Review of the current threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated terrorist org/sation
Director EastMed Strategic Studies Institute, Athens
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB hence) was formed in the 20th century in Egypt by Hasan al-Baana, a teacher and imam. Born on October 14, 1906, in Al Mahmoudeya, a rural Nile Delta town in Al-Behaira Governate northwest of Cairo, Hassan al-Banna was the son of a local imam, who wrote books on Muslim traditions, and taught at the local Madrass, where Hassan later received his first lessons in Islam. Just like Hamas, al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad and ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood base much of their ideology on the teachings of several educators and philosophers who were influenced by Adolf Hitler. Such was al-Banna’s hero worship of the Nazi leader, he had Hitler’s autobiography and political anthology, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), translated into Arabic, changing the title to My Jihad.
The major theorist of the organization was Sayed Kotmp, also born in Egypt in 1906, and their political and religious offspring include Salah Saraya, Soki Mustafa, Ayman al-Zahaouri more recently, Necmettin Erbakan (ex President of Turkey), Mohammad Morsi (ex President of Egypt), Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi (ex leader of the Islamic State), Mohammed Badie (current leader of the Muslim Brotherhood), all of which are dead save Badie, who is serving a life sentence in Egypt. The summary of the Islamic ideology is contained within the oath of the MB organization: “The Quran is our constitution. Our prophet is our leader. And for God and Faith death is our utmost goal.” Naturally it refers to the death of all those who oppose their goals.
From the 1930ies the MB was organized and was divided into membership levels. The new recruits were the “assistants”, they were then promoted to “the related” which was the most numerous category, then the next step were the “active” members, to be followed by the “fighting” (Mujahedin). Within the order a special group called the Al-Tanzim al-Has operated, and its sole purpose was political assasinations. (Nikolaou K. “Brother Muslims, the cradle of Islamic armed violence” p.41 foll.)
During the second World War the MB developed very strong relations with the German Nazi party, and sought to actively undermine the Allied presence in Eastern Mediterranean. Al-Banna, the founder of MB was so obsessed with the Nazis, he also had copies of their anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer, a tabloid published by the infamous Jew hating Julius Streicher, adapted to suit the Arab world, with its despicable anti-Semitic cartoons.
Throughout his leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Banna closely adhered to Hitler’s stance of eliminating all those that stood in the way of his party’s progression, his belief being that by removing all liberal opponents, and those wanting to see reform and change, it would make it easier to unite Arab society. (al Arabiya newsite, 27 June 2018, author Tony Duheaume)
Along with the Nazi ideals that al-Banna incorporated into the Muslim Brotherhood, came an intense hatred of Jews, and a plan to eradicate all Jews in the Middle East. Αnother leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who ran its branch in Palestine was Haj Amin al-Husseini. Born in Ottoman Jerusalem in 1893, Haj Amin al-Husseini has become known by many as the father of Arab terrorism.Through his leadership of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, his infamous exploits aided in the creation of one of the most hideous political terror groups ever, one that blended Muslim beliefs with all of the vile ideologies created by the Nazis, spawning many groups that followed the same cause. With al-Husseini having lived in Palestine during the start of the First World War, he had sworn his allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, and had become an officer in the Ottoman Turkish army. After abandoning Jerusalem in late 1937, he became the local MB leader in Lebanon, later he moved to Germany where he was actively involved in the implementation of the Jewish Holocaust.
Muslim Brotherhood in the East
-Turkey has been deeply influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan—provides various forms of support to the Brotherhood, including granting asylum to wanted Brotherhood members and equipping them with satellite television and radio stations. Despite being charged in absentia by the Egyptian government, some Brotherhood fugitives have been allowed to openly congregate in Turkey and organize against the Egyptian government
Erdoğan’s relationship with the Brotherhood dates back to the 1970s, when he first met Brotherhood spokesman Kemal Al-Helbawy at a series of conferences organized by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Wahhabi-Salafist organization in Saudi Arabia that is believed to have funded Hamas and al-Qaeda. At the time, Erdoğan was the top advisor for Necmettin Erbakan, the leader of the short-lived Islamist National Order Party (MNP) in Turkey. Erbakan’s MNP—a nationalistic Islamist party that rejected Western influence—was banned in 1971 for violating Turkey’s constitutional principal of secularism.
Following the shutdown of Erbakan’s FP in 2001, Erdoğan and a group of his followers broke off to establish the AKP, a conservative political party that garnered support by promoting social services such as housing and health care
Analysts have also suggested that Turkey has supplied weapons and activists to the Muslim Brotherhood for its activities in Egypt. Turkish intelligence officer Irshad Hoz, for example, was arrested by authorities in Egypt in connection to the Brotherhood
The Turkish government has publicly remained supportive of the Brotherhood. After U.S. President Donald Trump announced in April 2019 that he is considering declaring the international Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, a spokesman for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party responded that such a move would hurt democratization and human rights across the Middle East while helping ISIS (which is a direct descendant of MB ideology). (CounterExtremismproject.com/content/muslim-brotherhood-Turkey).
