Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood, officially Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun [Arab.,=Society of Muslim Brothers], religious and political organization founded (1928) in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna. Early opposed to secular tendencies in Islamic nations, the organization has sought to foster a return to the original precepts of the Qur'an. It grew rapidly, establishing an educational, economic, military, and political infrastructure. Threatened by its power, Egypt's government twice banned (1948, 1954) the organization. It has since existed largely as a clandestine but militant group, marked by its rejection of Western influences. The Muslim Brotherhood remains strong in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, and other Arab countries and has resorted to acts of political violence. It was permitted to operate openly in Egypt in the late 1980s and early 90s after disavowing violence in the 1970s, but the government again moved against the group beginning in the mid-1990s. Members have been elected to Egypt's parliament as independents, and in 2005 candidates linked to the group won a fifth of the seats in parliament, a record. Egypt subsequently mounted a new crackdown on the group, beginning in late 2006, and in 2007 the nation's constitution was amended to religious-based political parties. In Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Islamic Action Front, is an important opposition party. The Muslim Brotherhood has given rise to a number of more militant and violent organizations, such as Hamas, Gama'a al-Islamiya, and Islamic Jihad.
Arabic Al-Ikhwān al-Muslimūn

Religio-political organization founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hsubdotasan al-Bannā (1906–49) that promoted the Qurhamzahān and Hsubdotadīth as the proper basis for society. It quickly gained many followers throughout North Africa and the Middle East and influenced the development of Muslim groups in other regions. It became politicized after 1938, rejecting Westernization, modernization, and secularization. Suppressed in Egypt after a 1954 assassination attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser, it operated clandestinely in the 1960s and '70s. Beginning in the late 1980s, it experienced an upsurge; though its candidates were often listed under other parties, Brotherhood candidates competed in legislative elections in Egypt and Jordan.

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The Muslim Brothers (Arabic: الإخوان المسلمون al-ikhwān al-muslimūn, full title The Society of the Muslim Brothers, often simply الإخوان al-ikhwān, the Brotherhood or MB) is a transnational Sunni movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab nations, particularly Egypt. The world's oldest and largest Islamist group was founded by the Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928.

These groups are dedicated to the credo:

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.

The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and Sunnah as the "sole reference point for ... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state".

Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals, with some exceptions such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to overthrow secular Ba'athist rule in Syria (see Hama massacre). This official position has been questioned, particularly by the Egyptian government who accused it of a campaign of killings in Egypt after World War II.

The Brotherhood has been described as both unjustly oppressed and dangerously violent. Members have been arbitrarily arrested; in Egypt the government has obstructed the party's attempts to field candidates in elections, with arrests or harassment of activists and obstruction of voting in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds. However, supporters of the Brotherhood have demonstrated violence on their part in many occasions and have often clashed with supporters of other parties, specifically the NDP in Egypt. Outside of Egypt, the group's political activity has been described as evolving away from modernism and reformism towards a more traditional, "rightist conservative" stance. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood party in Kuwait opposes suffrage for women.

Among the Brotherhood's more influential members was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was the author of one of Islamism's most important books, Milestones, which called for the restoration of Islam by re-establishing the Sharia and by using "physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system, which he believed to include the entire Muslim world. While studying at university, Osama bin Laden claimed to have been influenced by the religious and political ideas of several professors with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood including both Sayyid Qutb and his brother Muhammad Qutb. With a bit of clarification it is easy to see the Brotherhood's theology and methods are opposed to those of bin Laden, and that they are "reformist," "democratic," "non-violent" and "chiefly political. However some journalists have reported the opposite.

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

Beliefs

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

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam quite strictly. Its founder called for "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior," "segregation of male and female students," a separate curriculum for girls, and "the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes..."

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

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

The MB is a movement, not a political party, but has created separate political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Palestine. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree.

Criticism of actions and beliefs

The Brotherhood's official position of opposing most terror against civilians and condemning the 9/11 attacks is a matter of international controversy. The position has also caused disputes within the movement, with more radical, violent members at times breaking away to form groups such as the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Excommunication and Migration).

Sincerity

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

  • U.S. White House counterterrorism chief Juan Zarate, who says "The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians.
  • Columnist and former Kuwaiti official Dr. Ahmad Al-Rabi, who has written that the "beginnings of all of the religious terrorism that we are witnessing today were in the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology.
  • 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.
  • Douglas Farah, a veteran international reporter who describes current Muslim Brotherhood propaganda as a "charm offensive.
  • Former U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross, who told Asharq Alawsat newspaper that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global, not a local organization, governed by a Shura (Consultative) Council, which rejects cessation of violence in Israel, and supports violence to achieve its political objectives elsewhere too.
  • Magdi Khalil, executive editor of Egypt's Watani International, who reports consistent MB deceit concerning Egypt's 12.5% Coptic Christian population, so as to oppress and dhimmify them.

