May 2, 2007
The Muslim Brothers Disclosed (TMBD): Salam aleikoum Muhamad,
Imam Muhamad al Takrif (IMaT): Aleikoum Salam
TMBD: Please, first, introduce yourself to our readers
IMaT: I am a preacher and imam at Romilly-sur-Seine in France. I come from Tunisia
TMBD: As you know, we oppose the Muslim Brothers attempt to Islamize the world under the sword. What can you tell us about this international organization? Do you consider it a threat to fellow Muslims?
IMaT: At first, I thought The MB were a threat neither to Egypt and the West nor to any Muslim. I mean the MB was just pleading the cause of all these fellow Muslims who suffered from oppression and coercion. Yet, when I get in touch with some of their members, I have discovered a totally different picture.
TMRD: Could you please be more specific?
IMaT: The MB took a tougher stance since 9/11, they're more hard-line and are certainly more powerful than western policymakers believe! They're at the root of the whole worldwide pro-Islam wave which fuels tensions between the West and Islam and makes impossible any real dialogue between the two civilizations. They benefit from social inequalities to make the poorest join their rank against.
The Brotherhood is more powerful than any other Muslim organization. And its capacity of political disruption is far more complex and effective than Al Qaeda's. The MB can succeed where Al Qaeda fails: policy. It has been seen as a more moderate movement than Ayatollah's or Taliban's; yet it inspired many of the most radical Islamists preacher or leader.
TMRD: Do they want a clash of civilization? Or do you think they are using Tiqqya to win without fighting?
IMaT: MB is an example of how Islamists can infiltrate into the political system; and Egypt isn't the easiest trial ground; and make their views heard by most of the population despite the repressive way they've been treated since 1930s by local authorities.
I don't mean MB's views are completely bad. If I think such ideas are too hardline, I also consider such are an answer to today's problem which seem to have great echo among the population. No one can ignore this and one could have to respect the fact that someday MB is to rule the country following popular elections like the one which took place in Palestine and made Hamas the most powerful polital force in the area.
TMRD: How is the organization financed? How can we prevent it from spreading?
IMaT: The organization's mainly financed by the 'Zakat' and through various organization which use the Arab and Islamic Diaspora throughout the world, and especially the one settled in Western Europe.
MB is not a terrorist organization. If it has connection with very radical groups, it didn't engage into violent actions. It prefers political solutions and it's succeeding. Mubarak out and the MB is the favourite in the race for power.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been the first well-organized Islamic radical organization which defined realistic objectives and adapted its strategy to the direct political conditions. That one disagrees or not with its ideas and objectives, the MB is an organization which one is to take seriously into account for the next 30 years to come in Egypt and the surrounding area.
It has been and it's still the driving force behind the emergence and the passive acceptance of more radical views throughout the muslim world, despite all the differences there are between the various trends of Islam.
TMRD: Well, Imam Muhamad, thanks a lot for your time and your deep thoughts on the MB. Do you want to conclude with a message to those who are willing to join the MB?
IMaT: Joining the MB may make you participate to the most powerful radical Islamic force; take time enough to make it more tolerant. Anyway, you could someday experience 'power'.
Don't make it a dead-end like it's being done in Palestine. Take this as an opportunity to make Islam stronger but also better considered by other cultures. Too much radicalism could lead to our destruction.
The Free Muslims Coalition is promoting a tolerant Islam, rid of extremism and barbarity towards women. http://www.freemuslims.org/. The article "taking our religion back one Muslim at a time" is supported by the Muslim Brothers Disclosed.
Taking our religion back one Muslim at a time:
-We believe in the re-interpretation of Islam for the 21st century where terrorism is not justified under any circumstances.
-We believe in the separation of religion and state.
-We believe that democracy is the best form of government.
-We believe in the promotion of secularism in all forms of political activity.
-We believe that equality for women is an inalienable right.
-We believe that religion is a personal relationship between the individual and his or her God and is not to be forced on anyone.
April 30, 2007
Former head of the DGSE (French Secret Service) is revealing how the MB are dangerous and a corruption of Islam.
Who are the Muslim Brothers?
Alain CHOUET, Former head of the Security Intelligence Service of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security)
Against the background of terrorist violence of the last five years, the exploits of the Zarqawi group in Iraq, the arrival in power of Hamas in Palestine, the electoral successes of Islamists in Egypt have finally attracted the attention of observers to the Association of Muslims Brothers and its politico-military offshoots: the Jamaa Islamiyyah (Islamic groups) more often known by their local or adopted names (Islamic Jihad, GIA, GICM, Al Qaeda, Zarqawi group etc). The belated discovery by the Western media of a movement that had been making its presence felt since the middle of the 20th century in most political developments in the Arab and Muslim world, and whose name is synonymous with exclusion, violence, isolation and confrontation withthe rest of the world.
Fuelled by the internal contradictions of the Muslim developing world, by the inequalities and injustices of the North-South relationship, able to profit from the political, economic and social disorder affecting Muslim communities, theBrotherhood has become –especially after the collapse of the Communist bloc –the only transnational actor capable of managing and turning the political and social differences of the Muslim world to its advantage. Founded in 1928 in Ismailia in Egypt by the educator Hassan al-Banna (grandfather of the well-known Tariq Ramadan) who himself had no religious background or legitimacy, the Brotherhood initially –along the lines of a number of modernist Muslim theoreticians (Jamaleddin al-Afghani, Mohammad Abdu, Rashid Rida) wished to become the reform movement of an Islam in retreat whose followers had been unable to keep up with changes in the modern world, and as a result placed under the foreign domination of predatory colonial powers.
But, rather than forming a basis in modernity and flexibility, Hassan al-Banna made the resolute choice to go with reaction and confrontation.The basic political principle of the founders of the Brotherhood arose from a simple –if not simplistic –syllogism:Islam had known an unrivalled glory and influence during the Golden Age of its founding ancestors (salaf);However all of its innovative interpretations and developments only led to ruin and servitude;Therefore, the answer is to begin again with a slate clean of all these innovations, and return to the origins of Islam, imitating the founders (tabligh) especially in the literal reading of the revealed texts, in order to rediscover the Golden Age.
In Egypt, then under British control via a monarchy of Albanian origin set up by the former Ottoman occupier, the first faltering steps of electoral democracy were taken, by the installation of a parliament. The example of the Brotherhood immediately found favor with a number of intermediate elites themselves excluded from power and privilege –especially of a monetary sort –who signed up because they otherwise had none of the qualities needed to gain or exercise power democratically. That was mainly the most conservative and least dynamic fringe of trade, crafts, middling civil servants, teachers and some professionals. The Islamic theocratic order put forward by the Brotherhood, ruled to the letter by legal sources dating back fifteen centuries, would permit these natural administrators of society an over-arching and comfortable legitimacy where there was no need to do battle or to win arguments, unlike the elective democratic model offered by the West. In fact, from its inception the Brotherhood replicated the systems of extreme right throughout the world, as well as their ways of operating: xenophobia, exclusion, the rejection of any scientific approach, insults and anathemas and physical violence. Hassan el-Banna was executed in 1949 for his part in the assassination of the Egyptian prime minister.
