Tuesday, May 27, 2014

3. The Muslim Brotherhood in North America: (Violence, Current Events, Law, Extremism)



6.  The Muslim Brotherhood in North America

On 26 October 1954, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Nasser. This would become known as the Manshiyya Incident.[i] In retaliation, the Egyptian government launched a major crackdown (again) on the organization and jailed thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members.[ii]
A number of Muslim Brotherhood members would flee Egypt as well.  Among the most noteworthy were individuals such as Said Ramadan[iii] who was a close confident and the son-in-law of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan Banna. From this exile in Geneva and later Munich, Ramadan would lay the foundations for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.[iv]  This would lead to the founding of a number of Muslim Brotherhood related organizations such as the Islamic Center Cologne (Islamisches Zentrum Köln) and the German Muslim Students Association (Muslim Studenten Vereinigung in Deutschland).[v] 
At the same time, a number of Muslim Brotherhood members came to North America as students or as immigrants.[vi]  Over time, they would start to build adherent organizations to support the Muslim Brotherhood cause such as The Cultural Society (1962),[vii] The Muslim Students Organization (1963), The Islamic Society of North America (1982/83) and the Muslim American Society (1993) among many others.
In 1981, Zeid al-Noman would give a speech in which he discussed the arrival and evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America.[viii] 
This was the reason for which the name "The Muslim Brotherhood" was adopted as a basis for this work. I mean, to the point that, at some point, there was an attempt to change the name of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement to The Islamic Movement and making it affiliated with a dissenting group in Iraq called the Islamic Movement. All of that, Ikhwans, was at the beginning of work when the Ikhwans who came to America, may God reward them all good, were seeking methods for activism. This was probably in mid-60's ...er, or even ....,I mean, mid 60's, long time ago.
…I mean, the Movement stared here in the 60's and we are now in the 80's. That means that the Movement's age is between 15 and 20 years only. Despite of that, the result of the experience ...., the experience Movement went through, is large and it made it possible to short-cut many years as a result of the fusion of different experiences which came from different backgrounds. After that, we examine what ..., what is the nature of this Movement after it gained it and what are the real reasons which made it go through the circumstances it went through. We say that, first of all, the organizational base in North America is an organizational base with a dynamic characteristic.
As noted elsewhere this paper, the Muslim Brotherhood in North America discussed the various advantages and disadvantages of secrecy and also the use of camps for military training. In 1991, Zeid al-Noman told an assembled group of Muslim Brothers:
Unidentified Male: You mentioned that there is a weapons training at the Ikhwans' camps but I did not see that at all in the mid-southern region camps. So, would you explain to us the reasons?

Zeid al-Noman: By God, the first thing is that you thank God and praise him because you found a camp to meet in. You know that, for instance, Oklahoma has become a blocked area for you. You cannot meet in it in the first place, right? Then, the nature.. .. What? [Unintelligible talk from the audience] Yes, I'm sorry. I thought ..., Ok. My brothers, according to what we learned ...,to what I learned, in Oklahoma they started to be strict about letting Muslims use the camps. They would ask them, for instance, to submit their name and they would ask you to bring an ID or something to prove your name. I learned that they were going on a picnic recently, a trip, and the police came asking each person to give ..., to present a...,er, to show his ID or even his visa. These harassments exist then in the state of Oklahoma, for instance. And these are among the reasons which made our brothers in the reason to have their camp here in Missouri. Right, my brother? Then, the circumstances which a region goes through are the ones which determine. In some of the regions when they go to a camp, they take two things, they would request a camp which has a range, a shooting range and one which has a range to shoot, one which has a range which they use for shooting. You would find that in some of the camps. They would get an advance permit for that. I mean, I don't know the possibility of having these camps here and also whether the pressure which exists in Oklahoma ...., and whether they will have a weapons training in the other regions ...., these harassments might continue, I mean, become contagious to the other regions. (Emphasis added)

After the movement had been in existence for some twenty five years, the Muslim Brotherhood had developed an organization and strategy on how to further build the movement. There were five year plans (1975 to 1980: focus on general work and dedication to the general work organizations, 1981-1985: focus on self-structure and settlement of the Dawa'a).[ix]
Zeid al-Noman adds to this and explains:
The main goals which were approved by the executive office were five ...., which were put together by the executive office and which were then approved by the Shura Council were,

First of all: Strengthening the internal structure;
Second, administrative discipline;
Third, recruitment and settlement of the Dawa'a;
Four, energizing the organizations' work;
Five, energizing political work fronts.

Also, it adopted eight of the secondary goals on top of which were:
finance and investment;
Second, foreign relations;
Third, reviving women's activity;
Four, political awareness to members of the Group;
Five, securing the Group; (al-Noman says this is security against outside dangers like the CIA)
Six, special activity; (al-Noman explains this as “Military work is listed under Special work")
Seven, media;
Eight, taking advantage of human potentials.

 In 1987, the movement produced a plan that came about from their conference that year.  It would be described as:[x]
The general strategic goal of the Group in America which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational Conference for the year [1987] is "Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims' causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims' efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic State wherever it is".
In 1991, this plan would receive further development and explanation in An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America 5/22/1991.[xi] This eighteen page document was the result of the five years’ work since the 1987 conference and communication among many of the Muslim Brotherhood key leadership figures as well as their rank and file.  The Explanatory Memorandum explains this by saying:

My request to my brothers is to read the memorandum and to write what they wanted of comments and corrections, keeping in mind that what is between your hands is not strange or a new submission without a root, but rather an attempt to interpret and explain some of what came in the long-term plan which we approved and adopted in our council and our conference in the year (1987).

What can be seen then, is that the 1991 memorandum was the cumulative result of at least two five year plans, several conference and the last five years of discussion (1987-1991).  The presenter of the memorandum was Mohammed Akram[xii] (aka Mohamed Akram al-Adlouni).  While there are a number of startling statements in the memorandum, perhaps the most interesting is:
4-  Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America: 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. 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 chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.

