cairo. Its headquarters in Cairo became a center and meeting place for representatives from the whole Muslim world.

Underground links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and democracy in Western societies generally.

In November 1948 police seized an automobile containing the documents and plans of what was thought to be the Brotherhood’s “secret apparatus” (its military wing) with names of its members. The seizure was preceded by an assortment of bombings and assassination attempts by the apparatus. Subsequently 32 of its leaders were arrested and its offices raided. The next month the Egyptian Prime Minister of Egypt, Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, ordered the dissolution of the Brotherhood.

In what is thought to be retaliation for these acts, a member of the Brotherhood, veterinary student Abdel Meguid Ahmed Hassan, assassinated the Prime Minister on December 28, 1948. A month and half later Al-Banna himself was killed in Cairo by men believed to be government agents and/or supporters of the murdered premier.

The Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954 when it was convicted of the attempt to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian government. The group had denied involvement in the incident and accused the government of staging the incident to use it as a pretext to persecute the group and its members. On this basis from 1954 until Nasser’s death in 1970, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were systemically tortured under Nasser’s secular regime, highlighted in Zainab al Ghazali‘s Return of the Pharaoh. Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, promised the Brotherhood that shari’a would be implemented as the Egyptian law and released all of the Brotherhood prisoners. However, as a result of Sadat signing the peace agreement with Israel in 1979, an Islamic group other than the Brotherhood assassinated Sadat in September, 1981.

The Brotherhood is still periodically subjected to mass arrests. It remains an extreme opposition group in Egypt, advocating Islamic reform, democratic system and maintaining a vast network of support through Islamic charities working among poor Egyptians. The political direction it has been taking lately has tended towards more moderate Islamism and Islamic Democracy, somewhat more anti-Western than and a degree to right of Turkey‘s ruling Justice and Development Party.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s candidates, who had to run as independents due to their illegality as a political party, won 88 seats (20% of the total) to form the largest opposition bloc. The electoral process was marred by many irregularities, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. One observer, Jameel Theyabi, writing in an op-ed for Dar Al-Hayat, noted that a December 2006 Muslim Brotherhood military parade and the “wearing of uniforms, displaying the phrase, ‘We Will be Steadfast’, and the drills involving martial arts, betray the group’s intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of ‘secret cells’….” .

Of course, the huge gains in the 2005 parliamentary elections allowed the Brotherhood to pose “a democratic political challenge to the regime, not a theological one” . Initially, there has been widespread skepticism regarding the movement’s commitment to use its influence to push Egypt forward towards a democratic state. For instance, briefly after the elections Sameh Fawzy remarked in the Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper, “If the Muslim Brotherhood were in a position to enforce its ideological monopoly, the vast majority of the populace would face severe restrictions on its freedom of opinion and belief, not just on religious matters, but on social, political, economic and cultural affairs as well”  However, considering its actions in the Egyptian parliament since 2005, it appears that those skeptics misjudged the movement’s scope. In an article for the Middle East Report Samer Shehata from Georgetown University and Joshua Stacher from the British University in Egypt claim that, in fact, it was the Muslim Brotherhood that revived a parliament that till then had “a reputation for being a rubber stamp for the regime” . First of all, according to their observations, the movement did not simply “focus on banning books and legislating the length of skirts” . Instead, the movement’s involvement shows attempts to reform the political system. Unlike other MPs, those associated with the Brotherhood took their parliamentary duties very seriously as an “unmatched record of attendance”  already shows. Moreover, they also took their role as members of the opposition to the ruling NDP quite seriously. A significant example is the creation of a considerable opposition to the extension of the emergency law when MPs associated with the Brotherhood “formed a coalition with other opposition legislators and with sympathetic members of the NDP, to protest the extension” . The overall involvement leads Shehata and Stacher to the conclusion that the Brotherhood has convincingly attempted to transform “the Egyptian parliament into a real legislative body, as well as an institution that represents citizens and a mechanism that keeps government accountable”.

