Muslim Brotherhood

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Muslim Brotherhood
الإخوان المسلمون
Al-ikhwān al-muslimūn
Leader Mahdi Akef
Founded 1928
Ismailia, Egypt
Ideology Islamism,
Islamist democracy

The Muslim Brothers (Arabic: الإخوان المسلمون al-ikhwān al-muslimūn, full title The Society of the Muslim Brothers, often simply الإخوان al-ikhwān, the Brotherhood or MB) is a transnational Sunni movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states, particularly Egypt.[1] The world's oldest and largest Islamic political group[1] was founded by the Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928. 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".[2] Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals, [3][4] 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.[5]

The Brotherhood has been described as both unjustly oppressed and dangerously violent.[who?] Members have been arbitrarily arrested;[6][7] in Egypt the government has obstructed the party's attempts to field candidates in elections, with arrests or harassment of activists[8][9] and obstruction of voting in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds.[10] However, supporters of the Brotherhood have demonstrated violence on their part in many occasions and have often clashed with supporters of other parties, specifically the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Egypt. 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.[11] The Brotherhood's official opposition to terror against civilians and condemnation the 9/11[12] [13]attacks is a matter of international controversy.[citation needed] 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).[14]

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,"[15] which he believed to include the entire Muslim world.[16] 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. While some have claimed that the Brotherhood's theology and methods are opposed to those of bin Laden, and that they are "reformist," "democratic," "non-violent" and "chiefly political",[17] some journalists have reported the opposite.[18][19][20][21][22]

The Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members who are required to allocate portion of their income to the movement. Most of these contributions come from members living in oil-rich countries, such as Saudi Arabia.[23]


[edit] Beliefs

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, stretched from Spain to Indonesia.[24] 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 quite strictly. 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..."[25]

The Brotherhood is one of the most influential movements in the Muslim world,[26] and especially so in the Arab world. It was founded in Egypt and Egypt is considered the center of the movement; it is generally weaker in the Maghreb, or North Africa, than in the Arab Levant. Brotherhood branches form the main opposition to the governments in several countries in the Arab world, such as Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and are politically active to some extent in nearly every Muslim country[citation needed], possibly excluding Turkey. There are also diaspora branches in several Western nations and in south and east Asia, composed by immigrants previously active in the Brotherhood in their home countries.

The movement is immensely influential in many Muslim countries, and where legally possible, it often operates important networks of Islamic charities, creating a support base among Muslim poor. However, most of the countries where the Brotherhood is active are ruled by non-pluralist regimes. As a consequence, the movement is banned in several Arab nations, and restrictions on political activity prevent it from gaining power through elections.

The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created separate 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.[27]

[edit] Organization

From transcripts[28] 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. [29]
  • 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 (not complete): - 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."[30] An evaluation of this Memorandum was made for the US-Congress and for the Pentagon.[31] 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"[32] 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."

[edit] 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:[33]

[edit] 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)

[edit] 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)
  • Special activity (this means Military work[34])
  • Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
  • Taking advantage of human potentials (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organisations)

[edit] Criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood

[edit] Sincerity

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, 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."[35]
  • Columnist and former Kuwaiti official Dr. Ahmad Al-Rabi, who has written that the "beginnings of all of the religious terrorism that we are witnessing today were in the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology."[36]
  • 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.[37][38]
  • Douglas Farah, a veteran international reporter who describes current Muslim Brotherhood propaganda as a "charm offensive."[39]
  • 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.[40]
  • 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.[41]

[edit] Links to violence

  • The Brotherhood is widely believed to have had a `secret apparatus` responsible for terrorist attacks in Egypt including the assassination of Egypt's prime minister in 1948.[42]
  • According to Rachel Aspden's article, 'The Rise of the Brotherhood,' The Muslim Brotherhood currently advocates suicide bombing attacks on civilians to fight Zionism, and its Palestinian wing Hamas[43] targets both civilians and the military in Israel.
  • Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff report connections between al-Qaeda and Brotherhood figures Mamoun Darkazanli and Youssef Nada.[44]
  • A similar article in the Financial Times reported financial links between 74-year-old Swiss Muslim convert, businessman and neo-Nazi Ahmed Huber, and MB members, notably Youssef Nada, Ali Ghaleb Himmat and who founded the Al Taqwa Bank. According to the U.S. government, Al Taqwa "has long acted as financial advisers to al-Qaeda." Huber himself is noted in Europe for his links with alleged neo-Nazi and other far right elements.[45][46] 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.`[45]
  • Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, an "expert in the art of deception" 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.[47]