The process of the building of the Muslim Brotherhood has not been linear and there is no intent here to suggest that there exist a central office that dictates all of the policy and events.  The efforts have had period of advances and other periods when the group has had factional infighting and ideological disputes about the future role and goals.  In his own words, Zeid al-Noman notes:

So, the Movement then-current situation exploded during the camp of '77 and a new leadership came on board in '78 whose work was bitter as it was trying to purge the Group's body from regional restrictions and gatherings or from the organizational pockets and tied its parts together but, during this time period, it was a non-harmonious leadership and going back and forth was evident in its positions. Despite that, it managed to place the Ikhwans in front of the true picture of their reality and to shake them deeply from the inside. Therefore, the conferences of '77, '78 and '79 used to end with tears and pain but, to say the truth, were very important for what happened after that. This time period was characterized by change; a change in Ikhwans who wanted to change the status quo and others who want to maintain the status quo.[xiii]

The issues of whether the Muslim Brotherhood was an international organization or a local one has also arisen on frequent occasions.  To who should an individual declare his/her loyalty (bayat[xiv])?  This discussion, and how to resolve it, was the subject of discussion in the 1991 General Memorandum.[xv]  The following shows that there is/was discord around the issue of whether the goal was to support the Muslim Brotherhood in America and Canada, or if the goal was to support the international movement:

7-  The conviction that the success of the settlement of Islam and its Movement in this country is a success to the global Islamic Movement and a true support for the sought-after state, God willing:
There is a conviction - with which this memorandum disagrees - that our focus in attempting to settle Islam in this country will lead to negligence in our duty towards the global Islamic Movement in supporting its project to establish the state. We believe that the reply is in two segments: One - The success of the Movement in America in establishing an observant Islamic base with power and effectiveness will be the best support and aid to the global Movement project. And the second - is the global Movement has not succeeded yet in "distributing roles" to its branches, stating what is the needed from them as one of the participants or contributors to the project to establish the global Islamic state. The day this happens, the children of the American Ikhwani branch will have far-reaching impact and positions that make the ancestors proud.


The Cultural Society[xvi] (Missouri Benevolent Corporation)

The first formalized organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America was most likely the Cultural Society. 

A U.S. chapter of the Brotherhood … was formed in the early 1960s after hundreds of young Muslims came to the U.S. to study, particularly at large Mid-western universities such as Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Some belonged to the Brotherhood in their homelands and wanted to spread its ideology here. But to protect themselves and their relatives back home from possible persecution, they publicly called themselves “The Cultural Society” and not “The Brotherhood.”[xvii]

The Muslim Students Association (MSA)

According to the website[xviii] of the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. & Canada (MSA National) was founded in 1963.[xix]  Their ‘about us’ page states:

Established in January 1963, the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. & Canada (MSA National) continues to serve Muslim students during their college and university careers by facilitating their efforts to establish, maintain and develop local MSA chapters.

First established on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by a conference of Muslim students from around the U.S. and Canada, MSA National has been a uniting forum for Muslim students from diverse backgrounds over four decades.

Others suggest that the MSA was formed in 1962.  It is not clear if there were two “founding” conferences or if this is a definitional issue.  For instance, there may have been the first conference in 1962, but no incorporation papers until 1963. 

According to one of the founders of the MSA, Ahmad Sakr:[xx]

The MSA
 of the U.S. and Canada was officially formed at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on January 1, 1962. We first met in Urbana on December 25th, 1961, when some MSA students were visiting us from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Then we met again on the first day of January 1962 to plan a strategy for the bylaws and how to organize all the students in America. There were about eight people from four different states. In April of the same year, we had our first annual convention in Urbana where fifteen people attended. The second convention was in Urbana as well, and fifty people attended. And the third was in Carbondale, Illinois where we had two hundred people attend.... At that time, we were [all] known as “Muslims”… there was no difference between Arabs and non-Arabs, Shia and Sunni. People at the time did not know much about Islam. We were invited by non-Muslims to give lectures about Islam. Even the university’s foreign student advisor used to help and guide us, and gave us a plaque of achievement. MSA was the best student group on campus; we used to pray daily on campus and had a series of lectures to non-Muslims on Friday evenings.[xxi]

The MSA would serve as both an organizational base for the Muslim Brotherhood and as a recruiting field.  As Steve Merley puts it:

It is likely that the MSA served as an important recruiting tool for the U.S. MB. The Chicago Tribune investigation details how the Cultural Society’s recruitment process involved careful  surveillance of Islamic facilities and organizations:

Not anyone could join the Brotherhood. The group had a carefully detailed strategy on how to find and evaluate potential members, according to a Brotherhood instructional booklet for recruiters. Leaders would scout mosques, Islamic classes, and Muslim organizations for those with orthodox religious beliefs consistent with Brotherhood views…. The leaders then would invite them to join a small prayer group, or usra (family or prayer group). The prayer groups were a defining feature of the Brotherhood…. But leaders initially would not reveal the purpose of the prayer groups, and recruits were asked not to tell anyone about the meetings. If recruits asked about a particular meeting to which they were not invited, they should respond, “Make it a habit not to meddle in that which does not concern you.” Leaders were told that during prayer meetings they should focus on fundamentals, including “the primary goal of the Brotherhood: setting up the rule of God upon the Earth.” After assessing the recruits’ “commitment, loyalty, and obedience” to Brotherhood ideals, the leaders would invite suitable candidates to join. New members, according to the booklet, would be told that they now were part of the worldwide Brotherhood and that membership “is not a personal honor but a charge to sacrifice all that one has for the sake of raising the banner of Islam.”

The MSA grew steadily after its founding and there were eventually calls for another organization that would reach beyond just the MSA, university campuses and youth recruiting.  This push would eventually result in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).  One insider, writing a history of events surrounding the MSA, the ISNA and its youth offshoot MYNA wrote:

MSA Graduates to ISNA, takes Youth Committee along for the ride
1979-1980 - M. Naziruddin Ali is MSA president. MSA Headquarters is built in Plainfield, Indiana (it may have been completed in 1982 or 1983.) [It will go on to host many youth camps, conferences, training programs, executive council and advisor meetings, the Youth Committee chair's desk, a MYNA office, the MYNA cubicle, the MYNA cabinet, and eventually the current ISNA/MYNA youth director.]
1981-82 - Sayyid M. Syeed is MSA president. The proposed change from MSA to the "Islamic Society of North America" takes effect. The existing MSA umbrella organization becomes the ISNA umbrella organization, with various constituent organizations under it, including existing MSA constituent organizations, such as the Islamic Medical Association (IMA), as well as newly formed groups, such as the Muslim Communities Association (MCA).[xxii]
1983 - Ilyas Ba Yunus is President is the first ISNA president. (2) Da’ud Mulla is “Youth (Boys) Chairman,” (2b) Tanveer Mirza is “Youth (Girls) Chairman” of the ISNA Youth Committee, which has clearly been subdivided into Boys and Girls groups by this point.
1984 - BaYunus still president. (3) Junaid Noor Hasnain, from Columbia, Maryland, is the chairman of the Youth Committee. [His number then listed is 301-730-5044]. (3b) Fatima Abugideiri [the daughter of former 1973-74 MSA President, the now late, Tijani Abu Gideiri], from Indianapolis, IN, is the chairman of the “Young Muslimah Subcommittee.” [Her number then listed is 317-882-9798. As of 2003, she now lives in the Washington DC area]. The ISNA Youth Committee is now said to be mostly all comprised of American-born-and-raised Muslim youth.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The MSA eventually outgrew itself and the move towards what would become the ISNA began.
According to an account by al-Talib, a meeting was held in 1977 in Plainfield which established a task force that recommended establishing a “broader umbrella organization”—ISNA


