Muslim Brotherhood


Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood
الإخوان المسلمون/المسلمين
al-ʾIḫwān al-Muslimūn/Muslimīn
IPA: [elʔexˈwæːn elmosleˈmiːn]
Leader Mohammed Badie
Founded 1928
Ismailia, Egypt
Ideology Islamism
Pan-Islamism
Islamic democracy
Qutbism
Jihad
Anti-Zionism
Anti-Masonry
Website
www.ikhwanonline.com
www.ikhwanweb.com

The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Arabic: الإخوانal-ʾIḫwān/Ikhwan/el-ekhwan, IPA: [elʔexˈwæːn], often simply "The Brotherhood" or "MB") is the world's oldest[1] and one of the largest Islamist parties,[2] and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.[which?] It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940 had an estimated two million members.[3] Its ideas had gained its supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its "model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work".[4] Its most famous slogan, used worldwide, is "Islam is the solution."[4]

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".[5] Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals.[6][7] The MB's non-violent stance has resulted in breakaway groups from the movement, and been criticized by al-Qaeda for its support for democratic elections rather than armed jihad.[8]

The Muslim Brotherhood started off as a religious social organization, preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals and even launching commercial enterprises. As it continued to rise in influence, starting in 1936, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt.[9] Many Egyptian nationalists accuse the MB of violent killings during this period.[10] After the Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organisation and arrested its members.[9] It supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but after an attempted assassination of Egypt's president it was once again banned and repressed.[11] The MB has been suppressed in other countries as well, most notably in Syria in 1982 during the Hama massacre.[12]

The MB is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions are from members who work in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries.[13]

Contents

Beliefs

The Brotherhood's credo was and is, "God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."[14][15] The Brotherhood's English language website describes the "principles of the Muslim Brotherhood" as including firstly the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as "the basis controlling the affairs of state and society;" and secondly work to unify "Islamic countries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from foreign imperialism".[16]

According to a spokesman, the MB believe in reform, democracy, freedom of assembly, press, etc.

"We believe that the political reform is the true and natural gateway for all other kinds of reform. We have announced our acceptance of democracy that acknowledges political pluralism, the peaceful rotation of power and the fact that the nation is the source of all powers. As we see it, political reform includes the termination of the state of emergency, restoring public freedoms, including the right to establish political parties, whatever their tendencies may be, and the freedom of the press, freedom of criticism and thought, freedom of peaceful demonstrations, freedom of assembly, etc. It also includes the dismantling of all exceptional courts and the annulment of all exceptional laws, establishing the independence of the judiciary, enabling the judiciary to fully and truly supervise general elections so as to ensure that they authentically express people's will, removing all obstacles that restrict the functioning of civil society organizations, etc."[17]

Its founder, Hassan Al-Banna, was influenced by Islamic reformers Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. In the group's belief, the Quran and Sunnah 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 Muslim Brotherhood's goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam's manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia.[18] 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 countries during the early 20th century.

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam conservatively. 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..."[19]

The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and the newly created Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree, unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir which is highly centralized.[20]

The Brotherhood's nonviolent stance has resulted in breakaway groups from the movement, including the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and Al Takfir Wal Hijra.[21] Osama bin Laden similarly criticized the Brotherhood, and accused it of betraying jihad and the ideals of Sayyid Qutb, an influential Brother member and author of Milestones.[22][23]

Organization

The Transcripts[24] 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.[25]
  • 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

The Muslim Brotherhood aimed to build a transnational organisation, founding groups in Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), and Transjordan (1946). It also recruited among the foreign students in Cairo where its headquarters became a center and meeting place for representatives from the whole Muslim world.[26]

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.