The Muslim Brotherhood, associated with the fight against the British presence and the creation of the State of Israel, looked forward to reaping the rewards of its position from 1952, with the arrival in power of General Neguib, a sympathizer from the outset. Their haste in wishing to eliminate Gamal Abdel Nasser, the real organizer of the coup yet considered too unreliable, earned them a vigorous response from him, as he took power from Neguib and ordered a policy of merciless repression against the Brotherhood.The repression was marked by a legal ban on the Brotherhood in 1954, permanent persecutions and trials and the execution of several of their leaders, among them Sayyid Qutb in 1966, the ideologist of a new radicalism and spiritual father of the activists of today.The Brotherhood's modern strategy was shaped by the repression it suffered, along lines it was never to depart from: clandestinely, duplicity, exclusion, violence, pragmatism and opportunism. Taking refuge in clandestinely, the Brotherhood abandoned all more vulnerable forms of pyramidal or hierarchical organizational structures. Ideological direction emerges informally and consensually by a college of elders, while operational management is in the hands of the very decentralized secret organization Tanzim as-Sirri. Whether political or military, the subversive actions of the Brotherhood is left to the initiative of each basic cell. Their actions follow no short-term concrete tactical plan: the only requirement is that they form part of the long-term strategy of taking power by any means available. And this strategy rests on the two fundamental pillars formalized by Sayyid Qutb: breaking the ties between the people of the Muslim world and their rulers on the one hand, and splitting Muslims off from the rest of the world on the other, the better to take power without the risk of outside intervention. Any initiative which moves in these directions, whether legal or illegal, peaceful or violent, overt or covert, is acceptable and integrated into the plan which will bring the leaders of the Brotherhood to the power and to the benefits they consider their own.What could have remained a subversive populist movement restricted to Egyptian public life instead saw itself spread across the Arab and Muslim world through a series of favorable historical circumstances. The first wave of repression suffered by the militants in the 1950s-1960s forced many of them into exile. This first Diaspora took place in a period of political and economic decolonization in many Arab and Muslim countries keen, out of a sense of national identity, to promote their own language and cultural values. They were however on the whole lacking in the human resources to pursue such a policy (teachers, historians, clerics) as the occupying powers had naturally discouraged any form of education in these areas.
The exiled Brotherhood militants provided in many cases the perfect cadre for the implementation such policies – as was the case in the Maghreb, Sudan, the Gulf states, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria (in particular to the benefit of the brief Egypt-Syrian union of 1958-62).The receiving countries rapidly became anxious at the propaganda and recruitment efforts of the new zealots. While some made accommodations with them with more or less good grace (Jordan, Sudan) others like Syria, Iraq and Libya rapidly took the road of repression, thus feeding the Brotherhood Diaspora with various new nationalities, even as the movement extended to the Indian sub-continent, to Indonesia and the east coast of Africa. In Pakistan, the Brotherhood met with ultra-religious nationalists of the Deobandist school who harbored a hatred for India and rancor atPartition and their exodus. The cocktail was later to prove an explosive one.For, while the doctrines of the Brotherhood were by this time more or less fixed, they were still missing an essential influential element: the financial means to allow them to buy consciences, to build up a clientele, to train and maintain militants, to raise up the masses against those in power by investing in the education and social action too often neglected in the developing countries or among minorities emigrated to the West. These means were to come mainly and massively from Saudi Arabia. The Saud family built its political legitimacy on its stewardship of the holy places of Islam, which it usurped in 1926 from the Hashemites. Its power is therefore under threat on two fronts. It lives in fear as much of a democratic and secularizing current as of an Islamizing pressure which would lay claim to more respect for fundamental values. And while the Sauds have the revenues from oil to allow them to operate this "double containment" they also lack the human resources necessary to such a policy. The Brotherhood's network, by now worldwide, would provide (but not without some reluctance on the Saudis' part) with this determining element in the form of political, religious, and cultural structures for the control of Islam the world over, while organizing subversion in countries judged a threat to the endurance of Saudi power.
Initially concentrated on secularizing or proto-democratic Muslim countries (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Yemen and Turkey) the Brotherhood's subversive efforts rapidly extended to monarchies rivaling the Saud dynasty –Jordan and Morocco.But the real extension of their influence on a world scale came with the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1978. The emergence in Tehran of a real opposition to the religious legitimacy of the Saudis lead the latter to try to put into place an international system of orientation and control of Islam, operated through NGOs and associations, for which the Brotherhood acted as a matrix. Money was no object following the oil-price hike of 1973, and was pumped into regions where Islam was not well-embedded, opening the door to Iranian influence –essentially Africa and immigrant Muslim communities in the West. Penetration was made easier by the economic crisis which hit the West and the first oil-price shock led to poverty, exclusion and even rejection among these emigrant communities.Traditionally placed under the joint –but rather superficial –control of country of origin and host country, these communities proved to be permeable to the populist identity discourse of the Brotherhood, which took majority control of local representations (UOIF in France) in a decade or so. They had three objectives: to prove their capacities formobilization to their Saudi sponsors; to constitute a mass for maneuvers against the regimes in countries of origin; and to make Islam hateful to Westerners in order to preclude any tendency they may have to intervene in the Muslim world.In the decade between 1980-1990, the Brotherhood added a military capacity to its ideological and financial ones. It owes that development to the shared desire of Nato and Arabia to foster local resistance networks to counter Iranian influence and bring about the exhaustion of the Soviet Union in the quagmire of Afghanistan.
While the members of the Brotherhood already dispersed throughout the region in question had already organized good ideological links with local populations, helped by Pakistani fundamentalism and deep Saudi pockets, they had little experience of operational organization and armed struggle. But that problem would soon be solved.From 1981, strengthened by the popular support their social and protest actions had earned them, the Brotherhood thought themselves able finally to take power in Cairo by eliminating President Sadat. But having failed to ensure the existence of a sufficiently hard core of support within the Army and the security services, their attempt failed, and more than 300 members of the Brotherhood, including virtually the entire Secret Organization, were arrested, tried and sentenced. Around 50 of them were sentenced to death and quickly executed. The others, sentenced to prison sentences of various lengths, were gradually freed at the demand of Saudi charity organizations and American welfare groups.Among those liberated who rushed to leave Egypt was Sheikh Omar Abd-el-Rahman, organiser of the first bomb attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and Ayman Zawahiri, the brains of what was to become Al Qaeda, as well as a hundred or so operational members who spread rapidly out among the various theatres of military operations in order to train, shape and direct troops.
Through their exploits –real and mythical –particularly in Afghanistan and later in Bosnia and Chechnya, they helped legitimize and enlarge the credibility and prestige of the Brotherhood in the Muslim world and its communities abroad, as well as itsstrategies, ideology and methods, to the point where no other form of thinking or acting within Islam any longer seemed possible.Beyond this period of equipment, which benefited the US and Saudi Arabia, the Brotherhood, comfortably financed and now with a solid operational capacity, took over its own strategy and management from the beginning of the 1990s.
The party line remained immutable: to cut the Muslim world off from the rest of the planet in order to be better placed to take over power at any cost. The wave of fundamentalist terrorism that struck the West as much as those "impious" Muslim regimes starting in 1998, the deployment of militants on all the borders of the Muslim world, the permanent pseudo-racial agitation carried out by emigrated Muslim communities in the West, were all part of that strategy. Faced with the risk of seeing the disappearance of the financial support they received from the petro-monarchies, and the loss of American military support, the Brotherhood went looking within the Muslim masses for the support necessary to the development of their influence and their image. That called for spectacular actions and strong media coverage for those actions, which led to the wave of suicide attacks worldwide seen in the years 1998-2005, the engagement of Hamas in a bitter battle with Israel, and the anti-Western and anti-Shiite offensive of the Zarqawi group in Iraq. That list is not exhaustive, and the expanding cycle of violence will end for no other reason than the Brotherhood's long-awaited grasp of power in a certain number of Muslim countries –preferably the richest.
