Last Sunday, the Muslim Brotherhood´s Youth Front has issued a controversial paper, titled: Assessment Before Vision: a Look Back at the Past. In the document, the initiative tries to assess the mistakes of past decades and years, particularly the brief period between the resignation of President Mubarak and the fall of President Morsi, and to outline principles for the future. The Youth Front, which was founded in 2014, calls for a rapprochement with the powers that be, in the Middle East as well as in the West. Instead of trying to erect a caliphate, the Muslim world should coexist with others.
The Youth Front, which has its home base in Egypt, is regarded as an initiative of second tier leaders of the MB. The current leadership of the MB, most notably its spokesperson Talaat Fahmy, has instantly rejected the ideas. Ibrahim Mounir, head of the MB´s international organization, pointed out that internal debates are normal and that the sole responsibility for strategic decisions lies with the Supreme Guide Mahmout Ezzat, usually considered a member of the conservative Old Guard. Apparently, the internal rifts inside Muslim Brotherhood continue to widen. Read more at:
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has withdrawn his nominee for the highest ranking civilian post in the Pentagon, former Ambassador Anne Patterson. Mrs. Patterson had served as US ambassador to Egypt during and after the ouster of President Mubarak and had maintained close ties with the then ruling Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Jim Mattis´ pick was heavily criticized, particularly by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has recently called on the US administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Read more at:
A report on the Muslim Brotherhood, commissioned by Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), has recently led to a fierce debate about an Islamist infiltration of the country´s civil society. The report has depicted the organization as operating a broad network and of building a parallel society by infiltrating political parties and civil society organizations. The report has sparked a hefty response by 22 Swedish researchers specializing in religious studies who blamed MSB for “conspiracy theories”. The MSB has responded that the report is a feasibility study and relies on reliable sources, The Local reports. Read more at:
The emergence of new extremist groups at the Sinai Peninsula forced Egypt to broaden its cooperation with Hamas. The Islamist group Hamas is now preparing a new agenda and thereby will detach itself from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Observers argued that after the coup in 2013 in Egypt, in which the Muslim Brotherhood candidate President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown, also the group’s offspring Hamas suffered from the consequences. Furthermore, the situation gave rise to more radical Islamist groups in the Northern Sinai which became a new centre of extremism. However, Hamas found an opportunity to survive despite Israeli military attacks, its isolation caused by Egypt’s closing of the Rafah Gate border crossing and attempts of Salafi groups to rebel and ISIS’ recruitment of new followers. Now, Hamas is ready to adopt major changes in its approach. It will cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and restore relations with Egypt. Thereby, it will be more independent and will try to self-legitimize itself.
Already last year, all signs of the Muslim Brotherhood were removed from the streets and mosques in Gaza. A Hamas official also told the media that there is a need for changes in the group’s political ideology and its charter with regard to its relations with regional and international institutions. The recent developments in US-politics and President Donald Trump’s suggestion to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood and to improve US-ties with Egypt further forced Hamas to demonstrate more independence. According to Hamas officials, the organization already signalled towards Egypt that it will henceforth stress its character as Palestinian national group without affiliation to any other international movement, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has also taken action against other radical movements in Gaza in coordination with Egyptian intelligence.
Summing up, it seems that Hamas tries to find a new position against the background of a new security situation in the region in order to gain outside support for Gazan needs.
US-President Donald Trump seriously considers labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization which implies that making business with the Islamist group becomes an offense under US-law. Hence, this move means a success for the conservatives who are critical towards the group’s ties to militant Islamist movements. Several countries like the United Arab Emirates, Syria or Russia banned its activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood was established in the 1920ies by the religious scholar Hassan Al-Banna and became increasingly influential in Egyptian society. In the 1950ies it was forced underground because it was blamed for violent attacks. Sayyid Qutb, one of the movement’s leaders, is known as the founder of modern jihadism. The Brotherhood’s ideology spread all over the Middle East and influenced existing groups or promoted the establishment of certain militant branches such as Hamas. The group was banned in Egypt until the revolution of 2011. In 2012, its candidate Mohammed Morsi even became president but was overthrown already one year later. The current Egyptian President, Al-Sisi, again labeled the group a terrorist organization.
The Muslim Brotherhood also has a strong presence in the USA. Ted Cruz introduced the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act” which seeks to add the group to a list of terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an institution with close links to the Muslim Brotherhood, argued that the bill aims at controlling Muslims in the USA and has no effect on national security. On former President Obama’s “We are the People” website a call for the US-government to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization was the tenth-most singed petition with more than 200,000 signatures. Notwithstanding, the former US-administration did not see evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its commitment to non-violence and therefore did not take any concrete steps.
The organization Faith Leaders of America (FLA) urges Donald Trump to condemn Islamic terrorist Imam Mohamed Magid, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the USA, as a dangerous Jihad practitioner. Magid delivered an Islamic prayer at the National Prayer Service in Washington one day after Trump was sworn in as president. Hence, FLA re-exposed him due to his links to jihad and leadership within militant terrorist groups. According to FLA, Magid is the Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque which is among the most Sharia-adherent and jihadist institutions in the USA. In addition, he is president of the Muslim Brotherhood front organization Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Furthermore, the FLA called on Trump not to allow further participation of Magid in public events organized for the US-government.
