Has the Muslim Brotherhood Changed?

Apparently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes the Muslim Brotherhood is peaceful and committed to nonviolence. She said last week in Budapest: "We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence."   

To see if she is correct in her outreach, and In search of a kinder, gentler organization, let's examine the Brotherhood from its outset; its leadership; its chartered principles. Its founder Hassan al-Banna was born the son of a pious Imam and part time watch maker on October 14, 1906 in Cairo Egypt.  During the course of his 46 year life he would go on to have a profound effect on the Muslim world, an influence no less felt today

Influenced greatly by the religious teachings of his father, Shaykh Ahmad al-Banna, Hassan became deeply involved in politics at the early age of 12.  An astute student of Islam, he graduated State Teacher's Training Center in 1923 and was granted admittance into Dar al-Ulum college.  Later that year he came into contact with prominent Islamic scholars which helped shape his political, religious philosophy and would eventually lead to the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood five years hence. 

A disciple of both Muhammad Rashid Rida and Muhammad Abduh, al-Banna was likewise vexed by the weakness of Muslim societies in the face of Western colonialism.

 As did his mentors, al-Banna also believed the only way Islam could reverse its decline was to return to true religious purity.  To accomplish this he urged his followers to forgo all things Western and secular and become more proactive denouncing atheism, Christianity, and Judaism in particular.  Increasingly radical, in March of 1928, at the age of 22, al-Banna founded the Society of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Quite tellingly and seemingly overlooked by the present administration, the Brotherhood immediately adopted the motto: "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." 

Contrary to remarks made by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper on Thursday, Feb 10. The Muslim Brotherhood is not and never has been "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam." Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezb'allah, and a host of other Islamic terror groups are a direct outgrowth of the teachings of Hassan al Banna and the Brotherhood.  If Director Clapper did a bit more research before testifying so foolishly on Capitol Hill, he might have read the motto of this grandaddy of all terror organizations:  What the Director was referring to as he steadfastly refused to label the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, he alone knows.  In fact, there is not, and has never been a scintilla of secularization which can be attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

In his writings, al-Banna made it abundantly clear that freeing Egypt of Western secularism was not his final goal. He states unequivocally that his plan is to invade the Western heartland and, "struggle to overcome it until all the world shouts by the name of the Prophet and the teachings of Islam spread throughout the world....and all religion will be exclusively for Allah."

Most Americans are not aware of al-Banna but are quite familiar with the terrorist groups he spawned and the methods of those that adhere to his teachings.  Over the past decades many Westerners have become so inured to these atrocities that few take the time to ponder where the inspiration for these dastardly acts came from. They do not have to look past the teachings of Hassan al-Banna.  

Al-Banna's hateful rhetoric enlisted many followers during the 1930's in the hope of once again reviving the Caliphate that came crashing down following the defeat of the Ottomans at the conclusion of World War I.  His two most prominent, or should I say infamous adherents were Nazi allies Hajj Amin al-Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1930's, and Sayyib Qutb, a prolific writer that echoed al-Banna's anti-Semitic, anti-Western, abhorrent sentiments to a tee.

During World War II, both he and al-Husseni greatly expanded the Brotherhood by associating it with the Third Reich and its hatred of Jews.  From the outset, the Brotherhood began exchanging de facto ambassadors with the Nazis and joined them in covert operations against the Jews and the British. Where al-Husseni visited Hitler and organized SS Nazi divisions of Bosnian Muslims, al Banna provided Muslim translations of "Mein Kampf,and portrayed the Jew as a devil worshipping enemy of Allah. 

Throughout the late 1940's the Brotherhood kept up incessant violence and agitation throughout Egypt.  In one week alone 128 people were wounded during attacks mainly aimed against the British.  Al-Banna himself eventually met the fate he so wantonly wrought upon others.   On February 12, 1949 he was assassinated most likely by agents of the Egyptian monarchy, another object of his anger. 

Some may ask, Can't people and groups change? Possibly James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence is right by refusing to label the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.  Same for Secretary of State Clinton.  Maybe today's Brotherhood is breeding a bunch of good guys. 

Muslim Brotherhood party leader Mohamed Ghanem said on Iranian TV that Egypt should stop selling gas to Israel and prepare the Egyptian army for a war with the Jewish State 

In 2008 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi Akef in 2008 declared that that violence against civilians of the kind practiced by Osama Bin Laden is justified against "occupiers"(http://www.memritv.org/report/en/)2795.htm#_

 In June 2010 Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Essam El Erian announced that the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip should be opened.....Will Egypt soon cease preventing weapons from Iran flowing freely into Gaza?

In 2008 Muslim Brotherhood Executive Bureau member Mahmoud Ghozlan insisted that"women and non-Muslims don't have the right to lead or govern Muslim states." 

In a 2008 interview by Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi Akef insisted that Copts could not lead Islamic states such as Egypt.

In a 2008 interview Muslim Brotherhood Executive Bureau member Mahmoud Ghozlan emphasized that homosexuality needed to be outlawed.

For those that agree with the Obama Administration's outreach and legitimization of the Muslim Brotherhood, here's some more good news.   Yussuf al-Qaradawi, one of Islam's most controversial, anti-Semitic clerics returned to Egypt after years of exile in Qatar.  Not back fifteen minutes, he immediately professed to tens of thousands in Tahrir Square that the military should immediately "open Egypt's border crossing with Gaza."  Immediately, it was a done deal.  

As September parliamentary elections loom, and with greater establishment and resources, the Muslim Brotherhood should pick up considerable power within the government.  No doubt we'll soon be hearing a lot more from Yussuf al-Qaradawi.  And no doubt, not soon after, we'll know if the Brotherhood has indeed changed or if they are the same today as they were back then.

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