In Turkey there is another very strong Islamic movement, that founded by cleric Fetullah Gulen, which is currently under fire from AKP, the party headed by current Turkish President Rejep Tajip Erdoan. Both Erdoan and Gülen represent slightly esoteric Sunni Muslim movements stemming from the same root, the Khalidi branch of the Naqshbandi Sufi order. As such, none of the deep theological divides in the Muslim world are at play. This is not the Sunni-Shi’a divide, nor is it the Salafi-Sufi animosity. It is not even the division between the modernists of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-Orthodox Takfiris. To a significant degree, it is simply a struggle for power. Yet there are subtle but profound differences between the two sides, which have implications for Turkey’s future.
The fortunes of the Gülen movement were revived after AKP came to power in 2002. A tactical alliance between the two Islamic movements saw the day. They shared a common target: to gain control over the state establishment, and the Gülen movement provided the cadres that the AKP lacked. Through a series of confrontations from 2007 through 2010, the AKP government managed to discredit, unseat, and in part incarcerate the republican establishment. Police officers, prosecutors, judges, and journalists aligned with the Gülen movement staged show trials based on fabricated evidence. The Gülen movement’s role could easily be inferred. By 2009, the purges had come to focus particularly on opponents not just of political Islam but of the Gülenists. The Erdoğan-Gülen conflict has dominated Turkish politics since 2012. It stands out by having been a battle for control within the Turkish state, which has left the country’s state institutions in ruins. The Gülen movement’s infiltration into state institutions has been far deeper than even its enemies alleged. Indeed, no one appears to have been aware of the full extent of their presence at high levels of the military.
This infiltration was made possible by none other than Erdoğan himself. The Gülen movement has worked toward this goal for the last four decades, but it was Erdoğan who opened the floodgates in 2003, only to try to slam them shut in 2013. Thus, for a decade, the Gülen movement had a free run to assert themselves in the state.
That leads to a third conclusion, a very relevant one going forward: Erdoğan and his AKP permitted Gülenist infiltration only because the orthodox Naqshbandi movement cannot provide the qualified manpower to assert control of state institutions. By necessity, Erdoğan has always been forced to rely on tactical or strategic allies with other forces to maintain his power. This explains why the conflict with Gülen necessitated the alliance with the army leadership; and why presently, Erdoğan is courting the nationalist and even secularist forces in the bureaucracy to shore up his position.
This suggests that Erdoğan will double down on his efforts to develop the imam-hatip schools under the TÜRGEV foundation run by his family, in order to build a new generation of loyal, Islamist cadres. But until that process is complete, which it will not be for another decade, Erdoğan’s position is considerably weaker than it looks. He has survived a near-lethal challenge, but his hold on the state remains tenuous. (Institute for Security & Development Policy/The Tale of the Split that Brought down Turkey)
The Turkish case provides a broader conclusion: it shows how the politicization of Islam unfailingly degenerates into a struggle for power between rival cults and sects. Whether this insight will strengthen those forces in Turkey, who plead for keeping religion and politics separate, remains to be seen. Actually, in Turkey currently there are three centers of power, the Army- old style Kemalists who loathe Islamic intervention in State affairs, and the two offshoots of the MB, notely the AKP and the Gulenists, who for the time being are staging a to the death battle on the surface, but there are still open channels of communication between them, as they still fear the old Kemal regime revival. Such a revival may even come with forceful ways, such as a possible coup-dEtat, quite likely as the power struggle persists in this country, especially in light of the problems in its economy.
The Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (i.e., the Brotherhood) is one of the largest Islamist parties in the country. Brotherhood members in Libya lead the country’s rogue Islamist government in Tripoli—known as the Government of National Salvation (GNS) The Brotherhood has also maintained strong ties to Islamist militias that once backed the former Islamist General National Council (GNC). Three of the Libya Dawn militias are directly allied with the Brotherhood: the 17 February Martyrs Brigade (17 Feb), the Misrata militias, and the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR).
The Libyan branch of the Brotherhood was established in Benghazi in 1949 by members of the Egyptian Brotherhood fleeing a government crackdown in Cairo. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi criminalized the Brotherhood after he came to power in Libya in 1969 During Gaddafi’s reign, some Brotherhood members who had fled Libya congregated in the United States to create a temporary Brotherhood group known as the “Islamic Group – Libya”.
