November 24, 2006
The Progress of Hassan al-Banna's Vision
By Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, whose disciples are now celebrating his birth 100 years ago, would have been ecstatic to witness their progress in implementing his plans to compel the world to submit to Islam. Radical Islam have made inroads in most countries with a Muslim majority, reached supremacy in several countries and its influence is steadily growing in western nations as well. Petrodollars fuel this progress. Evidence of Islam's growing influence threatens every aspect of social, political and economic principles in the West. To shield his identity, a key prosecution witness in a Hamas financing trial, was forced to testify in disguise, under a "one name alias," and under heavy protection. The defendants are Bridgeview, Il. grocer Muhammad Salah, 53, and former professor Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 48 from Alexandria, Va., alleged Hamas members charged with racketeering and bankrolling Palestinian terrorists. Salah, a Hamas member, was arrested in January 1993, for funding Hamas, and attempting to "take over the military wing of Hamas." He served 4.5 year in Israeli prison. According to his 2004 Federal indictment, after returning to Chicago and for the next 15 years, he continued to recruit new Hamas members, raised money and arranged cash deliveries to Hamas terrorists. Salah was merely following the Charter of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. They adhere to the Shari'a-law, which requires Jihad war against infidels. According to Article Eight of the Hamas Charter: "Jihad its [Hamas] path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief." Article Five declares:...
"the Movement adopts Islam as its way of life... the Qur'an its Constitution. Its special dimension extends wherever on earth there are Muslims...thus, it penetrates to the deepest reaches of the land and to the highest spheres of Heavens." Indeed, the everyday consequences of adopting the Muslim Brotherhood's "Islam as a way of life," are felt in the U.S. and Western civilization in many ways. Radicalizing Islam is apparently relatively easy, because Islam, unlike other religions mandates all aspects of life--government and economic laws, as well as personal behavior. Those promoting global Islamic rule -- devoid of basic human rights -- realize that the first step is to force all Muslims everywhere to submit to their interpretation of the Quran. The Muslim Brotherhood, or Al-Ikhwan, lead and direct the Jihad against the West. They believe "that ruling a government should be the step which follows preparing (most of) the society for accepting the Islamic laws." The organization operates in more than 70 countries, preparing them for Islamization through
"spreading the Islamic culture...[by] possible media means, mosques, and da'wa work in public organizations such as syndicates, parliaments, student unions." Moreover, they instruct, "that, distinct [M]uslims should be trained to administer political, economical, social, and student organizations efficiently (and Islamically), as another preparation step."Saudi Arabia welcomed the MB when Egypt expelled them in 1954. The sympathetic King Sa'ud even funded their 1961 establishment of Medina's Islamic University. Moreover, the Saudis supply the funding with which the MB propagates Islam worldwide. In an interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, an international Arab daily on Dec. 11, 2005, Muslim Brotherhood international leader, Mohammad Mahdi Akef stated,
"the Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement whose members cooperate with each other throughout the world, based on the same religious worldview - the spread of Islam, until it rules the world." Most Muslim organizations in the West originated with the MB. Yet, to deceive the non-Muslims they deny the affiliation. This deception -- in Arabic -Taqiyya, or Kitman -- is designed to further Islam. The MB led and Saudi-financed Islamization activities effect a wide range of affairs, from daily minutia to public policy. Consider these examples: • On June 6, 2006, a Minnesota Muslim American Society (MAS) fatwa ordered Muslim drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport not to transport passengers carrying alcohol, to avoid "cooperating in sin." Most Muslim drivers there originate from Somalia, where carrying alcohol in a bag was never a problem. But by August 2006, some 77 passengers per month, carrying duty-free bags containing sealed alcoholic drinks were refused by Muslim cab drivers complying with the MAS fatwa. At first, Minnesota's Metropolitan Airports Commission considered their demands and offered two-tier taxi system; one for alcohol carriers and a second for the others. Only public outrage forced the Commission to kill their proposal. What is MAS? It was established by the Muslim Brotherhood, and is widely believed to receive Saudi funds. MAS Minnesota Chapter's website cites its roots in the Islamic revival movement, which seeks "to reestablish Islam as a total way of life." Chapter vice president Hassan Mohamud seeks total Muslim compliance with Shari'a--Islamic law. He claims there are
"two conflicting systems...[,] two ways of life" in the U.S. He therefore hoped that a two-tier Minnesota airport taxi system would establish a "national [U.S.] model for accommodating Islam...." But the executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, Omar Jamal, says that MAS has "a political agenda, and they want to hijack the faith of Islam." According to Jamal, MAS is