(This information is an excerpt from Steven Merley’s The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.  This report is available on line at:    http://www.hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1163/20090411_merley.usbrotherhood.pdf


As the MSA reached its mid-teens it began preparing for an expanded role in the service of Islam. It called an historic meeting of a cross-section of Islamic workers, in Plainfield, Indiana, in early 1397/1977. This meeting set up a task force to recommend a new organizational structure to respond to the increasing challenges and responsibilities emerging in the growing North American Muslim communities. The task force concluded that the new environment would be best served by establishing a broader umbrella organization called “ISNA.” This was accomplished during Rabi’ al-Awwal  1403/January 1983. The MSA; the new Muslim Community Association of the U.S. and Canada (MCA); and the three professional associations, namely the Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE), and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) became its founding constituents.... Three of its service institutions are NAIT, the Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World Islamic Teacher Center, and the Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation (CITF).
Following the 1977 meeting, a number of developments took place over the next two years concerning the new headquarters facility. First, in May 1977, Barzinji was quoted in local news media about NAIT’s plans to construct a mosque on the land purchased by NAIT. He was described at that time as the “general manager” of NAIT.  Barziji’s role as NAIT’s general manager is confirmed by a business database.
Second, in January 1978, plans were announced for a 42-acre compound on the Plainfield, Indiana site to include a mosque, classrooms, residences, gymnasium, and recreational area.
Third, in early March 1978, the local zoning authority approved the plans for the complex which had an estimated cost between $5 million and $10 million dollars. Finally, in October 1979, Cultural Society officer Partowmah was identified in a newspaper article as MSA Information Director, and Cultural Society officer Ahmed Rabi was identified as the MSA secretary-general. Rabi said at the time that MSA was operating an Afghanistan relief fund and was sending doctors to the country though Pakistan.
There are varying reports on when construction on the facility actually began, but what was called “Phase 1” appears to have been completed in January 1983, and consisted of a $3.5 million 500-person mosque, 80,000-volume library, and a research facility. The Washington Post has reported that the complex was funded by $21 million raised from Brotherhood figures al-Qaradawi and Nada, as well as the emir of Qatar.
As discussed above, Barzinji and al-Talib were also working for Nada’s company in Saudi Arabia during the entire time the headquarters facility was being planned, funded, and completed. According to local histories, the compound reportedly began serving or planned to serve as headquarters for MSA, ISNA, and NAIT, as well as for other affiliated organizations including: IMA, MAYA, MCA Foundation for International Development, and the Malaysian Islamic Studies Group (MISG).
One of the local histories refers to ISNA in 1985 as being “led by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Confirming this relationship is an internal U.S. Brotherhood document which states:
In 1980, the Muslim Students Union was developed into ISNA to include all the Muslim congregation from immigrants and citizens, and to be a nucleus for the Islamic Movement in North America ... The statement goes on to say that the Ikhwan initially exercised leadership and direction of ISNA. ISNA was officially incorporated in Indiana on July 14, 1981, with the stated purpose “to advance the cause of Islam and serve Muslims in North America so as to enable them to adopt Islam as a complete way of life.”
The address for ISNA at that time appears to be the Plainfield property where the new facility was built. The three incorporators were listed as: Iqbal J. Unus, Talat Sultan, and Mahmoud Rashdan.
The initial board of directors was listed as: Sultan, Sayyed M. Syeed, M. Naziruddin Ali, Syed Imtiaz Ahmad, and Haroon Qazi. Almost all of these individuals were known to have been part of MSA.
It is notable that, despite the role of the U.S. MB in creating ISNA, none of the three Iraqi Brotherhood individuals, nor any Arab individuals other than Rashdan and Qazi, are listed in the initial ISNA leadership. Instead, almost the entire leadership appears to consist of individuals associated with Pakistan and/or the Jaamat-e-Islami. It does, however, appear that Saudi money was funding ISNA from the very beginning of the organization. Kaukab Siddique, editor of the Islamist periodical New Trend, has linked this funding directly to the U.S. MB: New Trend tried right from 1977 to warn the people about this danger of monopoly created by funds coming in from Saudi Arabia....The “Ikhwan mafia,” a group of six, w[as] bringing in funds from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The movement for reform was quashed by the mafia (revered “elders” of ISNA) who went from city to city.
Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq, an associate professor of economics and finance at Upper Iowa University, has reported that the Saudi funds were a means by which the U.S. Brotherhood attempted to control their organizations:
It was in 1981 when I first attended an ISNA convention. I attended its convention again in 1985. The Saudi money was having serious influence on ISNA during these periods [and] caused significant problems in various communities, where there were attempts to control khutbah —activities and services of those mosques and centers that were with the ISNA’s Trust. We have experienced this first-hand, even in academic- type affiliates, such as AMSS, where I have presented papers several times.
The ISNA has grown extensively since its inception and has major facilities in Canada and the USA.  As noted elsewhere in this paper, the ISNA in Canada recently lost the charitable status for one of its resident organizations when they were found to be funding terrorism.  The ISNA is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial.

The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT)

The NAIT was formed as a waqf, an institution comparable to a trust fund or an endowment.[xxiii]  It enables the Muslim Brotherhood to purchase and then control a number of mosques and schools in North America. 

The NAIT website states that:

NAIT was established in 1973 in Indiana by the Muslim Students Association of U.S. and Canada (MSA), the predecessor of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).[xxiv]

It is interesting to note that the NAIT itself claims it was formed by the MSA of the US and Canada which was the predecessor to the ISNA.  While many individuals claim there is a lack of linkage between these organizations, here we have a clear cut case of the organizations themselves stating they are linked though one having created the other.

As researcher Steve Merely noted:

NAIT was established as an Indiana corporation on May 23, 1973. The address was listed at the MSA-associated Masjid al-Amin Mosque in Gary, Indiana with Al-Talib as the resident agent for the corporation. The original NAIT board of directors included Barzinji, Sakr, Moinuddin Siddiqui, and Ahmed Osman and another individual, Mohammed M. Shamma, was listed as an incorporator along with al-Talib.

According to the incorporation documents, the purpose of NAIT was to “serve the best interests of Islam and the Muslim Student’s Association of the United States and Canada” by establishing a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation to hold “investment property.”

An advisor to one of the MSA chapters explains the role that NAIT funding from overseas played in this expansion of the U.S. MB to off-campus locations:

With its ability to raise funds, especially from overseas, MSA began establishing business and professional organizations useful in establishing off-campus institutions. NAIT became instrumental in establishing masajid (student houses), Islamic centers, full-time schools, and publications (under American Trust Publications, International Graphics Press, and Islamic Book Service).[xxv]


It is not clear how many properties the NAIT now controls in Canada and the USA.  Estimates vary, but approximately 25% of all mosques in the USA may be controlled by the NAIT.  Other estimates suggest that this number might be closer to 75%, but the evidence for this is weak.  The NAIT itself claims that Muslim communities have entrusted the titles of over 325 properties in forty two states to NAIT since its founding.  What the actual figures and how much control is exerted, it is clear that the NAIT has extensive influence.