Links to violence

  • The Brotherhood is widely believed to have had a `secret apparatus` responsible for terrorist attacks in Egypt including the assassination of Egypt's prime minister in 1948.
  • The Brotherhood currently advocates suicide bombing attacks on civilians to fight Zionism, and its Palestinian wing Hamas targets both civilians and the military in Israel.
  • Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff report connections between al-Qaeda and Brotherhood figures Mamoun Darkazanli and Youssef Nada.
  • A similar article in the Financial Times reported financial links between 74-year-old Swiss Muslim convert, businessman and neo-Nazi Ahmed Huber, and MB members, notably Youssef Nada, Ali Himmat and who founded the Al Taqwa Bank. According to the U.S. government, Al Taqwa "has long acted as financial advisers to al-Qaeda." Huber himself is noted in Europe for his links with alleged neo-Nazi and other far right elements. He is reported to have "confirmed" having "had contact with associates of Osama bin Laden at an Islamic conference in Beirut," whom he called `very discreet, well-educated, very intelligent people.`
  • Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, an "expert in the art of deception" was an influential lobbyist and founder and head of the Brotherhood-linked American Muslim Council before being convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison for conspiracy to murder Saudi Prince Abdullah at the behest of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Taxation for Non-Citizens

  • In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt's Coptic Christians should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims but not Muslims (In exchange for protection from the state, due to the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service, while it is compulsory for Muslims.). He went on to say that while `we do not mind having Christians members in the People's Assembly... the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country... This is necessary, Mashhur explained because `when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy.`

Questioning the scope of the Jewish Holocaust

  • Egyptian brotherhood leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, has denounced what he called "the exageration of the Holocaust" in defending Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whom believes that the Jewish Holocaust should be studied by an impartial group to attain more realistic figures and statistics of the historical event.

Defense

On the other hand, some analysts maintain that whatever the source of modern Jihadi terrorism and the actions 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. Others argue that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology, not that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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...

Organisation

From transcripts the following hierarchical Organisation structure can be derived:

  • The General Organisational Conference is the highest body of the Ikhwans stemming from the Ikhwans bases, every Usra elects one or two deputies according to its number.
  • The Shura Council has the duties of planning, charting general policies and programs that achieve the goal of the Group, its resolutions are binding to the Group and only the General Organisational Conference can modify or annul them and the Shura Office has also the right to modify or annul resolutions of the Executive Office. It follows the implementation of the Group policies and programs, it directs the Executive Office and it forms dedicated branch committees to assist in that.
  • 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 the internal bylaws.

It has the following divisions (not complete): - Executive leadership - Organisational office - Secretariat general - Education office - Political office - Sisters office

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

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

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

Main Activity-plan

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

Primary goals

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

Secondary goals

  • Finance and Investment
  • Foreign relations
  • Reviving Woman's activity
  • Political awareness to the members of the Group
  • Securing the group (To find out if they are being monitored, and if, how they can get rid of them)
  • Special activity (this means Military work)
  • Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
  • Taking advantage of human potentials (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organisations)

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company. It began as a religious, political, and social movement with the credo, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Al-Banna called for the return to an original Islam and followed Islamic reformers like Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. According to him, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia law based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by Allah that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems. The Brotherhood also saw itself as a political and social movement Al-Banna strived to be a populist. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed to want to protect the workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. However, in addition to holding conservative views on issues such as women's rights, it was from the start extremely hostile to independent working-class and popular organisations such as trade unions. This is disputed however by William Cleveland, who points out that the Muslim Brotherhood became involved with the labour movement early on, and supported efforts to create trades unions and unemployment benefits.

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

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

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

The Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954 when it was convicted of the attempt to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian government. The group had denied involvement in the incident and accused the government of staging the incident to use it as a pretext to persecute the group and its members. On this basis from 1954 until Nasser's death in 1971, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were systemically tortured under Nasser's secular regime, highlighted in Zainab al Ghazali's Return of the Pharaoh. Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, promised the Brotherhood that shari'a would be implemented as the Egyptian law and released all of the Brotherhood prisoners. However, as a result of Sadat signing a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, an Islamic group other than the Brotherhood assassinated Sadat in September, 1981.

