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Why the Muslim Brotherhood Matters to You

I’ve proposed here that I believe Americans’ lack of familiarity with the Muslim Brotherhood, its aims and its reach is a national security emergency. Without understanding exactly what the Brotherhood is and which figures and groups are associated with it, American citizens can’t properly read between the lines of many significant news stories. They can’t recognize what certain events–bland perhaps on the surface–signify, and cannot properly appreciate the ramifications of what are now major debates in US foreign policy, such as whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be “engaged” in Syria, or “brought into the political process” in Egypt.

They don’t grasp what it means that groups associated with the Brotherhood  in Europe and America have come to define the parameters of the West’s debate about its relationship with Islam, that Brotherhood groups advise the White House and the media about “What Muslims think” and what we in turn must think of Muslims, while Muslims of diametrically different views–who are horrified by the Muslim Brotherhood–have been marginalized from this debate to the point that many doubt their very existence. 

Without understanding the history of the Brotherhood and the ideology of its seminal thinkers, it is too easy to dismiss as wingnut paranoids those who are properly near-hysterical about the prominent role of politicians and lobbyists with Muslim Brotherhood connections in America–as, for example, Andrew Sullivan does here. 

The idea of a sinister Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy sounds on the face of it to Americans, who don’t know this history, like delusional babbling about fluoride in the water. Except, as I hope I’ve demonstrated to your satisfaction, it isn’t. This really is a powerful, radical political movement that seeks to bring into being throughout the globe a kind of society none of us would wish to live in, and which has had, particularly thanks to  a firehose of Saudi financial support, success in doing so beyond its founders’ wildest hopes. 

I’ve made the case that the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, Qaradawi, is a particularly vile figure. What I’ve noted about him should be well-known by every American of voting age, just as it is well-known by every American that Osama bin Laden is a vile figure. Qaradawi is not the whole of the story, but he’s enough of the story that his name should be politically radioactive. His name and face should be instantly recognizable–part of our pop-culture discourse, synonymous with “something creepy, dangerous and repulsive.” He should be the subject of jokes on late-night comedy shows. If photos turn up in the news showing one of our allies or political advisors with his arm around Qaradawi, it should have the psychological effect of seeing the subject of that photo in full Nazi regalia. Yet how many Americans would even recognize his face? Not many, I suspect.

Herewith a Qaradawi photo gallery. Forward these around, and draw your own conclusions about men who shake his hand, embrace him, share a podium with him, and give him awards.Exhibit A: a little love-fest between Qaradawi and one of the West’s favorite moderates, Anwar Ibrahim. Ibrahim co-founded the IIIT, a Brotherhood front organization in the United States. I don’t read Malay, but I’m handy with Google Translate. Anwar seems to have found this meeting with Qaradawi most engaging:

Assertiveness he emitted when talking about the greedy policies of President Bush to attack and conquer weaker nations. He also voiced the call for a new administration led by President Obama to focus on combating poverty and providing education.

However Sheikh Yusuf explains the establishment of Ittihad Ulama ‘(Association of Scholars’ World), which he led on the administration of President Obama to ensure the availability of a dialogue with American conditions to stop the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as justice of the Palestinian people.

He continued to encourage me to continue efforts to strengthen international collaboration and the establishment of the firm explains.

I doubt much is getting lost in translation. “We are convinced,” write prominent fools Paul Wolfowitz and Al Gore, that Anwar “is committed to the values of pluralism, tolerance and freedom that are needed for Malaysia to flourish.” If I am dubious, I shall, predictably, be charged with Islamophobia–a word invented by the IIIT to meet just such a contingency.

livingstone-qaradawi.jpgHere we have the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and Qaradawi in a moist embrace. Very much in love, those two! Such a photo should mean eternal social ostracism for Livingstone among his crowd, shouldn’t it? That’s a proud man of the Left, there, with his tongue practically down the throat of a man who would see homosexuals stoned.

How does this add up? How did we get here?