"looking for an issue to get Muslims to rally behind to drive a wedge in the community between Muslims and non-Muslims."• In early October, two British Muslim minicab drivers refused to transport blind passengers with guide dogs, on religious grounds, claiming the dogs are "dirty." A large number of London's minicab drivers are Pakistani Muslims who never refused passengers before. However, this new development followed the September 8, 2006, Saudi religious police (Muttawa) ban on dogs and cats in Mecca and Jeddah. • Also in early October, in Melbourne, Australia, more than 20 taxi passengers -- dog-guided blind people, and those carrying sealed bottles of alcohol--filed official complaints with Victorian Taxi Directorate. Many more expressed anger for being the objects of Muslim drivers' discrimination. In response, Victorian Taxi Association spokesman Neil Sach asked the mufti of Melbourne to issue a fatwa allowing Muslim taxi-drivers to carry guiding dogs. Sach's further reaction was most telling,
"Muslims are good people and the community has to realise that the days of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant are well and truly over." • At first the protest of Muslims against Jyllands Posten newspaper cartoons of Mohammad, published on Sept. 30, 2005, was limited to the local Danish community. But after the Saudis recalled their ambassador from Copenhagen in January 2006, and Mecca's Grand Mosque imam, Sheikh Osama Khayyat, http://www.nationalreview.com/symposium/symposium200602070754.asp applauded the government action on Saudi TV, worldwide Muslim riots began in earnest. Fanning the flames, the imam at Medina's Prophet's Mosque, Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaify, urged "governments, organizations and scholars in the Islamic world" to protest "the sacrilegious attacks on the Prophet." • The Saudis are also at the forefront of the internationalization of Islamic banking. In 1992, following pressure from religious leaders, King Fahd established the consultative council, which aligned Saudi laws with Shar'ia, and expanded Islamic banks. With the exponential growth in Saudi oil wealth and the growing influence of petrodollars in Western markets, the Saudis also successfully promoted interest in Islamic banking worldwide. This development has introduced Shari'a into the otherwise entirely secular U.S. financial laws, thereby effectively establishing a two-tier banking system. Moreover, since Islamic law prohibits interest payments, Islamic banks instead effectively pay and collect interest as part of the "principal." By its very nature, this practice enables Islamic banks and their clients to more easily transfer money under regulators' radar. "Islamic banking, itself [is] an invented tradition," writes Timur Kuran, in Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism." Even the concept of Islamic banking is a product of the Twentieth Century." The Islamic banks emerged in the 1920s in Egypt, not coincidentally, simultaneously with the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Ceding Islamists a monopoly over the interpretation of Islam's economic requirements, [public reticence to question it] has enabled them to determine which economic behaviors and approaches are properly Islamic and which are to be resisted as dangerously unIslamic," Kuran contends.The "success" of Islamic economics is evident in the 56 economically underdeveloped "predominantly Muslim countries." But Islamic governments managed according to Shari'a, not surprisingly, blame their economic failures on "foreign" actors. Nevertheless, their petrodollars now fuel demand for Islamic banking. • With Saudi financing, Islamic influence peddlers execute an intensive assault on America's educational system, largely through the MB affiliated Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR). In 2002, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world's 8th richest man, according to Forbes, and a major Saudi "Benefactor", gave CAIR $500,000 to launch efforts to stock American libraries with books and tapes about Islam. In the best MB tradition, CAIR's website posts instructions on how "to assist in coordinating the project, performing various marketing and management functions." • The Saudis also vigorously pursue cultural exchange programs to influence American public school teachers, of kindergarten through high school. In Nov. 2006, the Institute of International Education announced its Educators to Saudi Arabia Program, funded by Aramco Services, a 14-day trip for 25 full-time teachers and media librarians. The program seeks to facilitate "greater awareness and understanding" of Saudi Arabia "in U.S. primary and secondary schools and communities." On their return to the U.S., each participant must implement an "interdisciplinary impact plan." After 9/11, Prince Faisal F. Al Saud established the Saudi Global Exchange (SGE)