[edit] Status of non-Muslims

  • In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud[48] 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, due to the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service, while it is compulsory for Muslims.). He went on to say that while `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, Mashhur explained because `when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy.`"[49]

[edit] Muslim Brotherhood's brief 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..."[50] 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.[51] Other experts argue that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology, not that of the Muslim Brotherhood.[52][53]

[edit] 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.”[54][55] 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.[56] The Brotherhood also saw itself as a political and social movement [8]. 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,[25] it was from the start extremely hostile to independent working-class and popular organisations such as trade unions.[56] 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.[57]

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".[58] 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.[56]

In November 1948 police seized an automobile containing the documents and plans of what was thought to be the Brotherhood's "secret apparatus" 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 are arrested and its offices raided.[5] 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.[59] 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. On the other hand observers such as 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'...."[60]

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

General leaders (G.L) or Mentors of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt المرشد العام لجماعة الإخوان المسلمون

[edit] Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East

[edit] 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".[61] 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.[62] 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.

[edit] Syria

Founded in the 1930s by Syrian students who had participated in the Egyptian Brotherhood, the Brotherhood in Syria played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based resistance movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath Party, which seized power in 1963 (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.[63] 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. However, membership of the Brotherhood remains a capital offence in Syria, as specified under Emergency Law 49 of 1980. The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanuni, who lives as a political refugee in London.

[edit] 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. 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. A local nationalist, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini (also known as Musa al-Huseini), 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.[9][64]

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.[10]

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.[65] 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, and 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.[11]

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.[66][67] 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.'[68] 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.[69]<

The Brotherhood's downfall was its failure to fight the Israeli occupation, but the Intifada changed the Brotherhood's position and Hamas was established.[12] The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood,[70] 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.

[edit] 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.

[edit] 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, 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.[71]

[edit] Iran

Although Iran is a predominately Shia country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine and does not have any presence there, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. [13] Navab Safavi, who founded Fadaian Islam, [14] (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."[citation needed] 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.[72]

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[72] Khomeini and other religious figures in Iran worked to establish Islamic unity and downplay Shia-Sunni differences.[citation needed]

[edit] Iraq

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood,[73] 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.[74] 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.[75]

[edit] 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. Aside from tolerating the Brotherhood organization, 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."[23]

[edit] Kuwait

The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait is very conservative and has opposed women's right to vote.[76][77]

[edit] Muslim Brotherhood in Africa

[edit] Algeria

The Muslim Brotherhood reached Algeria as early as the French Colonial presence in the country. Sheikh Ahmad Sahnoun led the organization in Algeria between 1953 and 1954 during the French colonialism. The Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria is known by the name of the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), led by Mahfoud Nahnah until his death in 2003. In 1995, he ran for President of Algeria getting 25.38% of the popular vote. The Movement for the Society of Peace, which changed its name from Hamas, received 7% of the vote in the 2002 elections and has 38 members in the parliament. MSP is a legal political organization and enjoys parliamentary representation. In the 2004 presidential elections, they endorsed and were part of a coalition supporting current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

[edit] 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.

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,"

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."[78]

[edit] 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." [79]

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. [79] 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 Western 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.

[edit] 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 major Islamist grouping. 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. Al Nahda members were allowed to stand in the 1989 election, where they captured around 14% of the votes, and were close to winning a majority in several urban areas. Others say that the real percentage attained by the Islamist candidates was 30-32%. However, the government quickly cracked down harshly, and banned the Nahda organization and imprisoned thousands of members of the organization. Their mouthpiece newspaper is Al-Fajr, and in Tunisia The Arabic language television station El Zeitouna is believed to be connected with Al Nahda movement. The Nahda usually distances itself as a branch from the Muslim Brotherhood.

[edit] Libya

Libya was one of the first countries outside Egypt to have a Brotherhood cell[citation needed]. 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.[citation needed] The Muslim Brotherhood was able to influence a large number of Libyan students during this period.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] In 1973, the security services arrested and tortured members of the Libyan Brotherhood banning the organization and forcing it underground.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] .