Meanwhile, approved opposition parties won only 14 seats. This revived the debate within the Egyptian political elite about whether the Brotherhood should remain banned.

Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East

Bahrain

In Bahrain, the Muslim Brotherhood is represented by the Al Eslah Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. Following parliamentary elections in 2002, Al Menbar became the joint largest party with eight seats in the forty seat Chamber of Deputies. Prominent members of Al Menbar include Dr Salah Abdulrahman, Dr Salah Al Jowder, and outspoken MP Mohammed Khalid. The party has generally backed government sponsored legislation on economic issues, but has sought a clamp down on pop concerts, sorcery and soothsayers. It has strongly opposed the government’s accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party’s view they should be “beheaded”.

Municipal councillor, Dr Salah Al Jowder, has campaigned against people being able to look into other people’s houses, changing the local by-laws in Muharraq to ensure that all new buildings are fitted with one way glass to prevent residents being able to see out. Although a competitor with the salafist Asalah party, it seems likely that Al Menbar will opt for a political alliance in 2006s election to avoid splitting the Sunni Islamist vote.

Syria

Main article: History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria

Muslim Brotherhood in Syria was founded in the 1930s (according to lexicorient.com) or in 1945, a year before independence from France, (according to journalist Robin Wright (author)). In the first decade or so of independence it was part of the legal opposition, and in the 1961 parliamentary elections it won ten seats. But after the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power it was banned. It played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based resistance movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath Party, (since 1970, it has been dominated by the Alawite Assad family, adding a religious element to its conflict with the Brotherhood). This conflict developed into an armed struggle that continued until culminating in the Hama uprising of 1982, when the rebellion was bloodily crushed by the military.

Since then, the Brotherhood has ceased to be an active political force inside Syria, but it retains a network of support in the country, of unknown strength, and has external headquarters in London and Cyprus. In recent years it has renounced violence and adopted a reformist platform, calling for the establishment of a pluralistic, democratic political system. The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, who lives as a political refugee in London.

Membership in the Syrian Brotherhood became a capital offence in Syria in the 1980 (under Emergency Law 49) and remains so, but the headquarters of the MB-linked Palestinian group, Hamas, is located in the Syria’s capital Damascus, where it is given Syrian government support. This is seen by some as an example of the lack of international centralization or even coordination of the MB.]

Palestinian territories

‘Abd al-Rahman al-Banna, brother of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, went to Palestine and established the Muslim Brotherhood there in 1935. A local nationalist, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini (see article under Mohammad Amin al-Husayni), eventually appointed by the British as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in hopes of accommodating him, was the leader of the group in Palestine. Another important leader associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine was ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam, an inspiration to Islamists because he had been the first to lead an armed resistance in the name of Palestine against the British in 1935.[47] Under these leaders, many moderate local Arab leaders were assassinated, including King Abdullah I of Jordan, and, from 1921 on, numerous terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Jews, amongst which was the murder of 67 religious Jews, men, women and children, and wounding of many others, in the 1929 Hebron massacre. Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini led a general uprising against the British from 1936 to 1939; as a Nazi ally he spent the Second World War in Nazi Germany and advocated for and aided their annihilation of the Jews.[48] In 1945, the group established a branch in Jerusalem, and by 1947 twenty-five more branches had sprung up, in towns such as Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Nablus, and Tulkarm, which total membership between 12,000 to 20,000.

Brotherhood members fought alongside the Arab armies during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and, after Israel’s creation, the ensuing Palestinian refugee crisis encouraged more Palestinian Muslims to join the group. After the war, in the West Bank, the group’s activity was mainly social and religious, not political, so it had relatively good relations with Jordan, which was in control of the West Bank after 1950. In contrast, the group frequently clashed with the Egyptian regime that controlled the Gaza Strip until 1967.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood’s goal was “the upbringing of an Islamic generation” through the restructuring of society and religious education, rather than Palestine’s liberation from Israel, and so it lost popularity to national resistance movements. Eventually, however, the Brotherhood was strengthened by several factors:

1. The creation of al-Mujamma’ al-Islami, the Islamic Center in 1973 by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin had a centralizing effect that encapsulated all religious organizations.