"to advocate for personal, grassroots, public diplomacy" and to "promote understanding through communication." Since 2001, the SGE held more than 1,000 events in the U.S.--and sponsored at least100 trips to Saudi Arabia by academics, professionals and citizens, including a woman whose mother was murdered on 9/11. Participants then generated "international academic research, newspaper articles [,] media interviews" and propaganda-based presentations. The Saudi-linked Council on Islamic Education (CIE) founder and director, Shabbir Mansuri, has declared a "bloodless" revolution to introduce Islam in U.S. classrooms, writes Gilbert Sewell, American Textbook Council director at Columbia University. The CIE obtained 501(c) 3 nonprofit status in 2003. Posing as a "resource center," the Fountain Valley, California-based CIE is "a political advocacy organization," which since 1990 has both censored and provided textbook content on Islam, while injecting Islamic education into U.S. public schools. The CIE "staged displays of Muslim prayer for television cameras at California textbook hearings." It also "warned scholars and public officials who do not sympathize with its requests that they will be perceived as racists, reactionaries, and enemies of Islam." To proselytize Islam, the CIE's Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools successfully introduced religious instruction into public schools. Indeed, with CIE helped develop all state and national teaching "standards" on religion. The CIE represents Islam according to its own specifications, by providing curriculum guides, http://www.cie.org/pdfs/lp_Legacy01-TeachersGuide.pdf classroom "resources," speakers, articles --and encourages all students to celebrate Muslim holidays. Its writer is often "independent scholar" Susan L. Douglass, who according to investigative reporter Paul Sperry, is a "devout Muslim activist on the Saudi government payroll" and former teacher at the Alexandria, Va. Islamic Saudi Academy, where her husband still instructs. Saudi Arabia also invests directly in propagating Islam in the West. Saudi "contributions" to U.S. academic institutions - $20 Million each to Harvard, and Georgetown Universities, to name just a few, come with strings attached. They are intended to compromise what is supposed to be objective academic study of the Middle East. The Saudi millions, and the promise of more, encourage recipient institutions to appoint teachers and admit students who favor the Arab/Muslim political agenda. • In 2002 the Brown University Institute for Elementary and Secondary Education (IESE), partnered with the King Faisal High School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to create more tolerance and understanding among its students towards "values of life in Riyadh, [and] Islamic beliefs and traditions." • In September 2006, a new educational exchange program was signed by President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah. This new program will bring 15,000 Saudi students--all on Saudi scholarship--to American universities by December 2006. This is an astonishing increase of 394 percent over the academic year 2004/2005, when only 3,035 Saudi students were registered in U.S. universities. Is it possible that these students are radical troublemakers the Saudis want out of their country? Communications Among the major vehicles the Islamists use to proliferate the Islamic propaganda are Television, radio and internet communications via European satellites. Al Jazeera, which is the major venue for bin Laden's messages, "is little understood, and frequently misunderstood, in the West, " claims Dave Marash, AJE's American co-anchor. Broadcasting in English on satellite, will capture more viewers for AJE than their Arabic programs, and also greatly expand the reach of their propaganda. The Arab League agenda is spread globally in Arabic, through Arabsat, which owns the satellite communications, providing radio, TV and internet services. Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is its largest shareholder. The company provides services to Hamas and Hizballah television, radio and internet. Until a few months ago, Arabsat's website posted an annual report and even listed the Board of Directors. But in the best opaque Saudi tradition, that information is no longer available to the public. Then, there is the internet propaganda. On October 8, 2006, Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs' Spokesman Khaled Al-Mushawwah announced that by December 2006, its "Al-Sakinah Campaign" will launch a "very big" counter-extremist website. The English-Arabic site, now under design, will begin
"fighting extremist and deviant ideology, to correct [aberrant] views, and to explain the position of Shari'a on questions like terrorist activity and takfir,"Al-Mushawwah stated, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute translation from Arabic. However, the website chief's stated objective matches those of the Saudi government and the MB --to spread Islam and Shari'a law worldwide. As Al-Mushawwah said, "The site aims to take part in proper [Islamic] da'wa [proselytizing] and to spread the correct views regarding Islam...," and of course, Islam itself. The site will thus include an extensive audio and video clip library, 10,000 book and study pages, and articles and fatwas (religious rulings) on "various controversial issues," including "the presence of infidels on the Arabian Peninsula." Islamist Charities To safeguard their own regime, the Saudis initiated anti-extremist efforts back in 1994. The late King Fahd established the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, then headed by his brother Prince Sultan, to oversee his ban on donations to illicit, presumably unIslamic, charities. The West however, misinterpreted this. In 2004, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) arm of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), "devoted to combating money laundering and terrorist financing," found Saudi Arabia "compliant or largely complaint" with international standards. Not exactly. "Troubling reports continue to question Saudi Arabia's efforts to curb terrorist financing," said Senator Russ Feingold on Nov. 8, 2005.