Following the ousting of Gaddafi in 2011, the Brotherhood was quick to reestablish its presence in Libya. In March 2012, Brotherhood activist Mohamed Sowan formed the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), a political party that sought to establish a Libyan Islamist caliphate and which was reportedly modeled after the Egyptian Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). (Conterextremism.com/content/Muslim-brotherhood)
The JCP was one of the leading blocs involved in the creation of the GNC in Tripoli in August 2014.The GNC declared its alliance with a coalition of Islamist Libyan militias called Libya Dawn. According to reports, the mission of Libya Dawn is to defend the presence of political groups linked to the Brotherhood such as the JCP, block the success of the nationalist Libyan government, and promote political Islam. In September 2014, the Libya Dawn alliance seized control of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The GNC established its own self-styled governmental body, the Government of National Salvation (GNS). The former parliament in Tripoli, meanwhile, relocated to Tobruk and established the internationally recognized Libyan government. In May 2014, the Tobruk-based government’s House of Representatives (HoR) tasked General Khalifa Haftar with countering the Libya Dawn in Tripoli. Haftar launched Operation Dignity in an effort to quash the Libya Dawn coalition and other armed Islamist groups. Currently a civil war is raging between the two sides, the GNA relying heavily on open Turkish. Katari and other covert funding, while general Haftar relies on support from Egypt and other moderate Arab Nations.
MB parties remain very strong in these countries. In the case of Syria the MB party is the main core of the opposition to the Assad regime, the organization in Syria, after being outlawed and relegalized in 2011, essentially operates as a branch of the HAMAS terrorist organization.
MB fought with North Yemen in the NDF rebellion as Islamic front and is directly linked to Al Qaeda.
Despite having funded the MB for over a century, Saudi Arabia changed its stance towards the MB after the gulf War and currently has declared it a terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia pressured Kuwait into also declaring MB a terrorist organization.
Qatar backs MB financially, and is currently backing both the GNA Muslim Brotherhood forces in Libya, as well as Turkey who is supporting them with arms and expertise.
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN THE WEST
U.S. Muslim Brotherhood supporters “make up the U.S. Islamic community’s most organized force” by running hundreds of mosques and business ventures, promoting civic activities, and setting up American Islamic organizations to defend and promote Islam. In 1963, the U.S. chapter of Muslim Brotherhood was started by activists involved with the Muslim Student’s Association (MSA). U.S. supporters of the Brotherhood also started other organizations including: 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. In addition, according to An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America, the “Understanding of the Role of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America”, and a relatively benign goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America is identified as the following:
Establishing an effective and a stable Islamic movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic state wherever it is.
The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] 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 [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.
U.S. Congress attempts to pass legislation criminalizing the group, put forward by the 114th Congress, were defeated. The Bill, called the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015, was introduced to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). In it the bill states that the Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. If passed, the bill would have required the State Department to report to Congress within 60 days whether or not the group fits the criteria, and if it did not, to state which specific criteria it had not met. (www.govtrack.us)
Conservatives in the Congress believe that the group is a breeding ground for radical Islam. Previous attempts were made in the previous year by Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), but it failed largely due to her allegation that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s aide, had links to the organization. In April 2019, President Trump considered declaring the MB as a terrorist organization but it seems that the career diplomats in the State Department opinion was taken into consideration. Let us not forget that the whole “Arab spring” concept was heavily sponsored by Hillary Clinton who still holds great sway in the Dept. of State.
The US has not reversed the previous administration’s decision to allow the leader of the Gulenist movement Fetullah Gulen to remain safely in Pennsylvania. Gulen followers have been active in founding approximately 120 charter schools in 25 states. Although there is no formal networking of all the schools, collectively they form one of the largest collections of charter schools in America. The FBI has an ongoing investigation on 250 million taxpayer dollars being diverted to fund the worldwide Gulenist terror movement.
Open Society Foundation has been funding directly or indirectly both MB and Gulenists.
The Gulen movement is a major contributor to the US Democratic Party. In 2016, the Gulenists raised over 2 mil. USD for the Clinton Campaign.Among those who reportedly played key roles in the donation process by the Gülen movement to the Clinton campaign included founder of the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) Gökhan Özkök, chairman Recep Özkan, Turkish American Alliance (TAA) head Faruk Taban and TAA CEO Furkan Koşar, the agency said. It was revealed last year that TCC chairman Özkan donated $1million to Clinton, the biggest such legal amount of donation. He had also served as the financial head of a foundation created to support Clinton. (www.usatoday.com/story/who-fethullah-gulen)
ISIS supporters have responded to the racial tensions in the United States by comparing black and Muslim families and insinuating the oppression will spread to the Muslim community in more violent ways. As a result, online supporters suggest Muslims in America arm themselves against law enforcement. (State of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, www.hnhomelandsecurity.gov)
The Islamic Community of Germany (de: Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland e.V, IGD) being constituent and founding organisation of the MB umbrella organisation FIOE, the MB is active in Germany with the IGD as a proxy. IGD members take care to not publicly declare their affiliation to the MB. Germany also allows the political branch of the terrorist organization HAMAS to freely operate within its borders, and also allows the Gulenist movement to operate, Hayrettin Ozkul is its top man in Germany. Gulenist and MB operatives coordinate the recently arrived migrants from the Middle East and liaise with the local radical Left movements.