2. The Muslim Brotherhood Society in Jordan and Palestine was created from a merger of the branches in the West Bank and Gaza and Jordan.

3. Palestinian disillusion with the liberation front caused them to become more open to alternatives.

4. The Islamic Revolution in Iran offered inspiration to Palestinians. The Brotherhood was able to increase its efforts in Palestine and avoid being dismantled like national resistance groups because it did not focus on the occupation. While national resistance groups were being dismantled, the Brotherhood filled the void.

After the 1967 Six Day War, as Israel’s occupation started, Israel may have looked to cultivate political Islam as a counterweight to Fatah, the main secular Palestinian nationalist political organization.[52][53] Between 1967 and 1987, the year Hamas was founded, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600, and the Muslim Brotherhood named the period between 1975 and 1987 a phase of ‘social institution building.’ The Brotherhood was able to spread its ideology in six important ways. It established associations, used zakat (alms giving) for aid to poor Palestinians, promoted schools, provided students with loans, used waqf (religious endowments) to lease property and employ people, and established mosques. The establishment of mosques was the most effective, because it built hundreds of mosques in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1967 and 1987 and could use them for political and recruitment purposes.  Likewise, antagonistic and sometimes violent opposition to Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and other secular nationalist groups increased dramatically in the streets and on university campuses.

The Brotherhood’s downfall was its failure to fight the Israeli occupation, but the Intifada changed the Brotherhood’s position and Hamas was established. The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood, formed out of Brotherhood-affiliated charities and social institutions that had gained a strong foothold among the local population. During the First Intifada (1987–93), Hamas militarized and transformed into one of the most violent Palestinian militant groups.

Israel

Main article: Islamic Movement in Israel

The Muslim Brotherhood in Israel -the Islamic Movement- is divided between the southern and northern branches. The southern branch is represented in the Knesset, Israel‘s parliament while the northern radical branch boycotts Israeli elections.

Jordan

The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1942, and is a strong factor in Jordanian politics. While most political parties and movements were banned for a long time in Jordan such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Brotherhood was exempted and allowed to operate by the Jordanian monarchy. The Jordanian Brotherhood has formed its own political party, the Islamic Action Front, which has the largest number of seats of any party in the Jordanian parliament.

Iran

Although Iran is a predominately Shia country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. Navab Safavi, who founded Fadaian Islam, (also Fedayeen of Islam, or Fadayan-e Islam), an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, “was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood.” From 1945 to 1951 the Fadain assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They including anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj-Ali Razm-Ara, former Premier Abdul-Hussein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh

At that time Navab Safavi was an associate and ally of Ayatollah Khomeini who went on to become a figure in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Safavi is thought to have influenced Khomeini with the ideas of the Brotherhood Khomeini and other religious figures in Iran worked to establish Islamic unity and downplay Shia-Sunni differences.

Iraq

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood,[ but was banned from 1961 during the nationalist rule of Abd al-Karim Qasim. As government repression hardened under the Baath Party from February 1963, the group was forced to continue underground. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, the Islamic Party has reemerged as one of the main advocates of the country’s Sunni community. It has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but participates in the political process. Its leader is Tariq Al-Hashimi.

Also, in the north of Iraq there are several Islamic movements inspired by or part of the Muslim Brotherhood network. The Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) holds seats in the Kurdish parliament, as is the main political force outside the dominance of the two main secularist parties, the PUK and KDP.

Saudi Arabia

The Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of Islam and Islamic politics differs from the strict Salafi creed, Wahhabiyya, officially held by the state of Saudi Arabia. Despite this, the Brotherhood has been tolerated by the Saudi government, and maintains a presence in the country.[citation needed] Aside from tolerating the Brotherhood organization[citation needed], and according to Washington Post report, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef has denounced the Brotherhood, saying it is guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and is “the source of all problems in the Islamic world.”