"Saudi officials have yet to clearly separate themselves from radical Islamic charities that... manipulate misperceptions of the U.S. and...promote violence."Indeed, according to the Council of Foreign Relations,
"Saudi Arabia's decision to designate wealthy global Islamic institutions based in the kingdom--such as the Muslim World League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the International Islamic Relief Organization--as "multilateral organizations,"(emphasis added) rather than "charities."" A good illustration of the Saudi propensity for deception. The Saudi move to re-brand "charities" as "non-government organizations" (NGOs) seems designed to exempt them from increased, post-9/11 U.S. and international financial scrutiny. Unfortunately, it's working. At least two Saudi government officials--Riyadh Governor Prince Salman and Minister of Defense Prince Sultan--sponsor the so-called NGO, "Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina." which evidence detailed in the 9/11 victims lawsuits shows,
"has long acted as a fully integrated component of al-Qaeda's logistical and financial support infrastructure." Moreover, the lawsuits detail that, "the Sept. 11 attacks were a 'direct, intended and foreseeable product of [the High Commission's] participation in al-Qaeda's jihadist campaign.'" Princes Salman and Sultan are also affiliated with another "NGO," the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which "had been involved in terror plans and plots and had purposely directed its activities against the United States." The Princes have also been affiliated with the Saudi Charity al- Haramain, whose U.S. branches were shut down. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in September 2005 that U.S. agencies have been unable to determine the extent of Saudi Arabia's domestic and international cooperation. But the most critical GAO discovery was buried in a footnote. It reads:
"the distinction between the [Saudi] government's support and funding, versus that provided by entities and individuals, especially in the case of Saudi charities' alleged activities, is not always clear." The U.S. Treasury Department is obligated to monitor funders of terrorism. But the GAO reports that Treasury does not fulfill its duty. It
"does not identify, monitor, or counter the support and funding or the global propagation of Islamic extremism as it relates to an ideology." This extremist ideology, according to the GAO,
"denies the legitimacy of non-believers and practitioners of other forms of Islam, and that explicitly promotes hatred, intolerance, and violence..."Indeed, the propagation of this ideology, known as "Da'wa," is an integral part of Islamic institutions in the West. Saudi officials, for their part, naturally obfuscate the kingdom's ties to terrorism.
"Saudi Arabia now has in place world-class laws and regulations to combat terror financing," Prince Turki said a week after the November 2005 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He faults American policymakers for their hearings to determine Saudi accountability for terror financing. After the November 2005 hearing, the Prince complained that such events
"do not contribute to a spirit of cooperation and only serve to reinforce negative misconceptions and half-truths."Another "NGO" is the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY). On its British website it claims to be an independent NGO, and is recognized as such by the United Nations. Yet, WAMY supports one key Saudi foreign policy--promoting Islam worldwide--London-based Saudi Strategies analyst Simon Henderson told a Senate Judiciary terrorism subcommittee on Sept. 10, 2003. According to Henderson, Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh Al-Asheikh is also WAMY president. Until his death in 2002, Manea bin Hamad al-Juhani, a royal appointee to the central government advisory body, the Saudi consultative council, was WAMY's secretary-general. WAMY's former U.S. treasurer was Osama bin Laden's brother, Abdullah. And Saudi Arabia's official state Information Resource website acknowledges WAMY's worldwide responsibility--through offices in 55 countries and associate memberships in 500 youth organizations--to build mosques and Islamic centers. In October 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Rabita Trust, a Pakistani NGO as a foreign terrorist organization. On March 20 2002, Treasury also raided the Falls Church, Va. offices of another "NGO"--Rabita's Saudi parent, the Muslim World League (MWL). The government froze Rabita Trust's assets, after showing that its associates "provided financial and logistical support to al Qaeda." Founded in Saudi Arabia, in 1962, MWL employed many exiled Muslim Brotherhood members to
"advance Islamic unity and solidarity, provide financial assistance for Islamic education, medical care and relief work." All Saudi charities are and have always been controlled by the King. Through them, the Saudis are said to fund 90% of the mosques and Islamic schools in the world, readying the foot soldiers of Jihad. These Saudi charities continue to operate under the guise of "multilateral organizations," despite the kingdom's many post-9/11 statements about controlling terrorism and extremism. "Any attack on innocent people is unlawful and contrary to Shariah," the imam of Mecca's Grand Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdullah AlSubail, told the Saudi Press Agency on Dec. 4, 2001. However, the Shari'a prohibits such attacks only against Muslims and those non-Muslims who submit to the Shari'a law (dhimmis). American legislators, however, have grown impatient with Saudi spin. Senator Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) stated at the November 8, 2005 hearing,
"Saudi Arabia needs to understand that we expect it to be a helpful ally in the war against terrorism and that there will be serious consequences for the U.S.-Saudi relationship if it is not." In view of the Saudis' continuing financial support for the U.S.-banned Hamas government, it is time for the Democratic-lead congress to spell out those consequences. But safeguards against the Saudis are not enough. Congress should preempt Islamist efforts to leverage U.S. democracy to advance Shari'a law. In addition, the faster the U.S. develops alternative energy sources, the faster it can become independent of Middle Eastern oil and the fewer petrodollars will be available to corrupt U.S. and other democracies, thus rendering Hassan al-Banna's vision of an Islamic empire less plausible.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed--and How to Stop It, Director of American Center for Democracy (ACD) and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Alyssa A. Lappen is a senior fellow at the ACD.