[edit] Muslim Brotherhood in the West

[edit] 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.

Organizations in the US started by activists involved with the Muslim Brotherhood include the Muslim Students Association in 1963,[23] 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.[23] 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."[23]

The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release as evidence of several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood. In one of these documents, "Ikhwan in America", it is revealed 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),[80] as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group).[81] However, these claims did not hold up in court of law and many of these cases were dismissed or those accused acquitted of all charges.

[edit] Elsewhere

In the United Kingdom, the Muslim Association of Britain is the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, in line with Al Ikhwan policy of setting up organisations that make use of the political and social structures of the host nation, other Brotherhood organisations in the UK include the UK Islamic Mission, run by Mohammed Sawalha, the Centre For the Study of Terrorism, run by Kemal Helbawy and the Scottish Islamic Foundation, run by Osama Saeed.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ a b The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine
  2. ^ "Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood". 
  3. ^ "Egyptian Regime Resasserts Its Absolute Disrespect of Law". February 6, 2007. 
  4. ^ History of Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage. 
  5. ^ a b Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, 1994?, p.140
  6. ^ "BBC news results full of news of regular arrests". 
  7. ^ Egyptian Brotherhood mass arrests [1]
  8. ^ BBC: Scores arrested in Egypt election [2]
  9. ^ "BBC News". 
  10. ^ Egypt poll clashes leave six dead [3]
  11. ^ Roy, Olivier, Globalized Islam, Columbia University Press, 2004, p.67
  12. ^ "Muslim Brother Hood Condemns 9/11 attack". 
  13. ^ "Muslim Brother Hood Condemns 9/11 attack and calls U.S the world leader in terrorism". 
  14. ^ The Salafist Movement, Frontline (PBS)
  15. ^ Qutb, Sayyid, Milestones, (1981) p.55, 62
  16. ^ Qutb, Sayyid, Milestones, (1981) p.11, 19
  17. ^ "American Thinker: Islam's Useful Idiots". 
  18. ^ "Douglas Farah: The Ongoing Debate over the Muslim Brotherhood". 
  19. ^ "JCPA Radical Islam-The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?". 
  20. ^ "MEMRI: Special Dispatch Series - No. 1638". 
  21. ^ "JCPA Radical Islam-Al-Qaeda: The Next Goal Is to Liberate Spain from the Infidels". 
  22. ^ "A ‘Moderate' Path Is Just Another Road to Disaster - March 12, 2007 - The New York Sun". 
  23. ^ a b c d e In Search Of Friends Among The Foes U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group
  24. ^ Davidson, Lawrence (1998) Islamic Fundamentalism Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., ISBN 0313299781 pp. 97-98;
  25. ^ a b In his tract, "Toward the Light" in Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna, trans. by Charles Wendell (Berkeley, 1978), ISBN 0520095847 pp.126f., al-Banna writes: "Following are the principal goals of reform grounded on the spirit of genuine Islam... Treatment of the problem of women in a way which combines the progressive and the protective, in accordance with Islamic teaching, so that this problem - one of the most important social problems - will not be abandoned to the biased pens and deviant notions of those who err in the directions of deficiency and excess... a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behaviour; the instruction of women in what is proper, with particular strictness as regards female instructors, pupils, physicians, and students, and all those in similar categories... a review of the curricula offered to girls and the necessity of making them distinct from the boys' curricula in many stages of education... segregation of male and female students; private meetings between men and women, unless within the permitted degrees of relationship, to be counted as a crime for which both will be censured... the encouragement of marriage and procreation, by all possible means; promulgation of legislation to protect and give moral support to the family, and to solve the problems of marriage... the closure of morally undesirable ballrooms and dance-halls, and the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes..."
  26. ^ The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine [4]
  27. ^ The Future of Political Islam, Graham E. Fuller, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p.138
  28. ^ Zeid al-Noman, "Ikhwan in America", p. 15-16
  29. ^ "The West and Islam", By Mishal Fahm Sulami
  30. ^ "General Strategic goal for North America", original with translated memorandum