Kuwait

The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait is represented in the Kuwaiti parliament by Hadas.

Muslim Brotherhood in Africa

Algeria

The Muslim Brotherhood reached Algeria during the later years of the French colonial presence in the country (1830–1962). Sheikh Ahmad Sahnoun led the organization in Algeria between 1953 and 1954 during the French colonialism. Brotherhood members and sympathizers took part in the uprising against France in 1954–1962, but the movement was marginalized during the largely secular FLN one-party rule which was installed at independence in 1962. It remained unofficially active, sometimes protesting the government and calling for increased Islamization and Arabization of the country’s politics.

When a multi-party system was introduced in Algeria in the early 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood formed the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP, previously known as Hamas), led by Mahfoud Nahnah until his death in 2003 (he was succeeded by present party leader Boudjerra Soltani). The Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria did not join the Front islamique du salut (FIS), which emerged as the leading Islamist group, winning the 1991 elections and which was banned in 1992 following a military coup d’état, although some Brotherhood sympathizers did. The Brotherhood subsequently also refused to join the violent post-coup uprising by FIS sympathizers and the Armed Islamic Groups (GIA) against the Algerian state and military which followed, and urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a return to democracy. It has thus remained a legal political organization and enjoyed parliamentary and government representation. In 1995, Sheikh Nahnah ran for President of Algeria finishing second with 25.38% of the popular vote. During the 2000s, the party—led by Nahnah’s successor Boudjerra Soltani – has been a member of a three-party coalition backing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Sudan

Until the election of Hamas in Gaza, Sudan was the one country were the Brotherhood was most successful in gaining power, its members making up a large part of the government officialdom following the 1989 coup d’état by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Always close to Egyptian politics, Sudan has had a Muslim Brotherhood presence since 1949. In 1945, a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt visited Sudan and held various meetings inside the country advocating and explaining their ideology. Sudan has a long and deep history with the Muslim Brotherhood compared to many other countries. By April 1949, the first branch of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood organization emerged. However, simultaneously, many Sudanese students studying in Egypt were introduced to the ideology of the Brotherhood. The Muslim student groups also began organizing in the universities during the 1940s, and the Brotherhood’s main support base has remained to be college educated. In order to unite them, in 1954, a conference was held, attended by various representatives from different groups that appeared to have the same ideology. The conference voted to establish a Unified Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood Organization based on the teachings of Imam Hassan Al-banna.

An offshoot of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Charter Front grew during the 1960, with Islamic scholar Hasan al-Turabi becoming its Secretary general in 1964. The Islamic Charter Front (ICM) was renamed several times most recently being called the National Islamic Front (NIF). Turabi has been the prime architect of the NIF as a modern Islamist party. He worked within the Institutions of the government, which led to a prominent position of his organization in the country. NIF supported women’s right to vote and ran women candidates. The Muslim Brotherhood/NIF’s main objective in Sudan was to Islamize the society “from above” and to institutionalize the Islamic law throughout the country where they succeeded.

The Brotherhood penetrated into the ruling political organizations, the state army and security personal, the national and regional assemblies, the youth and women organizations of Sudan. They also launched their own mass organizations among the youth and women such as the shabab al-binna, and raidat al-nahda, and launched educational campaigned to Islamize the communities throughout the country. At the same time, they gained control of several newly founded Islamic missionary and relief organizations to spread their ideology. The Brotherhood members took control of the newly established Islamic Banks as directors, administrators, employees and legal advisors, which became a source of power for the Brotherhood.

The Sudanese government has come under considerable criticism for its human rights policies, links to terrorist groups, and war in southern Sudan and Darfur.