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

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

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

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

* Founder & First G.leader : Hassan al Banna حسن البنا
* 2nd G.L : Hassan al-Hudaybi حسن الهضيبى
* 3rd G.L : Umar al-Tilmisani عمر التلمسانى
* 4th G.L : Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr محمد حامد أبو النصر
* 5th G.L : Mustafa Mashhur مصطفى مشهور
* 6th G.L : Ma'mun al-Hudaybi مأمون الهضيبى
* 7th G.L & Current G.L : Mohammed Mahdi Akef محمد المهدى عاكف

Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East

Bahrain

In Bahrain, the Muslim Brotherhood is represented by the Al Eslah Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. Following parliamentary elections in 2002, Al Menbar became the joint largest party with eight seats in the forty seat Chamber of Deputies. Prominent members of Al Menbar include Dr Salah Abdulrahman, Dr Salah Al Jowder, and outspoken MP Mohammed Khalid. The party has generally backed government sponsored legislation on economic issues, but has sought a clamp down on pop concerts, sorcery and soothsayers. It has strongly opposed the government's accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party's view they should be "beheaded" Municipal councillor, Dr Salah Al Jowder, has campaigned against people being able to look into other people's houses, changing the local by-laws in Muharraq to ensure that all new buildings are fitted with one way glass to prevent residents being able to see out Although a competitor with the salafist Asalah party, it seems likely that Al Menbar will opt for a political alliance in 2006s election to avoid splitting the Sunni Islamist vote.

Syria

Founded in the 1930s by Syrian students who had participated in the Egyptian Brotherhood, the Brotherhood in Syria played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based resistance movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath Party, which seized power in 1963 (since 1970, it has been dominated by the Alawite Assad family, adding a religious element to its conflict with the Brotherhood). This conflict developed into an armed struggle that continued until culminating in the Hama uprising of 1982, when the rebellion was bloodily crushed by the military. Since then, the Brotherhood has ceased to be an active political force inside Syria, but it retains a network of support in the country, of unknown strength, and has external headquarters in London and Cyprus. In recent years it has renounced violence and adopted a reformist platform, calling for the establishment of a pluralistic, democratic political system. However, membership of the Brotherhood remains a capital offence in Syria, as specified under Emergency Law 49 of 1980. The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanuni, who lives as a political refugee in London.

Palestinian territories

The first group in Palestine was formed in Jerusalem in 1936, with other groups springing up the same year in Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Nablus, and Tulkarm. The Brotherhood members fought alongside the Arab armies during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. After Israel's creation, the ensuing Palestinian refugee crisis encouraged more Palestinian Muslims to join the movement. However, the Arab nationalists in control of the West Bank and Gaza were hard on Islamist activists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, judging them to be against the political process and secular nationalism.

After the Six Day War when occupation started, Israel, usually through the Mossad, looked to cultivate Islam as a counterweight to Palestinian nationalism. One of Israel's first actions after the war was to release various Muslim Brotherhood activists from prison, including Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the future founder of Hamas. From there, political Islamism grew exponentially. Between 1967 and 1987, the year Hamas was founded, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600. (Dreyfuss 2006) Likewise, antagonistic and sometimes violent opposition to Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and other secular nationalist groups increased dramatically in the streets and on university campuses.

The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood , formed out of Brotherhood-affiliated charities that had gained a strong foothold among the local population. During the First Intifada (1987-93), Hamas militarized and transformed into one of the most violent Palestinian militant groups.

Hamas had refused to accept the 1993 Oslo Accords, and has, particularly during the al-Aqsa Intifada, launched a series of attacks (including suicide bombings) against Israeli civilians. This led many governments, including the USA, Canada, and the European Union, to label Hamas terrorist movement, while the prevailing view in the Arab-Muslim world has been that Hamas is carrying out a war of legitimate resistance.

In the general elections of January 2006, Hamas swept to victory, claiming 74 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Palestine, while still under occupation, thus became the only present-day Arab nation where the Muslim brotherhood has gained power through democratic elections. However, when the movement later formed the first non-Fatah government, this engendered considerable controversy, as Western governments refused to deal with a group that they had formally listed as a terrorist organization. This has caused an economic crisis for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), as these governments withheld the foreign aid that is the main source of the PNA's income. While these developments are primarily a part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are also closely monitored by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in other countries, and seen as a setback to its strategy of participating in democratic elections.

Among the most prominent leaders of Hamas are Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of the movement who was assassinated by Israel in March 2004, his successor Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, who was also assassinated by Israel in April 2004, and Mahmoud al-Zahar. The political head of the movement is now Khaled Mashal, a hardliner living in exile in Syria, who survived an assassination attempt by Israeli agents in Jordan in 1997.

  • ''For more information, see Hamas.

Israel

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

Jordan

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

Iran

Although Iran is a predominately Shia country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine and does not have any presence there, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. Navab Safavi, who founded Fadaian Islam, (also Fedayeen of Islam, or Fadayan-e Islam), an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, "was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood." From 1945 to 1951 the Fadain assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They including anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj-Ali Razm-Ara, former Premier Abdul-Hussein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh.

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

Iraq

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood , but as government repression hardened under the Baath Party, the group was forced underground. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, the Islamic Party has reemerged as one of the main advocates of the country's Sunni community. It has been sharply critical of the US-led occupation of Iraq, but participates in the political process. Its leader is Tariq Al-Hashimi.