In Egypt

Founding

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement. According to al-Banna, 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 God that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems.[26]

Al-Banna was populist in his message of protecting workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. Al-Banna held highly conservative views on issues such as women's rights, opposing equal rights for women.[19] The Brotherhood distributed Arabic translations of European political writing, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.[27]

The Brotherhood grew rapidly going from 800 members in 1936, to 200,000 by 1938, 500,000 in 1948.[28]

Post WWII

In November 1948, following several bombings and assassination attempts, the government arrest 32 leaders of the Brotherhood's "secret apparatus" and banned the Brotherhood.[29] At this time the Brotherhood was estimated to have 2000 branches and 500,000 members or sympathizers.[30] In succeeding months Egypt's prime minister was assassinated by a Brotherhood member, and following that Al-Banna himself was assassinated in what is thought to be a cycle of retaliation. In 1952 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are accused of taking part in the Cairo Fire that destroyed some "750 buildings" in downtown Cairo — mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners.[31]

In 1952 Egypt's monarchy was overthrown by nationalist military officers supported by the Brotherhood. However the Brotherhood opposed the secularist constitution of the coup leaders and in 1954 another assassination was attempted against Egypt's prime minister (Gamal Abdel Nasser), and blamed on the "secret apparatus" of the Brotherhood (this attempt was unsuccessful). The Brotherhood was again banned and this time thousands of its members were imprisoned, many of them held for years in prisons and concentration camps, and sometimes tortured.

Since the 1970s the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics.[32] Imprisoned Brethren were released and the organization was tolerated to varying degrees with periodic arrests and crackdowns until the 2011 Revolution.

Mubarak era

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood's candidates, who had to run as independents because of their illegality as a political party, won 88 seats (20% of the total). (The legal opposition won only 14 seats.) This was despite electoral irregularities, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood became "in effect, the first opposition party of Egypt’s modern era."[33]

Accounts differ over the Brotherhood's record in parliament. Initially there was widespread skepticism inside and outside Egypt towards the MB's commitment to democracy, along with fears of "severe restrictions on its freedom of opinion and belief" in both religious matters, and "social, political, economic and cultural affairs."[34]

But by 2007 a New York Times journalist wrote: "While many secular critics fear that the brotherhood harbors a hidden Islamist agenda, so far the organization has posed a democratic political challenge to the regime, not a theological one."[33]; and another report praised the MB for an "unmatched record of attendance", forming a coalition to fight the extension of Egypt's emergency law, and generally attempting to transform "the Egyptian parliament into a real legislative body, as well as an institution that represents citizens and a mechanism that keeps government accountable".[35][33] According to one German political scientist, the MB tends towards more moderate secular "Islamism" and so-called Islamic Democracy comparable to Christian political movements in Europe or the US, or the democratic Islamist Justice and Development Party of Turkey.[36]

However, in December 2006 a campus demonstration by Muslim Brotherhood students in uniforms, demonstrating martial arts drills betrayed "the group's intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of 'secret cells,'" according to Jameel Theyabi.[37] Another report highlighted the MB's efforts in Parliament to combat what one member called the `current US-led war against Islamic culture and identity`, forcing the Minister of Culture (Farouk Hosny) to ban the publication of three novels on the ground they promoted blasphemy and unacceptable sexual practices.[38] In October 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a detailed political platform. Amongst other things it called for a board of Muslim clerics to oversee the government, and limiting the office of the presidency to Muslim men. In the `Issues and Problems` chapter of the platform, it declared that a woman was not suited to be president because the post's religious and military duties `conflict with her nature, social and other humanitarian roles.` While underlining `equality between men and women in terms of their human dignity,` the document warned against `burdening women with duties against their nature or role in the family.`[39]

Since 2005 Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt have also become a significant movement online,[40] with some "cyberactivists" critical of the organization.[40][41][42]

Whether or not the Brotherhood would unconditionally or conditionally dissolve Egypt's 32-year peace treaty with Israel is disputed within the Brotherhood. While the deputy leader of the Brotherhood has said the Brotherhood would seek the dissolution of Egypt's 32-year peace treaty with Israel,[43] a Brotherhood spokesman has said that the Brotherhood would respect the treaty as long as "Israel shows real progress on improving the lot of the Palestinians."[44]

The Brotherhood remains the largest opposition group in Egypt, advocating Islamic reform, democratic system and maintaining a vast network of support through Islamic charities working among poor Egyptians.[45]