See also: Darfur conflict, Second Sudanese Civil War, and Human rights in Sudan

The conservatism of at least some elements of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood was highlighted in an August 3, 2007 Al-Jazeera television interview of Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed. As translated by the Israeli-based MEMRI, Bin Al-Majed told his interviewer that “the West, and the Americans in particular … are behind all the tragedies that are taking place in Darfur,”

Main article: Darfur Conflict

as they “realized that it Darfur is full of treasures”; that “Islam does not permit a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims;” and that he had issued a fatwa prohibiting the vaccination of children, on the grounds that the vaccinations were “a conspiracy of the Jews and Freemasons.”

Somalia

Somalia’s wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is known by the name Harakat Al-Islah or “Reform Movement”. Nonetheless, the Brotherhood, as mentioned earlier, has inspired many Islamist organizations in Somalia. Muslim Brotherhood ideology reached Somalia in the 1960s, but Al-Islah movement was formed in 1978 and slowly grew in the 1980s. Al-Islah has been described as “a generally nonviolent and modernizing Islamic movement that emphasizes the reformation and revival of Islam to meet the challenges of the modern world,” whose “goal is the establishment of an Islamic state” and which “operates primarily in Mogadishu.”

The founders of the Islah Movement are: Sh. Mohamed Ahmed Nur, Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Abdi, Sh. Ahmed Rashid Hanafi, and Sh. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. The organization structured itself loosely and was not openly visible on the political scene of Somali society.

They chose to remain a secret movement fearing the repressive regime of Siad Barre. However, they emerged from secrecy when the regime collapsed in 1991 and started working openly thereafter. Most Somalis were surprised to see the new group they had never heard of, which was in the country since 1970s in secrecy.

According to the Islah by-law, every five years the organization has to elect its Consultative (Shura) Council which elects the Chairman and the two Vice-chairman. During the last 30 years, four chairmen were elected. These are Sheikh Mohamed Geryare (1978–1990), Dr. Mohamed Ali Ibrahim (1990–1999), Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed (1999–2008) and Dr. Ali Bashi Omar Roraye (2008–2013).

Dr. Ali bashi is a medical doctor, a former university professor and a member of the transitional parliament (2000–2008). During the 1990s, Al-Islah devoted much effort to humanitarian efforts and providing free basic social services.

The leaders of Al-Islah played a key role in the educational network and establishing Mogadishu University. Through their network, they educate more than 120,000 students in the city of Mogadishu. Many other secondary schools such as the University of East Africa in Bosasso, Puntland, are externally funded and administered through organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic organization Al-Islah. In Somalia, they are known to be a peaceful organization that does not participate in any factional fighting and rejects the use of violence.

Today the group’s membership includes urban professionals and students. According to a Crisis Group Report, Somalia’s Islamists, “Al-Islah organization is dominated by a highly educated urban elite whose professional, middle class status and extensive expatriate experiences are alien to most Somalis.”

Although Al-Islah have been criticized by some hardcore Islamists who considered them to be influenced by imperialist western values, Al-Islah speaks of democratic peaceful Somalia. They promote women’s rights, human rights, and other ideas, which they argue that these concepts originate from Islamic concepts. Al-Islah is gaining momentum in the Somali societies for their humanitarian work and moderate view of Islam.

Tunisia

Like their counterparts elsewhere in the Islamic world in general, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has influenced the Tunisia’s Islamists. One of the notable organization that was influenced and inspired by the Brotherhood is Al-Nahda (The Revival or Renaissance Party), which is Tunisia’s 2nd major Islamist grouping after Hizb ut-Tahrir. An Islamist named Rashid Ghannouchi founded the organization in 1981. While studying in Damascus and Paris, Rashid Ghannouchi embraced the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he disseminated on his return to Tunisia.

Libya

Libya was one of the first countries outside Egypt to have a Brotherhood cell. In the late 1940s when the Egyptian members were being prosecuted, King Idris I of Libya offered the Brotherhood refuge and the freedom to spread their ideology. In 1955, the University of Libya was established in Benghazi, near the Egyptian border, and it drew many Egyptian teachers and lecturers including MB members. The Muslim Brotherhood was able to influence a large number of Libyan students during this period.