Greece a very limited Islamic population which lives in the NorthEast region of Thrace, and is very low-key in its political influence. Among Greek citizens there is no MB or Gulenist movement, but they are both very strong in the migrant populations which have arrived in the past few years as illegal immigrants in this country. Within the population of illegal immigrants, support for MB runs very high, and there is a complex system of intra-communication between the network of clandestine mosques which serve as meeting places for radicalized Muslims. Gulenists are earlier arrivals, and there is an estimated number of 3.500 active Gulenist members living in Athens and Thessaloniki. They operate under the direction of Murat Koc, who is responsible for Serbia. He is currently under investigation for various criminal activities in several countries. Recently, arrests have been made in Greece relating to Gulenist arms caches, including RPG’s, heavy automatic rifles, ect.
Gulenist groups have joined forces in Greece, as in Germany with radical leftist organisations, such as ANTIFA. They receive funding, salaries, food, housing from either MB owned NGO’s or from NGO’s related to “Open Society”. Unfortunately, NGO’s run the show in Greece insofar as illegal migrants are concerned, and all funding usually ends up in hands of recipients who have no connection to legitimate refugee status, in fact, many Muslim Brotherhood affiliate organization members are given preferential treatment and have been sheltered from prosecution. The ties of the Open Society Foundation of Geore Soros to systemic NGO’s is too great for the present and past governments of Greece to tackle, as they too have been infiltrated by Soros and have among their members persons who were key members of either the Open Society Foundation or key NGO’s, and as such are highly reluctant to act against the loss of National Sovereignty which is implied by letting the Leftist and Radicalized Muslim NGOs keep total control of the handling of the illegal immigration issue and response.
Greece has infuriated Turkish authorities with its continuing tacit support for Gulenist terrorists, and has managed to achieve the impossible: join all the factions in Turkey against her. The AKP, the Army and the Gulenists who side with the Army’s point of view even despite the fact that their members have found refuge in Greece.
After the Floyd incident and the Leftist attempt at a sociological coup within the United States, terrorist organizations, foreign and domestic, have shown a remarkable unity in anti-establishment actions, rhetoric, tactics and mostly organization. Anti US acts of agitation are rampant all around Europe (UK, France, Greece, Germany) as well as within US borders. Funding flows freely from the usual sources in order to destabilize the current US administration. China has joined forces in heavily criticizing the current administration on racial issues, despite the fact that China has one of the worst human rights records in the globe.
In order to counter the spread of these terrorist organisations the US should immediately declare the Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulenist organization and the ANTIFA movements as terrorist organizations, uncover their funding sources and prosecute members, organizers and contributors to these organizations to the fullest extent.
The benefits would be immediate and far-reaching for both the mainland US, but also for Europe, but mainly the Middle East and Africa.
If the MB were to be declared as a terrorist organization, there would be a rapid de-escalation of hostilities in several parts of the world, starting with Libya which could be easily brought to the Western school of thought, as Haftar’s allies, are simultaneously strong US allies in the region. Turkey would be most happy to hear that the offshoot of the MB (the Gulenists), the AKP is so intense on prosecuting, will also be named a terrorist organization, and the AKP can be brought back to line, being forced to completely sever its ties to the GNA, the Sudan conflict and could be persuaded to normalize its relations with Greece as well as reaffirm its original role as a NATO ally, severing its “summer love” with Russia, as well as its emerging role as a vital link in the “one belt, one road” scheme with China. As Gulen reaches the age where his successor must be named, his organization must be brought to an end, that is impossible as his political influence with the Democratic Party of the US grows day by day.
Lastly, if all three were to be designated as terrorists, the ANTIFA movement would lose critical “expertise”, as it will lose critical momentum which is currently building up, as this organization is rapidly joining forces with the MB and the Gulenists. Failure to act on all three, by not designating them as terrorist organizations will eventually lead to free exchange of tactics, operational assets and joint ventures, which will end up in events which will overshadow even the disaster of 9/11.
Athens, 14 June 2020