2011 revolution and after

Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and fall of Hosni Mubarak, the group was legalized.[46] The Brotherhood supported the constitutional referendum in March which was also supported by the Egyptian army and opposed by Egyptian liberals.[47] In 30 April 2011 it launched a new party called the Freedom and Justice Party, which reportedly plans to "contest up to half the seats" in the Egyptian parliamentary election scheduled for September 2011.[48] The party "rejects the candidacy of women or Copts for Egypt's presidency", but not for cabinet positions.[49] Some splinter groups have appeared in the wake of the revolution.[50]

General leaders

(المرشد العام لجماعة الإخوان المسلمون)

In West Asia

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 clampdown 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 w ould give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party's view they should be "beheaded".[51]

In March 2009, the Shi'a group The Islamic Enlightenment Society held its annual conference with the announced aim of diffusing tension between Muslim branches. The society invited national Sunni and Shi'a scholars to participate. Bahraini independent Salafi (Sunni) religious scholars Sheikh Salah Al-Jowder and Sheikh Rashid Al Muraikhi, and Shi'a clerics Sheikh Isa Qasim and Abdulla Al Ghoraifi spoke about the importance of sectarian cooperation. Additional seminars were held throughout the year.[52]

In 2010, the U.S. government sponsored the visit of Al-Jowder, described as a prominent Sunni cleric, to the United States for a three-week interfaith dialogue program in several cities."[53][54]

Syria

Muslim Brotherhood in Syria was founded in the 1930s (according to lexicorient.com) or in 1945, a year before independence from France, (according to journalist Robin Wright (author)). In the first decade or so of independence it was part of the legal opposition, and in the 1961 parliamentary elections it won ten seats (5.8% of the house). But after the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power it was banned.[55] It played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based terrorist movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath party. This conflict developed into an armed struggle that continued until culminating in the Hama uprising of 1982, when the rebellion was crushed by the military.[56]

Membership in the Syrian Brotherhood became a capital offence in Syria in 1980 (under Emergency Law 49, which was revoked in 2011), but the headquarters of the MB-linked Palestinian group, Hamas, is located in the Syria's capital Damascus, where it is given Syrian government support. This is seen by some as an example of the lack of international centralisation or even coordination of the MB.[57]

Jordan

The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1942, and is a strong factor in Jordanian politics. While most political parties and movements were banned for a long time in Jordan such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Brotherhood was exempted and allowed to operate by the Jordanian monarchy. The Jordanian Brotherhood has formed its own political party, the Islamic Action Front, which has the largest number of seats of any party in the Jordanian parliament.[58]

The Muslim Brotherhood is playing an active role in the unrest in several Arab countries in January 2011. For example, at a rally held outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman on Saturday, 29 January 2011 with some 100 participants, Hammam Saeed, head of the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan and a close ally of the Hamas's Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal, said: "Egypt's unrest will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States." However, he did not specifically name Jordanian King Abdullah II.[59] The Muslim brotherhood is rightfully or wrongfully feared by several commentators in the west, however it is not known how many seats in a democratic government the brotherhood will gain in any of the aforementioned countries.

Iran

Although Iran is a predominately Shia Muslim country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran.[60] Navab Safavi, who founded Fadaian Islam, (also Fedayeen of Islam, or Fadayan-e Islam), an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, "was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood.[61] From 1945 to 1951 the Fadain assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They included anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj-Ali Razm-Ara, former Premier Abdul-Hussein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh.[62]

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

Iraq

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood,[63] 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. The Islamic Party has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but participates in the political process.[64] Its leader is Iraqi Vice-President 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, and is the main political force outside the dominance of the two main secularist parties, the PUK and KDP.[65]

Israel

'Abd al-Rahman al-Banna, the brother of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, went to the British Mandate for Palestine and established the Muslim Brotherhood there in 1935. Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, eventually appointed by the British as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in hopes of accommodating him, was the leader of the group in Palestine.[66] 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.[67] In 1945, the group established a branch in Jerusalem, and by 1947 twenty-five more branches had sprung up, in towns such as Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Nablus, and Tulkarm, which total membership between 12,000 to 20,000.