The "democratic conversion" of Mohammad Mehdi Akef, grand master of the Brotherhood in Egypt, the vituperative comments by Ayman Zawahiri on the Egyptian and Jordanian Brothers and their support for the democratic process, the apparent moderated discourse of Tariq Ramadan towards the European institutions should not fool anyone. Like every fascist movement on the trail of power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double speak. They are able to command all the possible means of accession to the control of the masses, and to power.
From the 1930s, Hassan el-Banna and many of the first members of the Brotherhood offered their services to the Abwehr. Apart from the resistance to the British presence in Egypt, Hassan el-Banna's commitment was a result of a real admiration for Hitler and the Nazi regime. In 1942, at the side of Haj Amin el-Husseini, grand Mufti of Jerusalem and long-standing Brother, he encouraged Bosnian, Albanian and North African Muslims to join the SS Handschar, Kama and Skanderbeg divisions created specially for them.In its history, strategy and tactics, the Brotherhood is related to the worst fascist movements: the same appetite for power and profit, the same petty bourgeois recruitment, the same ideological basis founded on identity myths excluding all those who do not share them, the same pragmatic duplicity, the same terrorist violence magnified to galvanize militants and shock opponents, the same political assassinations, the same hatred for democracy –even though it can be used to arrive in power only to destroy it afterwards, the same hijacking of democratic procedures, the same historic evolution studded with failed coups, successful terrorism, paid service to the powerful, exploitation of the misery and the fears of the most disadvantaged and disdainful sacrifice of the rank-and-file militant.Even if it has had the foresight to kit itself out in the costume of "Muslims," the Association of Brothers has no more to do with Islam than the various fascist movements of the 20th century had to do with basic European values or with Christianity. It simply took religion hostage and confiscated it for its own ends. The mistake, for Muslims as much as for Westerners would be to play their game and treat them as a valid representative of Islam, and a political or social mediator. Like all fascists, the Brotherhood exists only to satisfy the appetites and fantasies of its leaders.
April 29, 2007
Symbol: Description: A brown square frames a green circle with a white perimeter. Two swords cross inside the circle beneath a red Koran. The cover of the Koran says: "Truly, it is the Generous Koran." The Arabic beneath the sword handles translates as "Be prepared." Explanation: The swords reinforce the group's militancy and, as traditional weapons, symbolize historic Islam. They also reinforce the group's commitment to jihad. The Koran denotes the group's spiritual foundation. The motto, "Be prepared," is a reference to a Koranic verse that talks of preparing to fight the enemies of God.
2002: Suspected in suicide bombing in Grozny.
1979: Suspected in attacking Syrian military academy in Aleppo. 50 Syrian artillery cadets killed
Leader: Muhammad Mahdi Akef (in Egypt)
Founder: Hassan al-Banna (assassinated, February 12, 1949)
April 28, 2007
PREPARATION OF A SUICIDE BOMBER
Contrary to popular opinion claiming that for suicide terrorist act just one terrorist is enough, there are several people involved in the process of preparing the human bomb for explosion. Usually, they make up a team for serial production of living bombs.
First of all, there is a Recruiter that finds and selects suitable candidates for journey to "paradise".
In the nineties, when religious terrorist organizations, such as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, were the primary sources for suicide bombers, the main pool of future suicide-bombers was a mosque, and a recruiter was a person that was connected to that mosque in one way or another. Now, when the secular terrorist organizations, such as Arafat's FATAH/Tanzim or People's Front for Liberation of Palestine, employ suicide bombers too, the recruitment can take place anywhere, from hospitals or restaurants to schools and even kindergartens - the youngest suicide bomber arrested by Israeli security services is just 13 years old, the youngest who blew up was 16. Also, palestinian militants often use small children to ferry weapons and explosives, for example in Jenin a 6 year old boy stopped by IDF soldiers had several grenades, AK magazines and other ammunition in his backpack.
Further on down the chain, there is an Agent, who has to select the target of a terrorist act and to collect information about it. Again, contrary to popular opinion, terrorist's choice of their objective is far from random. The Agent is usually a Palestinian Arab with a work permit in Israel, or less often an Israeli Arab. The Agent often works or had worked in the target location - such as a restaurant, a hotel or a banquet hall.
The Engineer prepares the bomb and its separate components.
The Mule,who brings the terrorist closer to his target is sometimes an Israeli Arab, more often a Palestinian with work permit. Usually he is not a member of a terrorist organization, but an experienced car-thief, well familiar with the Israeli society. A car with an Israeli number makes all movements in the country much easier. Such thief also knows all the roads very well and is experienced in escaping from the police.
The Planner, who commands the operation is the leader of the group, an active member of a terrorist organization (Hamas, Fatah etc.) who is the "field captain" of the terrorists. In addition to him, there is often another person who deals with the finances of the operation.
Of course, it is not a hard and fast structure. Often a single person performs several tasks, for example, recruitment and command, or, vice versa several terrorists work on the same task. The bomb is usually constructed by two or three people - the head "engineer" and his assistants.
"Trigger" of a suicide bomber, that was discovered by IDF soldiers in a secret laboratory in Shchem (Nablus)
Palestinians use two main types of explosive: "home-made" TATP (triacetone triperoxide) and TNT (trinitrotoluene) which is taken out of old mines and shells or brought in illegally from abroad.
Acetone peroxide is an explosive most widely available and the simplest in preparation. Its components can be easily bought in any household store without provoking suspicion - hydrogen peroxide is used for bleaching hair, acetone is used for nail polish, as a solvent or (in a solution with sulfur acid) as electrolyte. But preparation of acetone peroxide is rather dangerous, besides it must be compressed for better detonation, which can cause an explosion by itself. The plastification of acetone peroxide ("cooking" the explosive to form it as needed when it becomes cold) is a very dangerous process, too. That's why there are always burns on Palestinian "engineers'" bodies, and sometimes body parts - fingers, hands - are missing.
But with all the disadvantages of a dangerous (for the terrorist) preparation, acetone peroxide has one definite advantage over other types of explosives - it cannot be discovered by dogs. Specially trained dogs (including dogs that were recently bought by Israel in USA) can discover explosives such as ammonal, plastic explosives, hexogen - but not acetone peroxide.
Sometimes Palestinian terrorists use acetone peroxide as an initiating explosive, and ammonal, which is simpler and less dangerous in preparation as the main explosive. "Homemade" ammonal is actually ammonia nitrate mixed with coal and aluminum powder. The ammonal, compressed and mixed in proper quantities, is a simple explosive that can be detonated by acetone peroxide. That way, less of the hazardous acetone peroxide is required, or the same quantity can be used for several bombs.
Palestinians use simple light bulbs as detonators - it is enough to break the glass and coat the wire with any easily flammable material. When the light bulb is turned on, the wire is instantly heated and the bomb detonates. It was recently mentioned in the media that a certain English doctor who worked in Jenin discovered Palestinian bombs with detonators made out of light bulbs. From this he concluded that the Palestinians were trained by IRA fighters. In fact, a light bulb is the simplest and the most widely available type of detonator and there is no need to be an IRA fighter to prepare it.
TNT or other industrially manufactured explosive comes to Palestinians in several ways, mostly by smuggling: from Jordan by land, from Lebanon to Gaza by sea, or via underground tunnels from Egypt to Rafah. Other sources of explosives are old mines, shells and bombs that are found on firing ranges and old Israeli mine fields. Finally, there are stolen explosives from Israeli stocks, though they are much harder to get then for example small arms.