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), jihadists have already infiltrated the justice system of the USA. Patrick Poole, a counter-terrorism expert and journalist, claimed already years ago that the Muslim Brotherhood has substantial influence on the US-administration. Mohamed Magid was a regular visitor to the White House when president Obama was in office and even advised the administration on international affairs and counterterrorism.
FLA is a group of 75 clerics and spiritual leaders who commit themselves to freedom of religion and speech and other liberties and therefore address threats to these values. Hence, they issued a joint statement to Donald Trump in which they support the president’s announced counter jihad actions. Notably, the FLA announced its backing for Trump’s declaration that he will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. During his inaugural address Trump also promised to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism worldwide.
The new documentary “The Enemies Within” reveals that Islamists have already infiltrated the national security bureaucracy in the USA which endangers its citizens and the constitutional system.
A central indication is the testimony of Philip Haney who is a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security and an experienced counter-terrorism analyst. Haney claims that in some cases the government had deleted records related to terrorism cases from the system. The data in question is about the network of mosques and institutions linked to terrorist attacks like the shootings in Orlando or in San Bernardino. Government agencies even investigated Haney for doing his job because they accused him of putting records into the system although he was not authorized. These investigations took place although none of the agencies claimed that his findings were inaccurate. Therefore, Haney argues that the USA has enemies within its own administration.
Researcher Trevor Loudon also contributes insights into these hostile networks in the documentary. He describes alliances between radical Marxists and Islamic extremists who already penetrated the highest levels of the political system. Among others, Hillary Clinton is labeled a domestic threat due to her connections with dangerous Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood. Haney even points out that the Muslim Brotherhood is directly responsible for sponsoring terrorism and therefore should be labeled a terrorist group. Therefore he argues that the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas should be shut.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is outlined in its “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for North America” seized by the FBI in 2004. It illustrates that the work of the Brotherhood is based on the grand Jihad that aims at destroying the Western civilization from within by infiltration and sabotage. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood needs so called “useful idiots” who help to promote their goals.
The Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch project has published a “Field Guide to Useful Infidels” that portrays 15 alleged pro-Islamist puppets. The most prominent names include actor Ben Affleck, Secretary of State John Kerry or CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. The report summarizes their role in the redefinition of the Islamist threat. Some do that by arguing that ISIS killers shouldn’t be named “Muslim terrorists” to avoid the provision of religious legitimacy to their acts while others distract from the Islamist threat by pointing to non-Muslim terrorism or anti-Muslim hate crimes. Still others cooperate with Islamist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) or deprive law enforcement of the necessary training and resources to counter Islamist threats. Another tactic is that they legitimize Islamists as only representatives of Islam in the USA.
According to the report, the list of the top “useful infidels” for Islamist groups include the following persons: actor Ben Affleck, journalist Christiane Amanpour, writer Karen Armstrong, journalist Max Blumenthal, CIA director John Brennan, politician Chris Christie, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace Matt Duss, Professor of Religion and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University John Esposito, Civil rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald, Secretary of State John Kerry and Activist Grover Norquist.
The Egyptian Ministry of Interior accused leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Qatar of supporting terrorists who committed a bomb attack on the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Cairo. In this incident 25 people were killed.
The ministry claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood trained and financed the perpetrators. According to investigations the group was led by a person who received support as well as instructions by Brotherhood members in Qatar. The suspected suicide bomber had been arrested in 2014 while securing Muslim Brotherhood convoys but was released soon afterwards. According to his lawyer, the suspect was tortured in prison when he was a teenager until he confessed that he had owned explosives. This might have contributed to his radicalization. However, the Muslim Brotherhood denies any involvement in the recent terrorist attack.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the Muslim Brotherhood instructed the Egyptian terrorist cell to carry out attacks in order to bring about sectarian Muslim-Christian strife. Until today no group has claimed responsibility for the church bombing but two militant groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Liwa El-Thawra and Hasm, distanced themselves from the terrorist attack.
Saudi Arabia is about to remove the Muslim Brotherhood from its terrorist list although the group has been banned in the country since 2014. Recently, several meetings between representatives of the Saudi government and the Brotherhood have taken place in London, Istanbul and Riyad aiming at the normalization of the mutual relations. As a result, the kingdom will possibly redefine the status of the group in exchange for understandings between Saudi Arabia and the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently, sanctions imposed on individual members of the Brotherhood could be lifted including the unfreezing of millions of dollars in Saudi banks and the removal of travel restrictions.
The relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been tense since Egypt’s vote in favor of Russia’s intervention in Syria in the UN Security Council. Saudi Arabia stopped oil shipments to Egypt in return. This situation assumedly paved the way for the facilitation of the Brotherhood’s efforts to normalize its relationship with the Saudi government.
In addition to the removal of the Brotherhood from the terrorist list, there could be more political support for the Muslim Brotherhood also within Egypt. This would put pressure on the Egyptian government to reconcile with the group. Hence there is a danger that a reintegration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the political scene in Egypt could take place that would provide Saudi Arabia the opportunity to directly exercise influence on Egyptian politics.