Brotherhood members fought alongside the Arab armies during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and, after Israel's creation, the ensuing Palestinian refugee crisis encouraged more Palestinian Muslims to join the group. After the war, in the West Bank, the group's activity was mainly social and religious, not political, so it had relatively good relations with Jordan, which was in control of the West Bank after 1950. In contrast, the group frequently clashed with the Egyptian regime that controlled the Gaza Strip until 1967.[68]

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 and the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir.[69] Eventually, however, the Brotherhood was strengthened by several factors:

  1. The creation of al-Mujamma' al-Islami, the Islamic Center in 1973 by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin had a centralizing effect that encapsulated all religious organizations.
  2. The Muslim Brotherhood Society in Jordan and Palestine was created from a merger of the branches in the West Bank and Gaza and Jordan.
  3. Palestinian disillusion with the liberation front caused them to become more open to alternatives.
  4. The Islamic Revolution in Iran offered inspiration to Palestinians. The Brotherhood was able to increase its efforts in Palestine and avoid being dismantled like national resistance groups because it did not focus on the occupation. While national resistance groups were being dismantled, the Brotherhood filled the void.[70]

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.[71][72] 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.'[73] During that time, the Brotherhood 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. 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.[71]

The Brotherhood's downfall was its failure to fight the Israeli occupation, but the Intifada changed the Brotherhood's position and Hamas was established.[70] The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood,[74] 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 strongest Palestinian militant groups.

The Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 was the first time since the Sudanese coup of 1989 that brought Omar al-Bashir to power, that a Muslim Brotherhood group ruled a significant geographic territory.[75]

Saudi Arabia

The Muslim Brotherhood's brand of Islam and Islamic politics differs from the strict Salafi creed, Wahhabiyya, officially held by the state of Saudi Arabia. Despite this, the Brotherhood has been tolerated by the Saudi government, and maintains a presence in the country.[citation needed] Aside from tolerating the Brotherhood organization[citation needed], and according to Washington Post report, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef has denounced the Brotherhood, saying it is guilty of "betrayal of pledges and ingratitude" and is "the source of all problems in the Islamic world".[13]

Kuwait

The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait is represented in the Kuwaiti parliament by Hadas.[76][77]

Yemen

The Muslim Brotherhood is the political arm of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, commonly known as Islah. President Ali Abdullah Saleh accused them of being in league with Al Qaida and stirring up the 2011 Yemen protests against his rule.[78]

Oman

Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood obtained support from the uneducated people.[79]

Elsewhere in Africa

Algeria

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

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

Sudan

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

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

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

The Brotherhood penetrated into the ruling political organizations, the state army and security personal, the national and regional assemblies 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 campaigns 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".[80]

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 early 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".[81]

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 but are considered the first ever opposition to the dictatorship. 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 the 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.[81] In Somalia, they are known to be a peaceful organization that does not participate in any factional fighting and rejects the use of violence.

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

Although Al-Islah have been criticized by some hardcore Islamists who considered them to be influenced by imperialist western values, Al-Islah speaks of democratic peaceful Somalia. They promote women's rights, human rights, and other ideas, which they argue that these concepts originate from Islamic concepts. Al-Islah is gaining momentum in the Somali societies for their humanitarian work and moderate view of Islam, which is compatible to modernisation and respect of human rights. Currently, Islah initiated to establish political party under the name of Justice and Unity Party which is open for all citizens of Somalia.

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 Ennahda (The Revival or Renaissance Party), which is Tunisia's major Islamist political 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.

Other states

Russian Federation

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Russia as a terrorist organisation.[82][83]

As affirmed on 14 February, 2003 by the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia, the Muslim Brotherhood coordinated the creation of an Islamic organisation called The Supreme Military Majlis ul-Shura of the United Forces of Caucasian Mujahedeen (Russian: Высший военный маджлисуль шура объединённых сил моджахедов Кавказа), led by Ibn Al-Khattab and Basaev; an organisation that committed multiple attacks acts in Russia and was allegedly financed by drug trafficking, counterfeiting of coins and racketeering.[84]

According to the above-mention decision of the Supreme Court:

Muslim Brotherhood is an organisation, basing its activities on the ideas of its theorists and leaders Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb with an aim of destruction of non-Islamic governments and the establishment of the worldwide Islamic government by the reconstruction of the "Great Islamic Caliphate"; firstly, in regions with majority of Muslim population, including those in Russia and CIS countries. The organisation is illegal in some Middle East countries (Syria, Jordan). The main forms of activities are warlike Islamism propaganda with intolerance to other religions, recruitment in mosques, armed Jihad without territorial boundaries.
—The Supreme Court of Russia[84]

United States of America

The MB's organisations in the USA were started by activists involved with the Muslim Brotherhood and included the Muslim Students Association in 1963,[13] 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.[13] According to the Washington Post, Muslim activists say the 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."[13]

The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release, as evidence, of[85] several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood. One of these documents, dated in 1991, explains that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is "settlement," defined by the brotherhood as a form of jihad aimed at destroying Western civilisation from within and allowing for the victory of Islam over other religions.[86] In another one of these documents, "Ikhwan in America", the author alleges that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as Special work by the Muslim Brotherhood),[87] as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group).[88]

United Kingdom

The Muslim Brotherhood has formally been active in the U.K since 1996 and now holds a significant but widely unknown presence within the U.K's Muslim population.

In 1996, the first representative of the MB in Britain, Kamal el-Helbawy, an Egyptian, was able to say that "there are not many members here, but many Muslims in Britain intellectually support the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood." He added that at that time, the object of the MB in Britain was only to disseminate information on Islam, Islamic issues and movements, and to rectify the distortions and misunderstandings created by "different forces against Islam".

In September 1999, the MB opened a "global information centre" in London. A press notice published in Muslim News stated that it would "specialize in promoting the perspectives and stances of the Muslim Brotherhood, and [communicate] between Islamic movements and the global mass media."

One of the notable mosques which has affiliations with the Brotherhood is the East London Mosque.

Criticisms

Motives

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

  • According to FrontPage Magazine, a conservative publication, former U.S. White House counterterrorism chief Juan Zarate said: "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."[89][90]
  • 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.[91][92]
  • Miles Axe Copeland, Jr. -a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan- divulges the confessions of numerous members of the Muslim brotherhood that resulted from the harsh interrogations done against them by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, for their alleged involvement in the assassination attempt made against Nasser (an assassination attempt that many believe was staged by Nasser himself[93]), which revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood was merely a "guild" that fulfilled the goals of western interests: "Nor was that all. Sound beatings of the Moslem Brotherhood organizers who had been arrested revealed that the organization had been thoroughly penetrated, at the top, by the British, American, French and Soviet intelligence services, any one of which could either make active use of it or blow it up, whichever best suited its purposes. Important lesson: fanaticism is no insurance against corruption; indeed, the two are highly compatible."[94]
  • 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.[95]
  • The Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz has stated that the Muslim Brotherhood organization was the cause of most problems in the Arab world. 'The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia,' he said. Prince Naif accused the foremost Islamist group in the Arab world of harming the interests of Muslims. 'All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood. We have given too much support to this group..." "The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world,' he said. 'Whenever they got into difficulty or found their freedom restricted in their own countries, Brotherhood activists found refuge in the Kingdom which protected their lives... But they later turned against the Kingdom...' The Muslim Brotherhood has links to groups across the Arab world, including Jordan's main parliamentary opposition, the 'Islamic Action Front,' and the 'Palestinian resistance movement, 'Hamas." The Interior Minister's outburst against the Brotherhood came amid mounting criticism in the United States of Saudi Arabia's longstanding support for Islamist groups around the world..."[96]

Links to violence

  • Caryle Murphy believes that the organization has had a "secret apparatus" responsible for attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, the Egyptian Prime Minister in 1948.[97]
  • Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff reported connections between al-Qaeda and Brotherhood figures Mamoun Darkazanli and Youssef Nada.[98]
  • A similar article in the Financial Times reported financial links between 74-year-old Swiss Muslim convert, and businessman Ahmed Huber, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, notably Youssef Nada, Ali Ghaleb Himmat. According to the U.S. government, Al Taqwa "has long acted as financial advisers to al-Qaeda." 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".[99]

Muslim Brotherhood and 9/11

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al Quaida was arrested in the 1980's for his involvment of Muslim Brotherhood terrorist activities like the assasination of President Sadat. [4] [http//:www.thenewamerican.com/.../8810-911-and-the-muslim-brotherhood.html][5][6] There are elements in the Muslim Brotherhood who are politically savvy have made claims that they denounce the use of terrorism to turn all the countries into Islamic republics.[7].Other more extremist elements of the Muslim Brotherhood don't hide the fact that actively commit terrorist acts.