Though TNT is stronger than acetone peroxide, it has a serious disadvantage - it cannot be plastified in home conditions, which is why it is much less convenient for the suicide-bomber. Often, when using tolite, terrorists don't wear belts, but take a sack or a suitcase. With TNT real detonators must be used.
Sometimes terrorists get a hold of even stronger explosives, such as C4 or other plastic explosives. C4 is significantly stronger than acetone peroxide and some 20% stronger than TNT. By its consistency C4 resembles Play Dough, so it is easy to make a bomb of any form out of it, and to hide it under the clothes. Luckily, plastic explosives are more difficult to obtain than others of the abovementioned types, which is why terrorists seldom have the opportunity to use it.
A primitive bomb usually consists of several cylinders, often cut parts of metallic water pipes, filled with explosives and fragments , that are connected by a wire to a trigger, the "red button", that is usually located in the suicide bomber's pocket, or on his chest. The cylinders are hung or packed in an inner lining of a jacket, that is worn under the clothes. It is a very simple and effective device.
A more sophisticated kind is made out of plastified explosive, and consists of "plates" of explosive, that are packed into a jacket or into a lining of a coat. The "fragmentation jacket" consists of steel balls, screws, nuts and pieces of thick wire.
The shrapnel elements, which were discovered by IDF forces in a secret laboratory in Shchem (Nablus)
The main killing power of any bomb is not the explosion itself (the shock wave is rather small because of small quantity of explosives used) but the fragments of its jacket, which are launched in all directions by the explosion. In air force bombs and in many types of artillery shells the pieces are formed out of the steel casing, which is split into small pieces in an explosion.
In anti-personnel tank shells and in some kinds of artillery shells part of the internal payload is dedicated to shrapnel- such a shell is filled with several thousand of needles ("flechettes"). Sometimes these flechettes are made of plastic, which do not show up on x-rays. Palestinian terrorists realized this principle long ago and use it widely. More than 90% of the victims injured are hit by the bomb shrapnel.
The most widely used and the most dangerous shrapnel consists of ball bearings 3-7 millimeters in diameter. In the most severe terrorist acts - in the Delfinarium, Sbarro, in the banquet hall in Netania - the bombs of the suicide-bombers were filled with steel balls.
In an explosion, the balls are launched with such speed, that their power is close to a bullet's. You could say that in an explosion the suicide-bomber shoots several hundred bullets in a single moment.
Aside from steel balls, nails, screws and so on, nuts and washers are also used. Nuts are easily glued together to form tiny plates that can be pressed in, or even tied by a tape to the plates of the explosive to hide it better. Likewise, nuts are also stringed on a thread or on a piece of wire, as shown on the photographs.
X-ray picture of a 17-old girl, who was killed by a suicide-bomb's nail penetrating her skull.
April 27, 2007
Here is the core of his message: Radicals exist everywhere and the fact that they exist in the Muslim community should not be a surprise to anyone. Did we Muslims fail to show that we are peacemakers and peace-lovers? It is time for us Muslims to stop denying our ills or blaming them on others.
Muslims must immediately stop behaving as if everything is normal. Perhaps before we Muslims make statements condemning extremism, we should first condemn those within us that are actively promoting it.
By Imam Dr. Yahya FadlallaThe Hamilton Spectator(Jul 10, 2006)
In the aftermath of the 17 Toronto-area people charged with planning terrorist acts, we have to remember they are innocent until prosecuted fairly and transparently and proven guilty in a court of law -- not by the public, the media or our Prime Minister who already judged them: "They hate us because of our way of life."
We also have to remember that these are only 17 from about 750,000 Muslims in the greater Toronto area, most of whom are highly educated and a community with an extremely low crime rate.
In my opinion, Canada will likely face major terrorist acts in the future if certain things do not change. There are three aspects to this: government, media and the Muslim community. If all three are dealt with, I believe the problem can be confronted successfully.
No doubt the vast majority of Islamic establishments, such as mosques, work hard to better and benefit their communities. But some of them are tangled in many problems. It seems to me that the way some so-called imams or leaders run their mosques or organizations is akin to the way the countries they came from are run: by the iron fist of a dictator who seems not to look after anyone except himself, his goals or his ideology.
This is un-Islamic.
Where is our government while some of these organizations collect monies and/or receive funds from foreign lands with ties to terrorists, but are not audited?
Where was the government (and police) when wise Canadian Muslims brought to their attention violations of the law that occur in some mosques and the radical behaviours of some so-called imams and leaders?
As a matter of fact, government and police seem to put wind under the wings of these so-called imams or leaders by meeting and accepting them as liaisons to the Muslim community. In some cases some government officials seem to intentionally get close to the so-called leader or Imam in order to be invited by him to solicit votes from the community, indirectly and unconsciously helping him and his perilous ideology to prosper. This needs to change.
As for the media: They seem not to realize that they are pumping up people who are not only unqualified to give Islamic opinions as they do, but also do not represent the Muslim community. The media, to the insult of many Muslims, call these people community leaders or spokesmen.
The media seem to choose far-leftist Muslims who say the hijab (Muslim women's head-covering) is old-fashioned and must be abolished or state that there are horrifying "problems with Islam." The other faction the media appears to propagate is made up of extremists who classify any beardless Muslim man as an idiot sinner and view Jews and Christians with narrow-mindedness, declaring them kafirs -- infidels who deserve kidnapping and beheading. (This is contrary to the Koran that calls them with respect Ahl-ul-Ketab --people of the scriptures revealed upon Moses and Jesus).
It is true that there are a few informed Muslim thinkers sporadically interviewed by the media, but much better can be done to depict a true picture of Islam and of Muslim Canadians. Why does the media use terms like "Muslim terrorists", "Muslim radicals" and "Muslim extremists"? Not only does the media seem to insist on using these terms but in publishing the views of some of those extremists, they help spread their radical ideologies.
It is a fact that there are extremists among Muslims, but why are they referred to by their religion? This taints Islam in the eyes of the public and consequently affect Muslims in their job searches and relationships with non-Muslim friends, neighbours, colleagues and, in some cases, family members.
This, in turn, creates and stirs anger in the Muslim community on top of the ongoing frustration caused by what their Muslim brothers and sisters are facing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and other parts of the world. This anger usually appears to be directed towards the West, including Canada, while it creates sympathy toward Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
The media needs to correct certain practices when it comes to reporting on Muslims and Islam.
Muslim community involvement is important. It starts at home. The only fear parents seem have of the children and the Internet is pornography. But there are thousands of websites that give shocking details of how to, among other things, plan an attack, a hijack or kidnapping, and even tell what to do if you are apprehended.
It is possible for anyone to sit in a room with a computer and get the same information as if he or she were in a training camp in, for example, Afghanistan.
We Muslims also need to be aware of the mosque youths go to and the ideology of its imam and the people they associate with.
It is easier to recruit a 20-year-old who is in a crisis of identity and in search of his place in the community than it is to recruit someone who is in his 40s, married, with a job, career and life experience.
Many of our youths seem to have an identity crisis. A youth thinks he will be like a rock star in his community if he belongs to a group that has a good cause in his inexperienced, innocent and often coached views. However, seen pragmatically, some of these good causes are nothing but terrorism under fancy names such as jihad.
This is an un-Islamic jihad and is un-Islamic Islam.
Denial or marginalization of the problems exists in the Muslim community and the government. About the first week of June, our ambassador to the U.S., appearing before a senate committee in that country, downplayed the existence of terrorism in Canada -- while at the time the U.S. intelligence community (which surely cooperates with its Canadian counterpart) cited about 52 terrorist organizations in Canada.
Some so-called leaders and imams keep denying terrorism exists in the Muslim community.
