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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