The NAIT was also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.  A number of finance documents were entered into court to show the role of the NAIT in this case (along with others).[xxvi]

The International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT)

The IIIT was founded in 1981[xxvii] by Anwar Ibrahim[xxviii] and Ismail al-Faruqi.  Anwar Ibrahim has been involved in Malaysian politics and had served as Finance Minister and deputy PM.[xxix]  Dr. al-Faruqui is deceased, having been murdered in his own home by a member of the Muslim community in Philadelphia in 1987.[xxx]  According to a variety of reports, the IIIT was initially set up with money from Saudi sources as well as Muslim Brotherhood money.[xxxi]  A number of key Muslim Brotherhood figures have played or are playing roles in advisory or on the board of directors.  Among them are Muslim Brotherhood stalwarts such as Dr. Ingrid Mattson (see biography elsewhere in this paper) as well as Jamal Barzinji and Hisham Altalib, both formerly from the ISNA.
As noted elsewhere in this paper, co-founder Ismail Faruqi remains a major figure in Muslim Brotherhood circles since his death.  He was a governor/mayor in Palestine (British Mandate – district of Galilee), left the area after the founding of Israel and eventually moved to Montreal, Canada in 1958.  He would later become well known for his books and his co-founding of the IIIT in 1980/81.  His major intellectual contribution was the concept of the Islamization of Knowledge.  The IIIT bears the motto: Towards Islamization of Knowledge and Reform of Islamic Thought.[xxxii]





7.  Current Events in the Middle East 

The Middle East (however defined geographically) has been a volatile area torn apart by wars and violence for an extended period of time.  From the period of the “Great Looting” of the post-World War One[xxxiii] period to the period of decolonization following World War Two, the region has seen high politics played out among the Great Powers of the day and the local political entities.
Most recent, since 2003, another series of upheavals and changes have been playing themselves out – often in a violent manner.  The once stable and orderly government (however brutal) of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein is gone. In its place is a government that struggles daily to control car bombings, regionalized violence and terrorism. Almost thirty years of continuity in Egypt was suddenly undone by the Arab Spring and two overthrows of government.[xxxiv]  Tunisia and Libya are in transition with the outcomes far from clear.  Syria has imploded – violently – and the outcome as of 2014 appears to be Balkanization and further violence.
The Americans are no longer the primary buyers of Saudi oil, with that role now being filled by China.[xxxv]  Iran sees its Khomeneist revolution in ascendance.[xxxvi]  Algeria struggles with internal dissent and terrorism while Morocco tries to modernize.  The festering Sunni-Shia conflict is re-emerging in some areas (Iran v Saudi Arabia) yet in other areas there are signs of improved relations between the two.  Israel appears to fear Iran’s nuclear program more than the weapons of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah or HAMAS.
Long standing alliances are under pressure.  Former friends are becoming enemies and former enemies are now discovering they may have common interests that outweigh past enmities.
In the middle of all of this is the Muslim Brotherhood, a remarkably resilient organization that has been the subject of mass jailing, the assassination of its leaders, torture, bans and declarations that it is a terrorist group.  Thousands of the Ikhwani have been tortured or killed, yet the organization survives and grows both in its home country of Egypt around the world. 
The Muslim Brotherhood had been tolerated in Egypt under President Mubarak and had even been allowed to hold seats in government, albeit not using a party name but frequently wearing black sashes[xxxvii] to identify themselves.[xxxviii] The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also had tolerated the Ikhwani in the Kingdom itself and willingly funded Muslim Brotherhood front organizations overseas, although this is now changing.  The government of Libya barely tolerated and often persecuted the Ikhwani in Libya, but willingly funded Muslim Brotherhood organizations in places such as Canada and the USA.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the Election Campaign:  More Ambiguity
In 2011, the Freedom and Justice Party (The Muslim Brotherhood’s party in Egypt) stated that they would abandon their former slogan “Islam is the Solution” in favor of the new slogan “Freedom is the solution and justice is the application.”[xxxix] 
Yet Dr. Morsi, the FJP candidate and eventual presidential winner, gave a speech on 13 May 2012[xl] during the election campaign. In it, he clearly reiterates the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood, the last two lines of which are seen as advocating violence when placed in context of the group.  The motto is:
Allah is our objective.
The Prophet is our leader.
Qur'an is our law.
Jihad is our way.
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Now, the Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist group in Egypt (again), in Saudi Arabia[xli] and in the United Arab Emirates.[xlii]  The role of the Ikhwani is at the centre of disputes among the Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on one side and Qatar on the other.
On 05 March 2014, it was announced that three countries would be withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar due to ongoing disputes.[xliii]  At the centre of the dispute lies the Muslim Brotherhood.  Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors after a protracted period of difficulty over this issue.  The move to withdraw the ambassadors is seen as an attempt to isolate Qatar which has been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.[xliv]
This was quickly followed by a declaration from the government of Saudi Arabia that the Muslim Brotherhood was declared as a terrorist group.[xlv]  The United Arab Emirates had also declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group.[xlvi] The Saudi Ministry of the Interior also announced that two jihadist groups fighting with the Syrian rebels - the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – were also to be added as terrorist groups.
This turn of events was not a surprise to those who have been following the role of the Muslim Brotherhood since their rise to and fall from power in Egypt in 2012 and 2013. In an August 2013 editorial in the al-Ahram newspaper, the following article made severely derogatory comments about the Muslim Brotherhood.[xlvii] 
A number of Saudi scholars have emphasized that the group of the Muslim Brotherhood "do not love Ahl al-Sunnah", calling for non-acceptance of this group because it "desires to split us and their goals is (attaining) power." And the Scholars also emphasized in explicit remarks made to the Saudi newspaper "al-Madeenah" published on its internet website on Thursday that "the group of al-Ikhwan does not have any foundational basis from the Salaf of this nation and they expend effors and aid each other so as to reach, through one path or another, to (political) leadership." And the Scholars indicated that "from the manifestations of this group and its principles is that they block (prevent) the intellects of their followers from listening to speech that opposes their methodology." And the newspaper quoted from the Shaykh, Doctor Saalih bin Fawzan al-Fawzan, member of the Committee of the Major Scholars when he was asked, "Do these groups enter into the seventy-two destroyed sects?" His response, "Yes, everyone, from those who ascribe to Islam, who opposes Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah in da'wah or aqidah or in anything from the foundations of eemaan, then he enters into the seventy-two sects." And from his side, the Shaykh, Doctor, Salih bin Muhammad al-Luhaydaan, member of the Committee of the Major Scholars, said, "The Ikhwaan and Jamaa'at at-Tableegh are not from the people of sound methodologies, and all of these groups and labels (they assume) do not have any basis from the Salaf of this Ummah." And from what was said by the Shaykh, Doctor, Saalih bin Abd al-Azeez Aal al-Shaykh, Minister of Islamic Affairs and Da'wah and Guidance Endowments, "As for the group of the Muslim Brotherhood, then the from the greatest manifestations of da'wah with them is concealment, secrecy, changing colours (i.e. changing, views, opinions, allegiances and so on), seeking closeness to whomever they believe will benefit them, and not revealing the true reality of their affair."
Although a new level of disparagement was found in this article, this is not the first time this has happened.  The Saudis have had differing views on the Muslim Brotherhood for a number of years.  Note the word of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia from 1993 until 1999.  Sheik al-Islam Abd al-Aziz Ibn Baz was asked whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen) were from among the 72 sects.  His response comes in the following: [xlviii]
The Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh and the Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen are amongst the 72 sects.
Question: May Allaah grant you the best (of His favours). In the hadeeth of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam), relating to the splitting of the Ummah, he says: …and my Ummah shall split into 73 sects….   So, is the Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh, with what they have in terms of shirk and innovations; and also the Jamaa'ah al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen, with what they have in terms of partisanship and revolting/rebelling against the leaders and lack of obedience; from the 72 sects?
Response: They are from the 72 (sects). Whoever opposes the 'aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah enters the fold of the 72 (sects). The meaning of the Prophet's (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) statement ((My Ummah)) is: the Ummah of Ijaabah, i.e. the Ummah of response; those who responded to the Prophet's call and revealed their allegiance to him. And the meaning of 73 sects: the victorious sect which adhered to him and was upright in their religion and 72 of those sects - amongst them the kuffaar, the sinners and various innovators.
So, the questioners asked: Are these two groups (Jamaa'ah at-Tableegh and Jamaa'ah al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen) from amongst the 72 sects?
And the Shaykh responded: Yes, they are from amongst the 72 sects.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been invigorated, emboldened and inspired by its brush with power (2012-2013), but subjected to further abuse because of it.  As such, the Muslim Brotherhood and its front/adherent organizations are also struggling to find their place in the new environment locally and globally.  Violence and overt aggression, moved to the back by the Muslim Brotherhood now appear to be moving to the front, again. 