Some others seem to wrongfully think that it is against Islamic teachings to describe a Muslim as an extremist; more grievously, they seem not to see themselves as such. On the contrary, they appear to consider themselves righteous.
Some others exaggerate and declare that the vast majority of mosques are penetrated by extremists.
These so-called leaders and imam do not realize (or perhaps they do) that they created communities amongst the one Muslim community (Wahhabis, Salafis, Tablighi Jamaat, Sufis, Shi'as, etc.) with their un-Islamic and self-serving ideologies.
Islam strongly teaches unity and abhors disunity and those who cause it (see Koran 3:104-105 and 6:159).
Another possible role of the Muslim community is to make sure what goes in the mosques and organizations is to best serve the interest and betterment of the community, and not serving the so-called imams or leaders who seem to seek meetings with the police and/or government officials to declare they do not condone terrorism and that they call and pray for peace within Canada.
If they sincerely do not condone terrorism, then why did not we see them organize demonstrations and rallies condemning terrorism as they did with controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad?
Away from the cameras, some of them seem to encourage hatred, declaring the Jews and Christians who are our neighbours and colleagues as infidels. They exalt their heroes of 9/11 as martyrs and take the devastation wrought by them as intrepidness.
Some so-called imams pray at the end of sermons on Fridays -- in front of gatherings that include energetic yet inexperienced youths -- for the destruction of Jews and Christians.
Upon hearing such prayers, a youth may very possibly start to hate his or her non-Muslim friends and neighbours and think it is his or her duty to pray for their destruction.
Such prayers, I would say, fall under a classification of a hate crime.
When the prayers are not answered, violence is seen as a solution. But, if non-Muslim Canadians were kafirs, why then did these so-called imams and leaders leave their Muslim countries and come to live and stay in a land of infidels? The Koran says: "... why do you say what you do not, it is grievously hateful in the sight of God that you say what you do not." (Koran 28:3-4.)
Even with regards to unbelievers and infidels, the Koran tells Muslims: "God forbids you not with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God Loves those who are just." (Koran 60:8.)
It is a fact on the tongues of Muslims that they have more rights, religious and otherwise, and freedom in Canada than they had in their Muslim countries.
Imams in general seem to forget that the congregations, especially youth, need to see sermons in actions and not only in words. Sermons can include and encourage respecting the law of the land (Canada), loving and protecting it.
Radicals exist everywhere and the fact that they exist in the Muslim community should not be a surprise to anyone. Did we Muslims fail to show that we are peacemakers and peace-lovers? It is time for us Muslims to stop denying our ills or blaming them on others.
Muslims must immediately stop behaving as if everything is normal. Perhaps before we Muslims make statements condemning extremism, we should first condemn those within us that are actively promoting it.
Yahya Fadlalla is an imam based in Hamilton. In addition to his Islamic education, he has expertise in terrorism with a doctorate in computer science --specializing in cyber-terrorism, cryptography and information warfare.
Otherwise, a clash of civilization might occur. Otherwise, Islam will not appear anymore as a religion of Peace.
Some Western scholars are denouncing Islam and no more the terrorists and extremists. We should unite and prove them that they are wrong. We must constantly denounce "Muslims" that are not respectful of other people.
Here is a link to the Western scholars video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7524727529706125858&q=islam+what+the+west+needs+to+know&hl=en
Some universities in those cities have already accepted to provide "the Muslim Brothers Disclosed" a conference room and their experts to debate.
You will be advise on those major events in the coming month.
Thank you for your growing supports.
Responding to your numerous demands, I manage to produce t-shirts, badges, and flags "The Muslim Brothers Disclosed" and "Proud to be a Muslim, Proud to be against the MB." Everything will be available very soon.
The version of this blog and its promotionnal items would be available in Arabic at the end of the year.
April 26, 2007
Khalid Amayreh, Ikhwanweb
In an article titled “why I hate America” which I wrote a few weeks after 9/11, I pointed out that there were three main reasons for Muslim hatred of the US government.
These included America’s embrace of Zio-Nazism (Israel is a Nazi state because when Jews behave like Nazis, they become Nazis), America’s embrace and support of Arab and Muslim tyrannies from Morocco to Pakistan, and this evangelical Nazi-like hostility to Islam and its estimated 1.5 billion adherents which has assumed cynical proportions such as claiming that Muslims don’t worship the true creator.
As a Palestinian, who by the way received his college education in the United States (I received my BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and MA in the same field from the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale), I can’t possibly like a government that slaughtered a million Iraqi children in order to punish one man, Saddam Hussein. Nor can I view with indifference America’s Gestapo-like policies and practices toward my people.
People don’t like their tormentors, and America is par excellence the tormentor of the Palestinian people. America is the author of 39 years of death, bereavement, savagery, home demolition, roadblocks , persecution and repression of my people. America is to us what the Third Reich was to the Jews. America and Israel are the Nazis of our time.
Therefore, Islam did not spread by sword but with its strong faith and tolerance, how can we interpret the great number of people who embraced Islam in India, China, Malaya, Java, part of eastern India and Middle Africa? How can we explain the phenomenon that millions in Russia, Poland, and Lithuania in north Europe embraced Islam? How can we explain the same in Guinea?? Did the swords of Muslims expanded to reach these regions on Earth?? No lunatic or rational have said that!!
Islam knew its way in these regions thanks to Muslim preachers who were unarmed, but they were armed by faith and tolerance. Many people embraced Islam as a result of this but at the same time Muslims were being massacred in Spain and they faced all kinds of unprecedented persecution in history. At this period of time, any one dares saying, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah" was massacred until Islam and Muslims vanished from Spain.
Islam spread in Africa as if light spread among darkness ...
We have elucidated how Islam spread in the four corners of earth without force but by the strong creed, tolerance and its teachings that meets the needs of human soul.
Islam does not obligate people to embrace it by force or sword.
Repeating a lie does not make it a truth....
April 25, 2007
Washington (The Weekly Standard) Vol. 012, Issue 30 - 4/23/2007 -
Even though Congress was in recess the first week of April, a number of lawmakers kept busy. A bipartisan delegation led by House majority leader Steny Hoyer paid a visit to Cairo, meeting with several Egyptian members of parliament, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a controversial Islamist group officially banned in Egypt. Hoyer's contacts with the Brotherhood have added new intensity to the debate over whether or not the U.S. government should "engage" with the group as an ally in the war on terror.
Making the case for such engagement, Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke wrote an article in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs entitled "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." They conclude that the Brotherhood consists of "moderate Muslims with active community support" and that engaging with its members "makes strong strategic sense."
Yet this could not be further from the truth. The argument for a strategy of engagement flows from the incorrect belief that if Islamist groups that denounce violence are strengthened, they will then confront their more violent brethren and rob them of their support base. Although various Islamist groups do quarrel over tactics and often bear considerable animosity towards one another, a "divide and conquer" strategy will only push them closer together. This is illustrated perfectly by the response to Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to ban the revolutionary Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) after the July 7, 2005, bombings in London.
HT reached out to various British Islamist organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood (despite their intense historical rivalry), and urged them all to stand united or "be the next in line to be proscribed." Sadly, HT's effort was successful and Blair was forced to withdraw his proposal.Allies in this war cannot be chosen on the basis of their tactics--that is, whether or not they eschew violent methods. Instead, the deciding factor must be ideology: Is the group Islamist or not? In essence, this means that a nonviolent, British-born Islamist should not be considered an ally. Yet a devout, conservative Muslim immigrant to Europe--one who does not even speak any Western languages but rejects Islamist ideology--could be.