There is an answer to that question. It’s not rhetorical. We got here through the Brotherhood and its associated organizations. Here are the names of a few groups that should ring everyone’s Qaradawi-bells: He’s the head of them all, or a trustee, or somehow closely associated with them: 

President—The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), Dublin, IrelandPresident—Union of Good (an umbrella group of charities that includes Turkey’s IHH)Founder and President—IslamOnline.com (perhaps the most popular Islamist web site on the Internet, and goodness–they’ve got a branch in Washington DC, in the National Press Building! Right next to the National Press Club!) Chairman (in absentia)—Board of Trustees of Islamic American UniversityFaculty member—Islamic American University (IAU)Founder and president—International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), Dublin, IrelandTrustee/Teacher—Muslim American Society (MAS)Trustee/Teacher—Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)Board of Advisors—Institute for Islamic Political Thought in the UKDean—Islamic Department at the Faculties of Shariah and Education in QatarChairman—Islamic Scientific Councils of Algerian Universities and Institutions Affiliations with Shariah FinanceChairman—Shariah Advisory board of Bank Al-Taqwa, a Nassau- Bahamas registered Islamic bank which was declared a designated terrorist entity by the US Department of the Treasury in 2001 and closed downChairman—Shariah Advisory Board, Qatar Islamic BankChairman—Shariah Advisory Board, Qatar International Islamic BankMember—Shariah Advisory Board, First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain.

Sultan-three-terror-sheikhs2.jpgOh, it goes on, and on, and on, it’s too tiring to list them all. It just goes on and on. It’s not some crazy conspiracy theory–it’s a reality that no one concerned is even trying much to hide. These are groups associated–proudly, openly, demonstrably, not in fantasy–with the Muslim Brotherhood. Should such groups be advising the White House, invited to it at all, ever, or given implied authority by journalists to speak on behalf of the rest of America’s Muslims? 

To the right, Qaradawi with Barrie Osborne, the producer of the Matrix. They’re working together to make a movie about Islam, financed lavishly by the Qataris. 

qaradawi-barrie-osborne-al-noor-movie-muhammad.jpgWouldn’t you think right-thinking men and women in Hollywood would wish to run from this association? To worry about their reputations if their association with Qaradawi was made public? No! Because no one knows who Qaradawi is and no one, apparently, cares.

Does Hollywood realize what Qaradawi thinks of them? Can’t anyone there read? Surely they know how to watch a video, if nothing else? 

It’s almost funny, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what they think, over there in Hollywood–that this is a hilarious parody. That this Qaradawi fellow is a comic genius. 

Barrie Osborne, please, believe me: You are the dangerous purveyor of filth he’s talking about. That’s not comedy. He’s serious. He is deadly, deadly serious. 

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More By Claire Berlinski:

On the Origins of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood Roundup

Moderate Muslim Watch: How the Term “Islamophobia” Got Shoved Down Your Throat

  1. Lady Kurobara

    Oh, God…

    Nothing like watching a homely old goat with a beard and a turban expound upon the evils of female “self-abuse.”

    *GAG*

    In my case, Claire, you are preaching to the choir.  Even before I joined Ricochet, I was well-aware of the Muslim Brotherhood (and their historical association with Nazism).  I agree with every rotten thing you say about them.

    But it does little good simply to share this information with the rank-and-file faithful.  The issue needs big publicity.  It needs (and deserves) a week-long TV series, five one-hour shows documenting the history and current organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Give Glenn Beck a call.  He did a good job exposing the White House Czar Scandal. 

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

     

    That’s a proud man of the Left, there, with his tongue practically down the throat of a man who would see homosexuals stoned.

    You are starting to sound an awful lot like me, Claire.

  2. nordman

    I agree with Lady Kurobara, You are most likely preaching to the choir in this forum.  

    The problem with the Muslim Brotherhood  is obvious to anyone with open eyes.  America’s problem lies in an education system  and pop culture that teaches willful blindness in the name of  multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance.  Speaking truth  or even asking honest questions  brings cries of  ‘Blasphemy!’  and   ‘Heretic!’  from the High Priests of Political Correctness   in the media,   government, and academia.   

    Let’s not give CAIR a free pass here, either.  They have  much higher visibility yet still  seem to do a pretty good job gaming  the system despite their rather obvious duplicity.

  3. Sisyphus

    Claire: I am going to differ with Lady Kurobara and nordman here. Even if a majority of Ricos are with you in sentiment, this is a case that needs to be meticulously made and tested and developed for articulation to a larger audience. That is not what I do for a living, but I have seen the need for Americans to delve this topic for thirty years.

    My brief exposure to Islamists 30 years ago convinced me in those Cold War days that we were missing something almost as dangerous. I started to see the local Saudi School controversies through new eyes.