8.  The Muslim Brotherhood in Power

The Muslim Brotherhood has formed governments in a number of countries.  The results have not been encouraging, as Ikhwani governments have proven to be anti-democratic and frequently violent.  Attacks on freedom of the press, the banning of other political parties and attempts to install a particularly virulent form of politicized Islam have been common themes.
A Sudanese coup in 1989 brought General Omar Hassan al-Bashir to power.  He was supported by Hassan 'Abd Allah al-Turabi who was the leader of the National Islamic Front.  Al-Turabi became Minister of Justice as a result.  Al-Turabi was a long-time member of the Islamic Charter Front and had become is leader in 1964.  The Islamic Charter Front is the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Another example of a Muslim Brotherhood government has been HAMAS which came to power in the Palestinian Territories (Gaza) in 2007 and remains there now.  In Tunisia, Ennahdha formed a government in 2011 following the riots and “Arab Spring.”  In early 2014, Ennahdha was forced to relinquish most of their power in a compromise deal with the opposition.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood party (Freedom and Justice Party) came to power in 2012 but was removed again following a series of opposition riots and a military supported coup in July of 2013.  The FJP proved quite anti-democratic while in power placing the government above the law and instituting a series of attacks against print and TV journalists.  The president, Dr. Morsi, was accused of being more interested in pursuing the “renaissance” agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood (al-nahda) than it was in governing Egypt. 


9.  The Law and the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood, as an organization, does not believe in the Westphalian state system and wishes to replace it with a single universal caliphate founded on the principles of Hassan Banna.  The ideology and indeed even the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood make it clear that the basis of law and beliefs for them is their interpretation of the Qur’an, not a constitution or a charter of rights.  This is expressed by the statements such as “The Qur’an is our constitution” or “The Qur’an is our law.”
Not only does the Muslim Brotherhood reject constitutional principles and place their own belief systems above national law, they specifically challenge basic principles of criminal law in Canada as a matter of policy.  With respect to the issue of physical violence against the individual, Canadian criminal law makes is clear that violent assaults against individuals are forbidden and such activity can result in arrest and imprisonment.  However, Canadian Muslim Brotherhood adherents such as Dr. Jamal Badawi of Halifax have addressed the issue of wife beating determined that it is permissible.  Dr. Badawi has written that:
Based on the Qur'an and hadith this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband's reasonable requests on a consistent basis (nushuz).  Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first.[xlix]
The idea that it is OK to beat your wife as long as it is not in the face does not seem to be an acceptable position for either the Criminal Code of Canada or the Charter of Rights, but this is the public position of one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood figures in Canada.
With respect to following the laws of Canada, it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood’s adherent organizations have sought to systematically and repeatedly circumvent and break Canadian regulations and laws. For example, the CRA has stated that they decided not to give charitable status to the Jerusalem Foundation for Human Development as they believed it was an attempt to provide funding for HAMAS, a listed group.  Instead, as CRA notes, the workaround was to create IRFAN and then use it to accomplish the same goal.  When the IRFAN was addressed by CRA in 2004 and warned concerning the issue of funding terrorism, IRFAN assured the government of Canada that it was not doing so and taking precautions to assure that no such activities were occurring.  However, a CRA investigation would reveal that IRFAN was in fact funding a listed terrorist group (HAMAS) and had provided them with at least 14 million dollars.  As a result, IRFAN lost their charitable status. 
The entire JFHS and IRFAN case shows that the Muslim Brotherhood clearly understood Canadian laws, deliberated circumvented them and then created an organization to achieve this goal.  Even when warned, IRFAN continued its efforts.  Not surprisingly, one of the founding directors of IRFAN was Dr. Wael Haddara.
Much the same can be said for ISNA and their “Development Fund” which also lost its charitable status.  Despite clear rules and regulations, the ISNA-IDF went ahead and repeatedly provided funding to a listed terrorist entity and indeed even tried to invite the head of the J-e-T to Canada as a speaker.  Once again, a CRA investigation clearly showed the deliberate, repeated and willful breaking of the laws concerning the funding of terrorism and charities.  
Legal Cases
It is clear that Muslim Brotherhood adherent organizations such IRFAN and the ISNA Development Foundation have willfully broken Canadian laws, despite having been directly warned about their activities.  In fact, the CRA believes that IRFAN was set up to deliberately frustrate CRA’s efforts to stop funding to HAMAS through the JFHS and go around the law.
Funding terrorism, whether it be in the Palestinian Territories or in the disputed Indian/Kashmir/Pakistan region is a clear violation of Canadian law.  A variety of charities have already lost their status for funding terrorism (IFRAN, ISNA-IDF, WICS) but there has been no apparent follow up action to investigate those responsible or hold them accountable for their actions.
Defrauding Donors and Taxpayers
After having been caught funding terrorism, IRFAN continues to operate, although it is no longer able to issue tax receipts for donations.  This, in spite of the fact they were caught funding terrorism as well as defrauding donors by claiming they were collecting funds for disasters and then using the money to fund terrorism (i.e. the Asian Tsunami 2004, South Asian Earthquake 2006, Indonesian Earthquake 2006, Bangladesh Cyclone 2008, Burma Cyclone 2008, Pakistan Earthquake 2008, and Indonesia Earthquake 2008).[l]  By collecting money for one cause and using the money to fund terrorism, IRFAN has been defrauding both donors who gave the money as well as the taxpayer that indirectly subsidizes terrorism though the chartable status given to organizations such as IRFAN.