Moderate, non-Islamist Muslims have long tried to explain the inherent incompatibility of Islamism with a Western society that extols pluralism and equality. Islamists seek the total imposition of Islamic law upon society at large. To the Brotherhood and groups like it, the Koran and Islam are not a source of law but the only source of law. As the Muslim Brotherhood declares in its motto, "Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."Moreover, engaging with Islamist organizations such as the Brotherhood lends legitimacy to an ideology that does not, in fact, represent the views of the majority of Muslims. Thus, American policymakers who advocate pursuing such a strategy are actually facilitating Islamism by endorsing it as a mainstream ideolog.
Some have already endorsed organizations that were founded by Brotherhood members and maintain a close ideological affiliation with the group, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Whether at home or abroad, such a policy is leading to disaster, as liberal, non-Islamist Muslims--having already been denounced by Islamists as apostates--are now being told by Western governments that they do not represent "real" Islam.Empowering Islamists at the expense of non-Islamists hardly seems a wise strategy for the United States to pursue if it wants to win the war of ideas. After all, non-Islamists are already tremendously disadvantaged in terms of organization and funding. The Muslim Brotherhood has well-established networks of institutions, educational centers, and think tanks, as well as millions of dollars in donations from the Middle East. At the same time, many moderates are deterred from speaking out because of the ire doing so would provoke from Islamist groups. In the West, not only do critics have to worry about a fatwa calling for their death, but they are also faced with the prospect of getting sued for millions of dollars.Indeed, Islamist organizations have flourished in the tolerant environment of the West, taking advantage of the freedom of speech to spread their hate-filled, anti-Semitic ideas without fear of reprisal.
In the process, they actively and openly create a fifth column of activists who work to undermine the very systems under which Western societies operate. They are creating self-segregated societies in a process that has been called "voluntary apartheid." This tactic has been enthusiastically supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose unofficial spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi has repeatedly advised European Muslims to create their own "Muslim ghettos" to avoid cultural assimilation.Islamist groups are engaged in a long-term social engineering project, by which they hope to lead Muslims to reject Western norms of pluralism, individual rights, and the rule of law. At the core of Islamist terrorism is the ideological machinery that works to promote sedition and hatred. That the tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood are nonviolent (or at least less violent) does not make the ideology behind those tactics any less antagonistic to the United States.
It may be that, when compared with al Qaeda or Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood is the lesser evil. Yet engagement is worse than no engagement if it legitimizes Islamist ideology and alienates non-Islamists. Recognizing and responding to the threat posed by the Islamist ideology is an important part of the war on terror. Any American or Western engagement with Islamists should be critical in nature. Under no circumstances should we do them the favor of extolling Islamist ideologues as "moderates."
Zeyno Baran is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
By MARIAM FAMApril 20, 2007;
Like many young bloggers, Shaza Essam uses her personal Web site to list her favorite Hollywood movies, talk about a popular song and complain about her studies.
But some of the postings by the 21-year-old dentistry student in Cairo are far less typical. In an entry about her childhood ambitions, among becoming a doctor, a photographer or an actress, she adds, "I dreamed that I was one of the mujahideen in Chechnya or Palestine, and that I was blowing myself up among as many enemies as possible so that I could be like the martyrs."
Ms. Essam is one of a growing number of young members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamic group in Egypt, who have joined the blogosphere in recent months. The Brotherhood, which officially renounced violence in the 1970s -- though group leaders endorse "armed resistance" in lands they consider occupied -- says it wants an Islamic state through peaceful means that respects the rights of minorities. The Brotherhood has branches outside Egypt and spawned the militant Palestinian group Hamas. In Egypt, it is a growing force and constitutes the largest political opposition group. But some of its views and activities remain highly controversial.
Banned by the Egyptian government, the group has long used Web sites that promote its ideology and provide its leaders with a platform. But, until recently, online windows into the personal lives of individual members have been rare. The new blogs by young Brotherhood members often mix political views and diary-like reveries, capturing the attempts of some to reconcile free expression and adherence to strict doctrine, and the tensions that can result.
Ms. Essam, a conservative Muslim who wears a veil, started her Arabic-language blog, molotoofy.blogspot.com, in February. She says she picked the name, which roughly translates as "My tongue is a Molotov [cocktail]," because "my words are the only thing I can use to resist any injustice and express my opinion. Also, I am usually blunt without meaning to be; my words may come out like bombs when I am talking to a friend." Topics range from her political views -- she admires Ahmed Yassin, the late spiritual leader of Hamas -- to her entertainment picks -- the Will Smith movie "Men in Black," for instance.
Unlike many Brotherhood members, she keeps her affiliation a secret at her university, for fear of harassment by authorities. But she has gradually begun giving the blog address to trusted colleagues. "When these people get to read about my likes and dislikes, they will know that I am an ordinary person just like them," she says.
Across the Middle East, Islamic groups with varying backgrounds -- including al-Qaeda -- have used the Internet to advance their causes. Political blogs have also become a tool for activists challenging their governments and clamoring for democracy.
Muslim Brotherhood members are increasingly starting blogs as the Egyptian government has stepped up its efforts against the group, arresting many members and freezing the assets of some. The crackdown further intensified after a December protest in which around 50 students who belong to the Brotherhood appeared in military-style black uniforms and balaclavas. That prompted accusations that the group is establishing a military wing, which it denies.
The Muslim Brotherhood distances itself from groups like al-Qaeda and condemns their attacks. It runs charities and social services that help make it popular among many Egyptians. But critics charge that the group's strict hierarchy and opaque way of operating are at odds with stated democratic aims and that its conservative views would preclude freedoms, especially for women.
The new blogs by Brotherhood members are laden with political messages, largely adopting the organization's views and campaigning for the release of jailed members. A few refer to acts of violence, such as one that posts the will of a Palestinian suicide bomber. Mixed with the political messages are favorite songs, diary entries and vignettes on personal relationships -- some from well-known junior figures in the movement and others from relative unknowns, such as Ms. Essam.
Magdy Saad, a 29-year-old who works in marketing and is an active member of the Brotherhood, described in his blog how he anxiously awaited a response from the family of a girl whose hand he had asked in marriage. Two days later, he broke the news: He was turned down. "God, I accept your decision," he wrote. Readers responded with sympathy: "God willing, He'll give you someone even better," wrote one.
He has received support but also criticism from some Brotherhood members for blogging about personal details and thoughts. "The Egyptian society is conservative and has many areas that are out of bounds when it comes to personal affairs," he said in an interview. "The Brotherhood has more of these out-of-bounds areas because there's a great emphasis on the moral side, so some people think that talking about this human and personal side runs contrary to morals."
Abdou el-Monem Mahmoud, a journalist and a well-known member of the Brotherhood, was one of the first to start his own Web site. The site (ana-ikhwan.blogspot.com) says it has received more than 239,000 hits since it started in October. Mr. Mahmoud, 27, posts messages from the families of jailed group members and describes how their imprisonment is affecting their children. "Aisha started screaming: 'Father, father, can you see me?' She yelled and cried when she saw her father but wasn't able to kiss him," he wrote on Feb. 25. "These scenes have really left me exhausted."
The latest entries on the blog are not by Mr. Mahmoud, but by others giving updates on his own jailing. Mr. Mahmoud was arrested last Sunday, accused of belonging to the banned Brotherhood and of inciting students to stage a military-style parade, according to Abd el-Monem Abd el-Maqsud, a Brotherhood member and the group's lawyer. Mr. Abd el-Maqsud says no such parade was held. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, a nonprofit group that defends press freedom, this week called for Mr. Mahmoud's release, accusing the Egyptian government of "increasingly repressive policies toward online dissent."