Status of non-Muslims

  • In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud[100] that he thought Egypt's Coptic Christians and Orthodox Jews should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, "we do not mind having Christians members in the People's Assembly...the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country...This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy."[101] According to The Guardian newspaper, the proposal caused an "uproar" among Egypt's six million Coptic Christians and "the movement later backtracked."[102]

Response to criticism

According to authors writing in the Council on Foreign Relations magazine Foreign Affairs: "At various times in its history, the group has used or supported violence and has been repeatedly banned in Egypt for attempting to overthrow Cairo's secular government. Since the 1970s, however, the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics."[32] Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, calls it "conservative and non-violent".[103] The Brotherhood has condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks.[104][105]

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..."[106]

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.[107] Some claim that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology, not that of the Muslim Brotherhood.[108][109]

According to anthropologist Scott Atran, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood even in Egypt has been overstated by Western commentators. He estimates that it can count on only 100,000 militants (out of some 600,000 dues paying members) in a population of more than 80 million, and that such support as it does have among Egyptians—an often cited figure is 20 percent to 30 percent—is less a matter of true attachment than an accident of circumstance: secular opposition groups that might have countered it were suppressed for many decades, but in driving the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a more youthful constellation of secular movements has emerged to threaten the Muslim Brotherhood's dominance of the political opposition.[110]

Foreign Relations

On 29 June 2011, as the Brotherhood's political power became more apparent and solidified following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the United States announced that it would reopen formal diplomatic channels with the group, with whom it had suspended communication as a result of suspected terrorist activity. The next day, the Brotherhood's leadership announced that they welcomed the diplomatic overture.[111]

In media

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ The Muslim Brotherhood in flux 21 Nov 2010 aljazeera
  2. ^ The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood. Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine
  3. ^ Hallett, Robin. Africa Since 1875. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press (1974), pg. 138.
  4. ^ a b Ghattas, Kim (2001-2-9). "Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood". BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12313405. 
  5. ^ "Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood". http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Home.asp?zPage=Systems&System=PressR&Press=Show&Lang=E&ID=4584. 
  6. ^ "Egyptian Regime Resasserts Its Absolute Disrespect of Law". February 6, 2007. http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Article.asp?ID=2496&SectionID=77. 
  7. ^ History of Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage. http://www.ikhwanweb.com/lib/History_of_the_Muslim_Brotherhood_in_Egypt.doc. 
  8. ^ The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood Leiken, Robert S; Brooke, Steven}| Foreign Affairs v.86. 2 (Mar/Apr 2007): 107-121. ] quote: Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for "lur[ing] thousands of young Muslim men into lines for elections ... instead of into the lines of jihad."
  9. ^ a b Delanoue, G., "al-Ik̲h̲wānal-Muslimūn", Brill 
  10. ^ Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, 1994?, p. 140.
  11. ^ "Egypt opposition wary after talks". BBC News. 2011-02-09. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12313405. 
  12. ^ Ghattas, Kim (2005-05-18). "Syria cracks down on 'Islamists'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4557543.stm. 
  13. ^ a b c d e In Search Of Friends Among The Foes U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group
  14. ^ "FAS Intelligence Resource Program". http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/mb.htm. 
  15. ^ "Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage". http://www.ummah.net/ikhwan/. 
  16. ^ "The Principles of The Muslim Brotherhood". http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Article.asp?ID=813&LevelID=2&SectionID=116. 
  17. ^ interview w/Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed Habib
  18. ^ Davidson, Lawrence (1998) Islamic Fundamentalism Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., ISBN 0-313-29978-1 pp. 97–98;
  19. ^ a b In his tract, "Toward the Light" in Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna, trans. by Charles Wendell (Berkeley, 1978), ISBN 0-520-09584-7 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..."
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  29. ^ Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, [1994?], p.140
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