10.  Education and the Leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood

The leaders and adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood tend to be well educated and accomplished in their fields of endeavour.  Any examination of those in leadership roles provides insight into a group of individuals who have undertaken significant courses of study, often in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and business.   There are also a limited number with law degrees.  Those with degrees or studies in the social sciences form a distinct minority among this select group of individuals.
The leadership is often sophisticated, well-spoken and fit comfortably into a variety of social settings.  This is not an accident.  The set of bylaws established by the Muslim Brotherhood[li] actually stipulates that those aspiring to high office or leadership roles in the “Ikhwan” must be well mannered. 
When looking at the qualification for those who would serve on the Shura Council, Article (38) of the bylaws states that:  (D) He must have good manners and administrative ability that would qualify him to assume his duties.
Similarly, the General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood must also meet such standards.  Article 13 (C) of the bylaws states:  He must have decent manners, an administrative ability and religious knowledge (particularly Islamic jurisprudence) that would qualify him to assume the duties and lead the movement.
A quick review of those currently or recently in senior leadership positions of the Muslim Brotherhood reveals a variety of advanced degrees[lii], such as:
a. Muhammad Morsi, Position: President of Egypt 2012-2013; formerly member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Office, parliamentarian (2000–2005), and chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party.  Education: Doctorate in engineering from University of Southern California (1982), master’s degree in engineering from Cairo University (1978), bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cairo University (1975).    Occupation: Engineer.
b. Muhammad Badie, Position: Supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood,     Education: Doctorate in veterinary medicine from Zagazig University.
c.  Khairat al-Shater, Position: First deputy to the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Education: Master’s degree in construction management, bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and anthropology.  Occupation: Engineer, businessman.

d.  Mahmoud Ezzat, Position: Deputy supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Education: Doctorate in medicine from Zagazig University (1985), master’s degree in medicine (1980), B.S. in medicine (1975), diploma from Institute of Islamic Studies (1998).  Occupation: Doctor.

d.  Wael Haddara:  Advisor to (A .above)  Dr. Morsi, (President of Egypt 2012-2013), Medical director of the surgical intensive care unit at University Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada. Degrees in Medicine and Pharmacy.

11.  The Muslim Brotherhood and Violence – an ongoing issue since inception

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan Banna in 1928 as a social movement.  As the organization developed over the first few years, it was determined that they would not enter the political arena as a party and that they would not use violence.  This did not last.
Notwithstanding the initial intentions, the Muslim Brotherhood has, over the decades, become violent on numerous occasions and has formed political parties (HAMAS, the Freedom and Justice Party, Ennahdha etc). 
At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood under Hassan Banna did develop a number of violent concepts and organizations despite current claims that he did not. As noted above, Muslim Brotherhood forces were active in the fighting at various time in Palestine from 1936 to at least 1948.  Their activities were (as noted elsewhere in this paper) were at least partially responsible for the decision of the Egyptian government to kill Hassan Banna in 1949.
As can be seen below, Hassan Banna, in his own words and deeds allowed for the Muslim Brotherhood to move towards both violent thought and violent organization, despite the vacillations that would occur both within himself and the organization. 
In 1938, Hassan Banna gave ambiguous statements which led many to believe he would use or condone the use of violence. On the one hand he stated:
It is a Salafite movement, an orthodox way, a Sufi reality, a political body, an athletic group, a scientific and cultural society, an economic company and a social idea.
This statement does not seem to advocate or condone violence, at least not in the context of its day.  Yet also in 1938 he would say:
My brothers: you are not a benevolent society, nor a political party, nor a local organization having limited purposes. Rather you are a new soul in the heart of this nation to give it life by means of the Qur'an; you are a new light which shines to destroy the darkness of materialism through knowing God: and you are the strong voice which rises to recall the message of the Prophet.
In September of 1949, he was inaugurated at the general assembly of the Muslim Brotherhood and he stated:
In the time when you will have - Oh ye Moslem Brethren - three hundred phalanxes, each one of them equipped spiritually with faith and principle, mentally with science and culture, and physically with training and exercise; at that time ask me to plunge with you into the depths of the seas, to send the skies with you and to attack with you every stubborn tyrant; then God willing, I will do it.

Post  World War II
In the post-World War II timeframe, the Muslim Brotherhood, under Hassan Banna, moved more towards the use of violence and secrecy.  One informed observer in 1979 notes:
Several other important developments resulted from the war years which had led to this militant stance. Foremost among these was the establishment of a secret wing of the brotherhood. Driven underground by the various leaders of the government, the Brotherhood's organization naturally developed into a more secretive society and created a secret militant wing organized into families (usar) and a revitalized rover system (jarwala). This secret apparatus was rationalized as an instrument for the defense of Islam and the society and, accordingly, began military training and storing weapons, much to the surprise and delight of Anwar al-Sadat and the nascent Free Officers Movement.
This development led to another, possibly a more important one, that is, the Moslem Brotherhood association with the military, specifically, the revolutionary minded officers. As one of the most powerful political forces in the country as well as the acknowledged leader in religious/social reform, the Brethren support was actively sought by them. Thus many meetings and efforts to coordinate the two independent groups were made through al-Banna, and Anwar al-Sadat. These early contacts were to prove fruitful at a later date when the Free Officers' Movement seized power in 1952. Commensurate with these efforts were the relatively successful efforts of the Brethren to recruit members from the armed forces other than the revolutionary officers. This recruitment was so successful that at a later date, the new revolutionary government could not ignore the movement. Indeed, it had to placate them seemingly at every turn due to the fact that so many members of the armed forces and of the revolutionary government itself were members of the Brethren or had strong ties to it.[liii]

Current Views
The belief in the use of violence and martyrdom remains a consistent theme in the Muslim Brotherhood and its adherent organizations, including those here in Canada.  Consider, among other examples, the views expressed on the Young Muslims in Canada website:
Though jihad may be a part of the answer to the problems of the ummah[liv], it is an extremely important part. Jihad is to offer ourselves to Allah for His Cause. Indeed, every person should according to Islam prepare himself/herself for jihad and every person should eagerly and patiently wait for the day when Allah will call them to show their willingness to sacrifice their lives. We should all ask ourselves if there is a quicker way to heaven? It is with this in mind that this booklet is being published.[lv]  (Emphasis added)
Violence, including the concept of martyrdom, remains very much a part of the Muslim Brotherhood philosophy at both the global and local level.