Julien Pain, head of the press group's Internet Freedom desk, said that in addition to a crackdown on the Brotherhood, the arrest is "also a way to tell other bloggers that from now on they should be careful."
Egyptian authorities wouldn't immediately comment.
Young Brotherhood bloggers say the effort is grassroots, and some even see it as a potential catalyst for change within the organization. "Our life is not all about arrests and politics...We eat, drink, get married, sleep...laugh and joke," Asmaa el-Erian, daughter of one of the Brotherhood's prominent members, wrote on her blog.
But some critics believe that blogging is part of a coordinated strategy by the Brotherhood to project a modern image and widen its support beyond its traditional base.
"They're trying to seize the imagination of the young and see this as an area that shouldn't be just left for the liberal forces," says Amr el-Choubaki, an expert on Islamic groups at Cairo's Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "It's part of the group's strategy to infiltrate the different institutions of society." Even if the blogs were introduced by grassroots members, "the leaders up high at least didn't object," Mr. el-Choubaki says.
Mr. Mahmoud says the blogs are useful. "People don't know what a Muslim Brotherhood member is like as a person...and some are wary of the Brothers," he said in an interview before his arrest. "We want to tell them that we are ordinary Egyptians. We want our freedom, just like the seculars, leftists, socialists or poor Egyptians do. The only difference is that we have an Islamic identity."
The MEMRI Report
By STEVEN STALINSKY, April 12, 2007
Some Hamas leaders have been speaking in Arabic of "a coming stage" against Israel. Many Middle East analysts are also discussing a possibility of an "Intifada III." Unlike the first two "uprisings," the Palestinian Arabs now have press and broadcast apparatuses at their disposal.
Leading up to the Palestinian Arab parliament elections in January 2006, and following the Arab satellite TV revolution led by Al-Jazeera, the terrorist organization Hamas launched its own TV network named after the Al-Aqsa mosque. Early on, most of the programming was devoted to Koranic readings and images of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
Shortly thereafter, Hamas officials were quoted saying it would be emulating what Hezbollah did with its TV network Al-Manar and that it would also aim to spread the ideology of Hamas worldwide.
The director of the board of Al-Aqsa TV, Fathi Hamid, told Islam Online in January 2006, "It's only fitting that the Islamic movement, Hamas, should have a TV station where we can explain our hopes, our Islamic culture, and counter the widespread and incorrect stereotyping of struggle and resistance as terrorism. Ultimately, we hope Al-Aqsa TV will be a bridge between Hamas and the entire world, so we can have our own voice in the international media."
Programming developed to include calls by Hamas leaders for Palestinian Arab viewers to become suicide bombers, as well as segments in support of the killing of Israelis. One example includes an address at a rally led by Sheik Fayyadh Al-Akhdhar, a Hamas leader in Nablus, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on December 23.
The Hamas religious figure said, "The Hamas of the Revolution of the Mosques, of the War of the Knives, of the car bombs, of the great martyrdom-seekers, of the Al-Qassam missiles, of the Zionists' death tunnels, of the kidnapping of the soldiers and the settlers is the same Hamas of the government, of the legislative council, and of the ministries. … It will continue to march along the path of the martyrs and to follow in their footsteps until the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the aggressive oppressors."
One notable example includes Brotherhood lawmaker Ragab Hilal Hamida's speech during a parliamentary session between January 28 and February 3, 2006, which focused on the Inter-Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism. The Arab press reported on his statements saying the Koran encourages terrorism and that he supports the activities of Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahri, and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. The report also stated that another Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker, Sheikh Ahmad Askar, agreed with Mr. Hamida's statements.
Another example illustrating the problem with the Muslim Brotherhood can be found in the ideology of its current leader. When Mr. Akef took over in 2004, he gave a series of interviews to the Egyptian press stating — among other things — that America, which he referred to as "Satan," would soon collapse. Regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001, he claimed there was no real proof that Al Qaeda was behind them and stated that in the future, Islam would take over Europe and America.
An unidentified senior official in the American government was quoted by Newsweek as saying the invitation of Brotherhood members was "cleared" by the State Department and represented the highest-level contact with the organization since September 11.
As some members of the American government pursue talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, it must be understood that this organization is no friend of America. Just two weeks ago, its leader spoke at a Cairo-based conference called "The Struggle Against the U.S. and Zionist Occupation." He stated that "the devil Bush" and his allies were really behind "sowing terror worldwide."
Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.
April 22, 2007
Scholars reject his explanations.
He wants to Islamize Europe, notably through the pressure of Muslims.
Numerous books and articles are underlining his scheme.
Among others, one should read:
Faut-il faire taire Tariq Ramadan ?, Aziz Zemouri
Frère Tariq : Discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, Caroline Fourest;
Le sabre et le coran, Tariq Ramadan et les frères musulmans à la conquéte de l'Europe, Paul Landau, 2005,
Lionel Favrot : Tariq Ramadan dévoilé - Lyon Mag'.
Jack-Alain Léger, Tartuffe fait Ramadan, Denoël, 2003,
À contre CORAN, Jack-Alain Léger, mars 2004, « Hors de moi », éditions HC
Who is Tariq Ramadan?
In the Guardian, Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim preacher and advocate, has condemned the London attack of 7th July, as indeed he did 9/11 and the attack on Madrid. But even as he spoke of these attacks he expressed doubts that they were caused by Islamist groups. We have reason to doubt his good faith.
We have reason because here in France where he is in the limelight, he says one thing in public and something entirely different to his followers. A website of his partisans, Mejliss.com, is actually full of messages approving the London attacks, arguing that it was the fault of the British. Some messages even claim that the attacks were perpetrated by a Zionist conspiracy against Muslims. Is Mr Ramadan, a model among internauts, involved in it? Not if you listen to the numerous interviews he gives, very politely, to the western press. Yes, if you study his books ands tapes selling in Islamist bookshops, as I did for nine months.
Although many intellectuals, among them Arabs and Muslims, have been warning against his influence for the past 15 years, there have always been others, more often than not western progressives, who have been tricked by his duplicity to the point of taking his side. Particularly so, of course, when he claims to be a victim of "Islamophobia" or a Zionist conspiracy. But in France, several books have now shown that Tariq Ramadan is guilty of "doublespeak": a speciality of Muslim extremists called taqiyya: the use of apparently moderate language outside (with non Moslems) while continuing to use extremely radical language inside (with Moslems). It is Tariq Ramadan's favorite sport. Under cover of an apparently moderate and peaceful discourse, this preacher has been converting a growing number of Moslems to radical political Islam.
For example, he calls himself "reformist" leading certain journalists present him as the “Martin Luther King of Islam", but his kind of fundamentalist reformism is closer to Jerry Falwell than Luther King. He calls himself the partisan of an "Islamic feminism" but forgets to mention that this involves opposing Western feminism point by point. His feminism leads young girls under his influence to veil themselves. He hates being reminded that he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Moslem Brotherhood, the doctrinal matrix which inspires all Islamists, including the most radical, such as the Hamas and al Zawahiri, yet he himself gives courses on his grandfather as “one of the greatest reformists of this century" in his cassettes and books (sold in tens of thousands of copies in Europe).