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

Saudi Arabia

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

Kuwait

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

Muslim Brotherhood in Africa

Algeria

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

Sudan

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

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

An offshoot of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Charter Front grew during the 1960, with Islamic scholar Hasan al-Turabi becoming its Secretary general in 1964. The Islamic Charter Front (ICM) was renamed several times most recently being called the National Islamic Front (NIF). Turabi has been the prime architect of the NIF as a modern Islamist party. He worked within the Institutions of the government, which led to a prominent position of his organization in the country. NIF supported women's right to vote and ran women candidates. The Muslim Brotherhood/NIF's main objective in Sudan was to Islamize the society "from above" and to institutionalize the Islamic law throughout the country where they succeeded. The Brotherhood penetrated into the ruling political organizations, the state army and security personal, the national and regional assemblies, the youth and women organizations of Sudan. They also launched their own mass organizations among the youth and women such as the shabab al-binna, and raidat al-nahda, and launched educational campaigned to Islamize the communities throughout the country. At the same time, they gained control of several newly founded Islamic missionary and relief organizations to spread their ideology. The Brotherhood members took control of the newly established Islamic Banks as directors, administrators, employees and legal advisors, which became a source of power for the Brotherhood.

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

The conservatism of at least some elements of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood was highlighted in a 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.

Somalia

Somalia's wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is known by the name Harakat Al-Islah or "Reform Movement". Nonetheless, the Brotherhood, as mentioned earlier, has inspired many Islamist organizations in Somalia. Muslim Brotherhood ideology reached Somalia in the 1960s, but Al-Islah movement was formed in 1978 and slowly grew in the 1980s. The organization structured itself loosely and was not openly visible on the political scene of Somali society. They chose to remain a secret movement fearing the repressive regime of Siad Barre. However, they emerged from secrecy when the regime collapsed in 1991 and started working openly thereafter. Most Somalis were surprised to see the new group they had never heard of, which was in the country since 1970s in secrecy.

The chairman of the organization is Dr. Ali Shiekh, who is also the President of Mogadishu University. During the 1990s, Al-Islah devoted much effort to humanitarian efforts and providing free basic social services. They are also known to have contributed to educating the Somali people. 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. In Somalia, they are known to be a peaceful organization that does not participate in any factional fighting and rejects the use of violence.

Today the group's membership includes urban professionals and students. According to a Crisis Group Report, Somalia’s Islamists, “Al-Islah organization is dominated by a highly educated urban elite whose professional, middle class status and extensive expatriate experiences are alien to most Somalis.” Although Al-Islah have been criticized by some hardcore Islamists who considered them to be influenced by imperialist western values, Al-Islah speaks of democratic peaceful Somalia. They promote women's rights, human rights, and other Western ideas, which they argue that these concepts originate from Islamic concepts. Al-Islah is gaining momentum in the Somali societies for their humanitarian work and moderate view of Islam.

Tunisia

Like their counterparts elsewhere in the Islamic world in general, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has influenced the Tunisia’s Islamists. One of the notable organization that was influenced and inspired by the Brotherhood is Al-Nahda (The Revival or Renaissance Party), which is Tunisia's major Islamist grouping. An Islamist named Rashid Ghannouchi founded the organization in 1981. While studying in Damascus and Paris, Rashid Ghannouchi embraced the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he disseminated on his return to Tunisia. Al Nahda members were allowed to stand in the 1989 election, where they captured around 14% of the votes, and were close to winning a majority in several urban areas. Others say that the real percentage attained by the Islamist candidates was 30-32%. However, the government quickly cracked down harshly, and banned the Nahda organization and imprisoned thousands of members of the organization. Their mouthpiece newspaper is Al-Fajr, and in Tunisia The Arabic language television station El Zeitouna is believed to be connected with Al Nahda movement. The Nahda usually distances itself as a branch from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Libya

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

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

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

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

Muslim Brotherhood in the West

United States

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

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

The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release as evidence of several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood In one of these documents, "Ikhwan in America", it is revealed that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as Special work by the Muslim Brotherhood), as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group).

Elsewhere

In the United Kingdom, the Muslim Association of Britain is the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Brotherhood in the Indian Ocean

Maldives

Adhalath Party (Justice Party (Maldives)) is the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Maldives. The head of the party is Dr. Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari. Their ideology is based on the books of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the party there can be found followers of Tablighi Jamaat, the Jahmiyyah, Shi'a, Mu'tazilah, Khawarij, modernists, and many others.

Footnotes

References

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

Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005.

  • "Egypt arrests 7 in Muslim Brotherhood clampdown",

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070124/wl_nm/egypt_brotherhood_arrests_dc

See also

External links

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