12.  Is the Muslim Brotherhood a Moderate or Secular Organization?

These may not be right questions to ask, even though many discussions occur around these point.
The term “moderate” is sufficiently vague to convey a variety of meanings to a different set of audiences.  The terms “moderate Muslim” and “moderate Islam” are also vague and sometimes contentious.  Also, if there is a notional “moderate Muslim” is there also a “moderate Christian” (or Jew or Sikh or Buddhist etc)?  Is this a good thing, as seen by RAND Corporation’s publication Building Moderate Muslim Networks[lvi]  or is the use of the term misleading or pointless?
The real question that needs to be asked is that on extremism in political views, be it violent or non-violent.  This issue was recently raised in a paper by Alex Schmid at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism in The Hague.  The paper was entitled Violent and Non-Violent Extremism: Two Sides of the Same Coin?[lvii]   The paper addresses the issue and points out that:
The main focus of this Research Paper is on obtaining a clearer understanding of what “Islamist extremism” entails in the context of the ongoing debate on allegedly “acceptable” non-violent extremists and “unacceptable” violent extremists.
In terms of counter-terrorism policies, preventing violent extremism is not enough; rather all extremism – Islamist and other –ought to be prevented, given the bloody track record of extremism in power in the twentieth century and beyond.  Rather than distinguishing between non-violent and violent extremists, we should distinguish between extremists and non-extremists and support the latter against Islamists at home and abroad. Governments should challenge and resist all extremism, whether it is violent or not, whether it is Islamist or not.
In short, extremism of any sort should be examined closely and held up for public scrutiny and debate.  As the author notes in the paper, using “non-violent extremists” as a sort of firewall against the violent extremists is likely to be poor policy.  Governments must seek to openly counter extremism wherever it occurs, be it political, national, ethnic or otherwise.
To the surprise of many, the American Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently stated that he believed that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular” organization.    “The term Muslim Brotherhood,’” Clapper is reported to have said, “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam…”.[lviii]
The American Administration quickly distanced itself from the comments.[lix]  What is hard to believe is that the head of a major intelligence organization could, in 2011, define the Muslim Brotherhood as secular when the entire point of the organization is to advance its own form of politicized Islam.  Whether he was that poorly informed or – more kindly – was that affected by the political correctness of Washington at the time is hard to determine.  Quite possibly, however, this may be part of a larger American belief that you can use the “non-violent” closet extremists against the more openly violent extremists.
Yousef Al-Qaradawi, one of the chief theoreticians and an inspirational figure of the Muslim Brotherhood refers to his religious views as “moderate Islam.”  Presumably, he refers to himself in the context of other more violent organizations such as al Qaeda.  Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s presumed current leader, has written extensively and negatively on the Muslim Brotherhood in books such as “Under the Prophets Banner.”  Compared to Zawahiri, Qaradawi may look “moderate.”
The proper question to ask about the Muslim Brotherhood and its adherent organizations is what is the goal of the organization (intent) and how do they intend to accomplish this?  Qaradawi wrote in a 2003 fatwa that was posted on the website www.islamonline.net  that:
Islam will return to Europe as a victorious conqueror after having been expelled twice. This time it will not be conquest by the sword, but by preaching and spreading [Islamic] ideology…The future belongs to Islam…The spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world and includes the both East and West marks the beginning of the return of the Islamic Caliphate
This statement needs to be compared with that of one found in the 1991 An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.[lx]  In this extensive document which was the result of five years of discussions within the group, the statement is made that:
4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:
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. 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 chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.
This is quickly followed by:
7- The conviction that the success of the settlement of Islam and its Movement in this country is a success to the global Islamic Movement and a true support for the sought-after state, God willing: There is a conviction - with which this memorandum disagrees - that our focus in attempting to settle Islam in this country will lead to negligence in our duty towards the global Islamic Movement in supporting its project to establish the state. We believe that the reply is in two segments: One - The success of the Movement in America in establishing an observant Islamic base with power and effectiveness will be the best support and aid to the global Movement project And the second - is the global Movement has not succeeded yet in "distributing roles" to its branches, stating what is the needed from them as one of the participants or contributors to the project to establish the global Islamic state. The day this happens, the children of the American Ikhwani branch will have far-reaching impact and positions that make the ancestors proud.

From these statement alone, it can been seen that the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood believe in the vision of Hassan Banna – the founder.  Their own virulent form of politicized Islam is to be installed globally and locally.




13.  Lesser Shirk:  The Muslim Brotherhood’s Stance on Islamic Theology

Within Islamic theology, there exists concepts called “Shirk” and “Lesser Shirk.”  In general, this refers to idolatry or polytheism.   Reduced to its most basic, this means that there should be no worship or idolization of anyone other than Allah.  There are no “saints” in Sunni Islam and it is clear that there is only one God.  Within Islam, Mohammed (PBUH) is venerated as a prophet, but it is clear that he was a corporeal man and not the son of God or a supernatural being. Other individuals are also venerated, such as Abraham (Ibrahim) Jesus (Issa) and Mary, but it is clear that they are venerated only as individuals and they are not elevated to saintly rank nor are they deified.
As such, anyone who elevates an individual or concepts and proposes it or them as being equal to Allah or Mohammed (PBUH) may be guilty of “Shirk” or “Lesser Shirk.”
This paper is not about theology, but it is clear that many within the Muslim Brotherhood are increasingly elevating Hassan Banna to something more than just an Islamic scholar or group organizer.
The ISNA, for instance, ran an article on Hassan Banna with the title of: Hasan Al-Banna a Martyr of Our Time: Remembering a True Guide.[lxi]
The Muslim Association of Canada also praises Banna, but appears to go beyond that by suggesting that Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood are the truest reflection of Islam in the modern era.  This would appear, from the outside, that they are close to being “shirk.”
It is now 75 years since Al-Banna initiated that blessed effort. The efforts of the Muslim Association of Canada are separate from the writings and organization of Al-Banna by time and space. The assertion that much of our philosophy and vision derive from the efforts of Al-Banna should not be taken to mean that we adopt in wholesale fashion all of the ideas developed and put forward by Al-Banna or the Muslim Brotherhood. However, we believe that the efforts of Al-Banna and subsequent generations of the Muslim Brotherhood remain the truest reflection of Islamic practice in the modern era.[lxii]  (Emphasis added)

Whether the modern day followers of Hassan Banna are moving close to a position of “shirk” is one that needs to be debated by qualified Islamic scholars and it is not for this paper to decide.  However, there does seem to be a move towards developing a cult of the personality, something that Hassan Banna himself would probably not appreciate.