    As I have come over the years to understand the cultural differences and Middle Eastern conflict models, I realized that Americans would be very slow to recognize the threat. The multiculti suicide Left slowest of all. I was horrified when Bush picked CAIR to train the FBI on Muslim sensitivity, and then when the execrable Ibrahim Hooper became a mainstay of the local talk radio circuit. 

    The Tea Party is all about restoring the connection between the voters and the elected, and severing the relationship between the elites and the forces they sell our favor to.

  4. Douglas Pologe

    I honestly believe that if most Americans were to read this article carefully, from start to finish, they really wouldn’t be any more concerned at the end than they were at the start. Including Hollywood producers.

  5. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Douglas Pologe: I honestly believe that if most Americans were to read this article carefully, from start to finish, they really wouldn’t be any more concerned at the end than they were at the start. Including Hollywood producers. · Jan 12 at 5:39am

    Why not? Where’s the stumbling block? 

  6. Kennedy Smith

     The European Council for Fatwa and Research sounds like a swell bunch of guys to me.  Nothing to see here.

    Don’t know much about the Matrix guy (Rob’s portfolio, obviously), but if he’s one of the Oliver Stone types, he could learn all this stuff and then meet with the guy and say the West is demonizing him for purposes of imperialism.

  7. nordman

    Andrew McCarthy’s book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America’ should probably be mentioned somewhere in this thread.

    So there it is.

  8. liberal jim

    Thank you for your articles.  Though I was in no danger of mistaking the Brotherhood for the Boy scouts your info has proven enlightening.   I do not think however this issue is not a political hot topic because of lack of knowledge.  The Brotherhood is clearly bigoted, sexist, violent, anti- democratic, opposed to human rights, and anti-Semitic.   Why is the right so afraid of labeling them as such and not castigating the left for aligning themselves with these thugs?  I understand the left.  They view them as oppressed and therefore incapable of evil and/or not culpable for it.  This pervasive attitude on the left is based on some ill-conceived sense of fairness.  Is the right simply revealing its lack of courage?

  9. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    liberal jim:  Why is the right so afraid of labeling them as such and not castigating the left for aligning themselves with these thugs?  I understand the left.  They view them as oppressed and therefore incapable of evil and/or not culpable for it.  This pervasive attitude on the left is based on some ill-conceived sense of fairness.  Is the right simply revealing its lack of courage? · Jan 12 at 6:32am

    There are two obstacles. First, Saudi money. It comes with strings attached, and universities and colleges that would never take right-wing money with strings attached compete for that money. As a consequence, in the academy and in the mainstream press (which is increasingly an extension of our universities), it is anathema to address this question. To this, one can add that the oil industry tends to be tied to the Saudis and the influence of the oil industry on the right is considerable. It is no accident that the Bush administration snuggled up to CAIR. Second, Americans, including our fellow conservatives, know next to nothing about Islam.

  10. Sisyphus

     

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

     …

     Why not? Where’s the stumbling block?  · Jan 12 at 5:54am

    The arguments from my Lefty friends are that Islamists are too stupid to be a threat. That their bumbling proves this point, as with the first Twin Towers bombing, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and the Times Square bomber. The more detached from reality will also speak of passive or active complicity by the Bush White House in 9/11 and, of course, Mossad.

    The most extreme case I personally encountered is a denier in the bowels of the military who “knows” that no aircraft wreckage was found because there were no planes involved, just explosives set by agents acting under orders of the Bush White House. The films are all faked, you can tell because the lighting is off, and the shadows too. Bush invented the provocation as a casus belli to punish Saddam Hussein for attempting to assassinate H.W. Our country is in safe hands.

    The case you are building here is important Claire, the evidence is all around that there are very few of our public institutions that have not been suborned and compromised in some way.

  11. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    Third, most Muslim countries are despotism of one sort or another; and, being on the outs, the Muslim Brotherhood and its associated organizations agitate in favor of free elections — which we tend to find attractive.

    Claire would be doing a major public service were she to pull together what she has written here, flesh it out a bit by adding material on the Brotherhood’s Saudi support and on the various institutes pushing the Saudi line in our universities, and publish it in The New York Times Magazine, the Review section of the weekend Wall Street Journal, or, failing that, City Journal, Commentary, The American Thinker, The Weekly Standard –some outlet where it will be noticed and will remain accessible. What is at the moment arcane knowledge should be something everyone is aware of.