  31. ^ "Analyses of Muslim Brotherhood's General Strategic Goals for North America Memorandum", by Stephen Coughlin September 7, 2007
  32. ^ "General Strategic goal for North America", original with translated memorandum, page 21(7/18) par."4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:"
  33. ^ Zeid al-Noman, "Ikhwan in America", page 8
  34. ^ Zeid al-Noman, "Ikhwan in America", page 13
  35. ^ Poole, Patrick, (26 March 2007) "Mainstreaming the Muslim Brotherhood" Front Page Magazine, citing Sylvain Besson, La Conquête De L’Occident: Le Projet Secret Des Islamistes, p. 39) accessed 4-25-2007
  36. ^ "Ehrenfeld and Lappen, (16 June 2006) "The Truth about the Muslim Brotherhood" Front Page Magazine". 
  37. ^ "Raymond Ibrahim on Abu Hamza al-Masri on National Review Online". 
  38. ^ "American Thinker: The Al Qaeda Reader: A Review". 
  39. ^ "Douglas Farah: The Amazing Deception in the Muslim Brotherhood's Charm Offensive". 
  40. ^ "Lufti, Manal, "The Brotherhood and America Part III," (14 March 2007) Asharq Alawsat". 
  42. ^ Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience by Caryle Murphy, p.54
  43. ^ Aspden, Rachel (20 February 2006) "The Rise of the Brotherhood" New Statesman 135(4780) p.15
  44. ^ [5] "Spreading fundamentalist Islam - but does the Muslim Brotherhood also support terrorism?"
  45. ^ a b Far-right has ties with Islamic extreme. By Hugh Williamson and Philipp Jaklin. 8 November 2001
  46. ^ Links Between American, European Terrorist Groups. Transcript of interview with Ahmed Huber aired March 5, 2002
  47. ^ [6] "Abdulrahman Alamoudi - Head of American Muslim Council goes to jail for 23 years"
  48. ^ article printed in Al Ahram Weekly July 5-9, 1997, quoted in Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience by Caryle Murphy, p.241, 330
  49. ^ Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, by Caryle Murphy, Simon and Schuster, 2002, p.241, 330
  50. ^ "The Principles of The Muslim Brotherhood". 
  51. ^ "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood". 
  52. ^ "The root of terrorism is Wahabism". 
  53. ^ "The root of terrorism". 
  54. ^ "FAS Intelligence Resource Program". 
  55. ^ "Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage". 
  56. ^ a b c Küntzel, 2002. Pg. 17-19
  57. ^ A History of the Modern Middle East, William Cleveland, p.200
  58. ^ Hallett, Robin. Africa Since 1875. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press (1974), pg. 138.
  59. ^
  60. ^ The Brotherhood's Power display (18 December 2006) [7]
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^ Cohen, 1982. Pg. 144
  65. ^ 0253208661
  66. ^ How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas, by Andrew Higgins] Wall Street Journal January 24, 2009
  67. ^ How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe, by Avi Shlaim Guardian UK January 7, 2009
  68. ^ 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.[ /13/was_hamas_the_work_of_the_israeli_mossad/1613/ Was Hamas the Work of the Israeli Mossad? by Ramzy Baroud] Middle East Times March 13, 2009
  69. ^ How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas, by Andrew Higgins] Wall Street Journal January 24, 2009
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^ a b The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution by Amir Taheri, Adler and Adler c1985, p.107-109
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^ The Future of Political Islam, by Graham E. Fuller, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003) p.39
  77. ^ "Charting the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood".,1518,491925,00.html. 
  78. ^ "Al-Jazeera Interviews - Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Sudan". 
  79. ^ a b International Religious Freedom Report 2004. Somalia
  80. ^ Zeid al-Noman, "Ikhwan in America", pp. 13 and 16
  81. ^ Zeid al-Noman, "Ikhwan in America", p. 13

[edit] References

  • Baer, Robert (2002). See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 9781400046843. 
  • Cohen, Amnon (1982). Political Parties in the West Bank under the Jordanian Regime, 1949-1967. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801413216. 
  • Dreyfuss, Robert (2006). Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. Owl Books. ISBN 978-0805076523. 
  • Grundmann, Johannes: Islamische Internationalisten - Strukturen und Aktivitäten der Muslimbruderschaft und der Islamischen Weltliga. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2005, ISBN 3-89500-447-2 (Review by I. Küpeli)
  • Küntzel, Matthias. "Djihad und Judenhaß" Ça-Ira-Verlag, Freiburg, 2002.
  • Vidino,Lorenzo. "The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe".

Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005.

[edit] External links

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