[iii] Said Ramadan is the father of the well-known Tariq Ramadan.
[iv]  See Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood, by Guido Steinberg. Al Mesbar Studies & Research Centre and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.  The article is available online at: http://www.fpri.org/docs/chapters/201303.west_and_the_muslim_brotherhood_after_the_arab_spring.chapter5.pdf (page 87 of the PDF version)
[v] See Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood, by Guido Steinberg. Al Mesbar Studies & Research Centre and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.  The article is available online at: http://www.fpri.org/docs/chapters/201303.west_and_the_muslim_brotherhood_after_the_arab_spring.chapter5.pdf (page 88 of the PDF version)
[vi] From the history of the MYNA the quote:  1950s-60s-70s-80s - Youth Camps are a standard part Islamic Movement programs in the Muslim world, particularly done by the Ikhwan-al-Muslimoon which starts in Egypt and is strong in many Arab Muslim countries. Muslims start to immigrate to America as students and form local associations. They become the MSA of US and Canada in 1963.  This is available at: http://mynamiami.blogspot.ca/2005/09/history-of-myna-part-1-premordial.html 
[vii] See, among many others: A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America: Muslims divided on Brotherhood
[viii] The Ikhwan in America, Zeid al-Noman.  See, among others: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/26.pdf
[ix] The Ikhwan in America, Zeid al-Noman.  See, among others: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/26.pdf
[x] See the 1991 document:  An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America 5/22/1991
[xi] http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf
[xii] Mr. Akram is now the Secretary General of al-Quds International. He was on the initial board of directors of the United Association of Studies and Research (UASR), a HAMAS front that was based in Northern Virginia from approximately 1991 through 2004. UASR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case, was headed by Ahmed Yousef who now serves as political advisor to head of HAMAS in Gaza, Ismail Haniya.
[xiii] The Ikhwan in America, Zeid al-Noman.  See, among others: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/26.pdf
[xiv] To swear bayat is to swear an oath of loyalty.
[xv] A copy of the memorandum can be seen at:  http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf
[xvi]  The name Cultural Society may have been inspired by Hassan Banna’s 1938 statement that: It is a Salafite movement, an orthodox way,  Sufi reality, a political body, an athletic group, a scientific and cultural society, an economic company and a social idea.
[xvii] Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe, and Laurie Cohen, “A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America,” Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0409190261sep19,0,5695696.story .  See also The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, STEVEN MERLEY, Research Monographs on the Muslim World, Series No 2, Paper No 3, April 2009. Page 12 of 72 in the PDF copy.  The official English language website of the Muslim Brotherhood also has this article available at: http://www.ikhwanweb.com/print.php?id=4635
[xx] Ahmed Sakr, “I am a servant to you all,” Southern California InFocus, September 2007, http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/16448/381/
[xxi] The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, STEVEN MERLEY, Research Monographs on the Muslim World, Series No 2, Paper No 3, April, 2009. Page 13 of 72 in the PDF copy. 
[xxii] See History of MYNA - Part 2 MSA to ISNA which is available online at: http://mynamiami.blogspot.ca/2005/09/history-of-myna-part-2-msa-to-isna.html
[xxv]  The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, STEVEN MERLEY, Research Monographs on the Muslim World, Series No 2, Paper No 3, April, 2009.   Page 19 of 71 in the PDF version.
[xxix]  See the BBC profile of Anwar Ibrahim at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-16440290
[xxxi] In Search Of Friends Among The Foes: U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group, By John Mintz and Douglas Farah
Washington Post Staff Writers, Saturday, September 11, 2004; Page A01.
[xxxiii]  For an in-depth view of the “Great Looting” see the book Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Doubleday Publishers, August 6, 2013).
[xxxiv] President Mubarak came to power in 1981 and was overthrown in 2011.  President Morsi came to power in 2012 and was overthrown a year later in 2013.
[xxxv] China appears to have become the single largest customer of Saudi oil sales in 2009.  Among others, see the December 9th 2010 Economist report Saudi Arabia and China Looking east which is available online at: http://www.economist.com/node/17680668 .
[xxxvi] Multiple academic and press articles have addressed the issue of Iran in ascendance, especially since the collapse of Iraq following the US invasion in 2003.  Among many others, see With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault, by Anthony Shadid, Washington Post Foreign Service, Tuesday, January 30, 2007. This article is available online at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/29/AR2007012902090.html
[xxxvii] For example, see a photo of Nay Sayed Askar in the Egyptian Parliament wearing a sash.  The photo can be seen in a New York Times article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/magazine/29Brotherhood.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
[xxxviii] Muslim Brotherhood members would run as “independents” with no party affiliation, but most of them would wear a sash
[xl] The speech and translation can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLigeHGKzE
[xliv]  See the New York Times article 3 Gulf Countries Pull Ambassadors From Qatar Over Its Support of Islamists  .  It is available online at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/world/middleeast/3-persian-gulf-states-pull-ambassadors-from-qatar.html?_r=0
[xlv]   See the BBC News article Saudi Arabia declares Muslim Brotherhood 'terrorist group' which is available online at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26487092
[xlviii] See http://www.fatwa-online.com/fataawa/creed/deviants/0010326_2.htm.  This was published in approximately 1997.

[xlix] Is wife beating allowed in Islam? By Dr. Jamal Badawi: http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w_abuse_badawi.htm
[l]  See page 22/27 of the 14 December 2010 letter of CRA to Carter’s Professional Corporation concerning the audit of IRFAN.
[li]  See the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidelines as published on Ikhwanweb which is the official English language website of the Muslim Brotherhood.  See also a cached copy at: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/673.pdf
[lii] For the listings A to D, see Who's Who in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Eric Trager, Katie Kiraly, Cooper Klose, and Eliot Calhoun.
[liii] Jayjock, Stephen C., Moslem fundamentalist movements and their impact on Middle Eastern politics., Publisher Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, Issue Date 1979, URL http://hdl.handle.net/10945/18803
[liv] The Muslim community.
[lvi] See an outline of the publication at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG574.html
[lix] “To clarify Director Clapper's point, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak's rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation. He is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization," DNI spokesperson Jamie Smith said. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/10/administration-corrects-dni-clapper-claim-muslim-brotherhood-secular/
[lxi] See the ISNA magazine Islamic Horizons, March/April 1999 issue, pages 34 to-39. Hassan Al-Banna a Martyr of Our Time Original subtitle: Remembering a True Guide.

No comments:

Post a Comment