Dr. Ezzudine Ibrahim was one of the most influential founders of the Brotherhood in Libya. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood was a religious and intellectual tendency in Libya and had many followers amongst the intellectuals and students in the university campuses, and by the mid 1970s it developed a structured Brotherhood organization. The Brotherhood in Libya limited itself to peaceful social, political, economic, and cultural activities.

Soon after coming to power, Muammar al-Gaddafi regarded the Brotherhood a potential source of opposition. He arrested many Egyptian Brothers and expelled them back to Egypt. In 1973, the security services arrested and tortured members of the Libyan Brotherhood banning the organization and forcing it underground. The secrecy phase helped the Brotherhood to become more popular. The Brotherhood operated secretly in groups of interlinked cells, which was spread in the country. The brotherhood remained underground until the end of 1970s. At the beginning of 1980s, the Brotherhood renamed itself the “Libyan Islamic Group” (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya al-Libyia) and tried to re-introduce themselves into the Libyan society. On March 2, 2006, the Libyan government released 132 members of the Muslim Brotherhood that were held as political prisoners.

Their core ideology, strategy, operations and membership are the same as Brotherhood groups in other countries: it seeks to replace the existing regime with one following Sharia law through what it claims are peaceful means. It has an active charitable and welfare wing and has attracted many members of the middle classes, mainly academics, students, engineers and business people. The group has been strengthened by the large number of Libyan students who became member or supporters of the Brotherhood while studying abroad in the United Kingdom and the United States, and have returned home to spread its ideology.

Muslim Brotherhood in the West

United States

The Muslim Brotherhood has been active in the US since the 1960s. Its stated goals have included propagating Islam and creating havens for Muslims in the US, and integrating Muslims. A main strategy has been dawah or Islamic renewal and outreach. In the 1960s, groups such as U.S. military personnel, prison inmates and African-Americans were specifically targeted for dawah. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the USA is

The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a “Civilization-Jihadist” process with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.

Organizations in the US started by activists involved with the Muslim Brotherhood include the Muslim Students Association in 1963, North American Islamic Trust in 1971, the Islamic Society of North America in 1981, the American Muslim Council in 1990, the Muslim American Society in 1992, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought in the 1980s. According to the Washington Post, Muslim activists say MSA’s members represent “all schools of Islam and political leanings – many are moderates, while others express anti-U.S. views or support resistance against Israelis.”

The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release as evidence of  several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood. One of these documents, dated in 1991, explains that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is “settlement”, defined by the author as a form of jihad aimed at destroying Western civilization from within and allowing for the victory of Islam over other religions. In another one of these documents, “Ikhwan in America”, the author alleges that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as Special work by the Muslim Brotherhood), as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group). In November 2008 the Holy Land Foundation was found guilty of illegally funding Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group.

Criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood

Motives

Numerous officials and reporters question the sincerity of the MB’s pronouncements. These critics include, but are not limited to:

  • U.S. White House counterterrorism chief Juan Zarate under George W. Bush, who says “The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians.”
  • Raymond Ibrahim, editor of The Al Qaeda Reader, who notes that Muhammad himself described war as “deceit” and that Muslim Brotherhood disciples, past and present, merely duplicate the “everlasting words of Allah,” as iterated in the Qur’an.
  • Miles Axe Copeland, Jr. -a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan- divulges the confessions of numerous members of the Muslim brotherhood that resulted from the harsh interrogations done against them by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, for their alleged involvement in the assassination attempt made against Nasser (an assassination attempt that many believe was staged by Nasser himself ), which revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood was merely a “guild” that fulfilled the goals of western interests: “Nor was that all. Sound beatings of the Moslem Brotherhood organizers who had been arrested revealed that the organization had been thoroughly penetrated, at the top, by the British, American, French and Soviet intelligence services, any one of which could either make active use of it or blow it up, whichever best suited its purposes. Important lesson: fanaticism is no insurance against corruption; indeed, the two are highly compatible.” .
  • Douglas Farah, a veteran international reporter who describes current Muslim Brotherhood propaganda as a “charm offensive.”
  • Former U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross, who told Asharq Alawsat newspaper that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global, not a local organization, governed by a Shura (Consultative) Council, which rejects cessation of violence in Israel, and supports violence to achieve its political objectives elsewhere too.
  • Magdy Khalil, executive editor of Egypt’s Watani International, who reports consistent MB deceit concerning Egypt’s 12.5% Coptic Christian population, so as to oppress and dhimmify them.
  • The Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz has stated that the Muslim Brotherhood organization was the cause of most problems in the Arab world. ‘The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia,’ he said. Prince Naif accused the foremost Islamist group in the Arab world of harming the interests of Muslims. ‘All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood. We have given too much support to this group…” “The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world,’ he said. ‘Whenever they got into difficulty or found their freedom restricted in their own countries, Brotherhood activists found refuge in the Kingdom which protected their lives… But they later turned against the Kingdom…’ The Muslim Brotherhood has links to groups across the Arab world, including Jordan’s main parliamentary opposition, the ‘Islamic Action Front,’ and the ‘Palestinian resistance movement, ‘Hamas.” The Interior Minister’s outburst against the Brotherhood came amid mounting criticism in the United States of Saudi Arabia’s longstanding support for Islamist groups around the world…”

Links to violence

  • The Brotherhood is widely believed to have had a “secret apparatus” responsible for attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1948[84] and the president of Egypt in 1981
  • Rachel Aspden‘s article, The Rise of the Brotherhood states that The Muslim Brotherhood currently advocates suicide bombing attacks on civilians to fight Zionism, and its self-admitted Palestinian wing Hamas indiscriminately targets Jews as such, both civilians and the military, in Israel.[86] In its Charter, Hamas cites The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and prophesizes the ultimate complete annihilation of Jewry.
  • Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff reported connections between al-Qaeda and Brotherhood figures Mamoun Darkazanli and Youssef Nada.
  • A similar article in the Financial Times reported financial links between 74-year-old Swiss Muslim convert, and businessman Ahmed Huber, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, notably Youssef Nada, Ali Ghaleb Himmat. According to the U.S. government, Al Taqwa “has long acted as financial advisers to al-Qaeda.” Huber is noted in Europe for his links with alleged neo-Nazi and other far right elements. He is reported to have “confirmed” having “had contact with associates of Osama bin Laden at an Islamic conference in Beirut,” whom he called `very discreet, well-educated, very intelligent people.
  • Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi was an influential lobbyist and founder and head of the Brotherhood-linked American Muslim Council before being convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison for conspiracy to murder Saudi Prince Abdullah at the behest of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Status of non-Muslims

  • In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt’s Coptic Christians should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, “we do not mind having Christians members in the People’s Assembly…the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country…This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy.”
  • The Muslim Brotherhood has from its beginnings had a very hostile view of Jews, considering them amongst the ultimate enemies of Islam. The influence of Nazi propaganda and literature from the 1930s and 40s has deepened this view.

Response to criticism

The Brotherhood itself denounces the “catchy and effective terms and phrases” like “fundamentalist” and “political Islam” which it claims are used by “Western Media” to pigeonhole the group, and points to its “15 Principles” for an Egyptian National Charter, including “freedom of personal conviction… opinion… forming political parties… public gatherings… free and fair elections…”

Similarly, some analysts maintain that whatever the source of modern Jihadi terrorism and the actions and words of some rogue members, the Brotherhood now has little in common with radical Islamists and modern jihadists who often condemn the Brotherhood as too moderate. They also deny the existence of any centralized and secretive global MB leadership.[96] Some claim that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology.

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