  12. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    liberal jim:   I do not think however this issue is not a political hot topic because of lack of knowledge.  The Brotherhood is clearly bigoted, sexist, violent, anti- democratic, opposed to human rights, and anti-Semitic.   Why is the right so afraid of labeling them as such and not castigating the left for aligning themselves with these thugs?

    I respectfully disagree. I think there is a lack of knowledge.

    Not so much lack of knowledge about the bad things the Muslim Brotherhood stands for, as lack of knowledge about how the Muslim Brotherhood operates, who it collaborates with, and all the fronts it may use. This knowledge is just as important for resisting them as knowledge of their badness is.

    Many of us, I’m sure, already keep track of too many other things to have room left over for internalizing the modus operandi of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a relief to have Claire do this for us and to be able to use her as a reference.

  13. Douglas Pologe
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Douglas Pologe: I honestly believe that if most Americans were to read this article carefully, from start to finish, they really wouldn’t be any more concerned at the end than they were at the start. Including Hollywood producers. · Jan 12 at 5:39am

    Why not? Where’s the stumbling block?  · Jan 12 at 5:54am

    It’s not so much a stumbling block as it’s a case of an issue that doesn’t affect people immediately, as do tax rates, crime in the streets, what’s for dinner, etc. etc. Also, people who are not ethnically bound to events in or related to the Middle East will tend to be less interested in those events.

  14. liberal jim

    Prof.  Rahe. Thank you for your reply- I agree with you points.  I read 3 or 4 books on radical Islam after 9/11 and an occasional article since and so my knowledge of the subject is shallow at best.  But even before Claire’s articles I was of the opinion that the Brotherhood had at least tangential ties to 9/11 and CAIRE and benefited from Saudi money.   I find it difficult to believe senior GOP politicians are not more aware of these connections than I,  but have chosen not to make an issue of them.   At least for me your insights while accurate fall short of explaining this conundrum. 

  15. AJK

    You know what’s missing from that long list of groups that al-Qaradawi is involved in?

    The Muslim Brotherhood.

    You also have yet to mention why any of those 15 groups should be considered un-good, save for Bank al-Taqwa (and if you want to research a hustle, Islamic Banking is quite possibly it. E-mail me! I have sources!)

    Really, this is becoming much. You haven’t linked al-Qaradawi or Qutb to the Brotherhood and you haven’t shown how al-Banna was anything more sinister then Rav Phillipson. The entire “Muslim Conspiracy” as highlighted is nothing more then “All of these guys pray to the same God” in the current argument.

    Again, I have been absurdly busy at work (Islamic banks!) but this deserves more than the 200 words I currently have.

  16. Margaret Ball
    AJK: You know what’s missing from that long list of groups that al-Qaradawi is involved in?

    The Muslim Brotherhood.

    MB consider me their Mufti, but I don’t have a relation with the organization, because being an MB chairman is something difficult requiring a highly sophisticated wisdom, and I prefers to be devoted to the entire nation, and I feel comfortable with this decision. I like MB considering them the nearest group to be righteous” – al Qaradawi 2006, from the Muslim Brotherhood website. (bolding mine)

    That took all of two minutes on Google.

  17. AJK

    Ms. Ball, seriously?

    “I don’t have a relation with the organization” is right after what you bolded.At some point, its an argument of semantics and translations, but its hardly conclusive either way.

    FWIW, that’s the exact quote that Ms. Berlinski took from their website, as well.

  18. Margaret Ball
    You haven’t linked al-Qaradawi or Qutb to the Brotherhood

    The Muslim Brotherhood considers al-Qaradawi their spiritual leader. That’s not a link?

    “Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is a pure product of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. His only activist and ideological affiliation is to the Muslim Brotherhood and he has never frankly opposed it.”

    There’s more here:

    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17396

    “On his return home, Qutb openly identified with Egypt’s main Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, although he did not formally join it until 1953. Two years after his homecoming, nationalist army officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power, overthrowing the British-backed monarchy. Qutb and the Brotherhood initially welcomed the coup and worked enthusiastically with its leaders. But after an assassination attempt against him in 1954, Nasser cracked down on the Brotherhood, and Qutb was caught up in the mass arrests that followed.”

    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=25692&ref=search.php