In Muslim circles, he is known not only as the deserving political heir of his grandfather but also of his father, Saïd Ramadan, the founder of the Islamic Center of Geneva, from which vantage point he coordinated the international branch of the Moslem Brothers until his death. Suspected of having succeeded to his father’s position, Tariq Ramadan was forbidden to stay in France from 1995 to 1996. Only outside the Moslem community does he deny any organic link with the Moslem Brotherhood (as do 90 % of the activists of this essentially secret organization). Nevertheless, within the Moslem community, he clearly claims the ideology of the Brotherhood. Furthermore, he remains an administrator of the Islamic Center of Geneva, the Brothers’ European Center, frequently accused of links with terrorists and placed on the list of organizations suspected of having helped finance Al Qaïda. Faced with these charges, Ramadan presents himself as a peacemaker. Nevertheless the theological references he gives to his partisans are none other than those of the star theologian of the Moslem Brothers, Youssef-al-Qaradhawi, the only Moslem dignitary to have dared proclaim a fatwa authorizing kamikaze attacks! Tariq Ramadan and Qaradawhi regularly give lectures together. All this of course is known to the American authorities who revoked his US visa by decision of the Homeland Security Department.
Tariq Ramadan openly supports Hamas as a “resistance” movement. When he’s asked whether he approves of the killing of an 8-year-old Israeli child, he answers: “That act in itself is morally condemnable but contextually explicable” because the child will grow up to be a soldier. True to the Muslim Brotherhood’s new orientation, Tariq Ramadan has pronounced the West to be “dar el shaada,” the land where he is to undertake his religious mission. He takes advantage of his charisma to tell young women that a good Muslim should be prudish, and hence veiled; to describe homosexuality as a “mental imbalance”; to justify polygamy, and to discourage mixed marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims.
There are liberal Muslims who really were shocked by what happened in London and who fight, day after day, against radical Islam. But Mister Tariq Ramadan is not one of them. To cast him in this role instead of the real liberal Muslims is dangerous and a course that Britain should avoid at all costs. The British need reconciliation and to fight together against not just terrorism but religious radicalism.
Activist, feminist and specialist in religious extremist movements, Caroline Fourest has published an in-depth analysis of the books, tapes and speeches of Tariq Ramadan ( Frère Tariq. Grasset), not yet translated into English. Frère Tariq : Discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan
April 21, 2007
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe
by Lorenzo Vidino, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."
While the Brotherhood's radical ideas have shaped the beliefs of generations of Islamists, over the past two decades, it has lost some of its power and appeal in the Middle East, crushed by harsh repression from local regimes and snubbed by the younger generations of Islamists who often prefer more radical organizations.
But the Middle East is only one part of the Muslim world. Europe has become an incubator for Islamist thought and political development. Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations. Unlike the larger Islamic community, the Muslim Brotherhood's ultimate goal may not be simply "to help Muslims be the best citizens they can be," but rather to extend Islamic law throughout Europe and the United States.
Four decades of teaching and cultivation have paid off. The student refugees who migrated from the Middle East forty years ago and their descendants now lead organizations that represent the local Muslim communities in their engagement with Europe's political elite. Funded by generous contributors from the Persian Gulf, they preside over a centralized network that spans nearly every European country.
These organizations represent themselves as mainstream, even as they continue to embrace the Brotherhood's radical views and maintain links to terrorists. With moderate rhetoric and well-spoken German, Dutch, and French, they have gained acceptance among European governments and media alike. Politicians across the political spectrum rush to engage them whenever an issue involving Muslims arises or, more parochially, when they seek the vote of the burgeoning Muslim community.
But, speaking Arabic or Turkish before their fellows Muslims, they drop their facade and embrace radicalism. While their representatives speak about interfaith dialogue and integration on television, their mosques preach hate and warn worshippers about the evils of Western society. While they publicly condemn the murder of commuters in Madrid and school children in Russia, they continue to raise money for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Europeans, eager to create a dialogue with their increasingly disaffected Muslim minority, overlook this duplicity. The case is particularly visible in Germany, which retains a place of key importance in Europe, not only because of its location at the heart of Europe, but also because it played host to the first major wave of Muslim Brotherhood immigrants and is host to the best-organized Brotherhood presence. The German government's reaction is also instructive if only to show the dangers of accepting Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric at face value, without looking at the broader scope of its activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The situation in Germany is particularly telling. More than anywhere else in Europe, the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany has gained significant power and political acceptance. Islamist organizations in other European countries now consciously follow the model pioneered by their German peers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Muslim students left the Middle East to study at German universities, drawn not only by the German institutions' technical reputations but also by a desire to escape repressive regimes. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime was especially vigorous in its attempts to root out the Islamist opposition. Beginning in 1954, several members of the Muslim Brotherhood fled Egypt to escape arrest or assassination. West Germany provided a welcome refuge. Bonn's motivations were not simply altruistic. As terrorism expert Khalid Durán explained in his studies on jihadism in Europe, the West German government had decided to cut diplomatic relations with countries that recognized East Germany. When Egypt and Syria established diplomatic relations with the communist government, Bonn decided to welcome Syrian and Egyptian political refugees. Often, these dissidents were Islamists. Many members of the Muslim Brotherhood were already familiar with Germany. Several had cooperated with the Nazis before and during World War II. Some had even, reportedly, fought in the infamous Bosnian Handschar division of the Schutzstaffel (SS).
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa‘id Ramadan, the personal secretary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Ramadan, an Egyptian who had led the Muslim Brotherhood's irregulars in Palestine in 1948, moved to Geneva in 1958 and attended law school in Cologne. In Germany, he founded what has become one of Germany's three main Muslim organizations, the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (Islamic Society of Germany, IGD), over which he presided from 1958 to 1968. Ramadan also cofounded the Muslim World League, a well-funded organization that the Saudi establishment uses to spread its radical interpretation of Islam throughout the world. The U.S. government closely monitors the activities of the Muslim World League, which it accuses of financing terrorism. In March 2002, a U.S. Treasury Department-led task force raided the group's Northern Virginia offices looking for documents tying the group to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In January 2004, the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue Service for its records on the Muslim World League "as part of an investigation into possible links between nongovernmental organizations and terrorist financing networks." This privileged relationship with the oil-rich kingdom granted Ramadan an influx of money, which he used to fund the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva and to bankroll several financial and religious activities. Hani Ramadan, Sa‘id's son, currently runs the Islamic Center. Among its other board members is Sa‘id's other son, Tariq Ramadan, who recently made headlines in the United States when the Department of Homeland Security revoked his visa to teach at Notre Dame University. Sa‘id Ramadan's case is not isolated.
Following Ramadan's ten-year presidency of the IGD, Pakistani national Fazal Yazdani briefly led the IGD before Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian with Italian citizenship, took the helm. During his long stewardship (1973-2002), Himmat shuttled between Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Intelligence agencies around the world have long scrutinized Himmat's terrorist connections. He is one of the founders of the Bank al-Taqwa, a powerful conglomerate dubbed by Italian intelligence, "Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood," which has financed terrorist groups since the mid-1990s if not earlier. Himmat helped Youssef Nada, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's financial masterminds, run Al-Taqwa and a web of companies headquartered in locations such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Bahamas, which maintain few regulations on monetary origin or destination. Both Himmat and Nada reportedly funneled large sums to groups such as Hamas and the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front and set up a secret credit line for a top associate of Osama bin Laden.
In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both Himmat and Nada as terrorism financiers.
According to Italian intelligence, the Al-Taqwa network also financed several Islamic centers throughout Europe and many Islamist publications, including Risalatul Ikhwan, the official magazine of the Muslim Brotherhood. After the U.S. Treasury Department designation, Himmat resigned from the IGD's presidency. His successor was Ibrahim el-Zayat, a 36-year-old of Egyptian descent and the charismatic leader of numerous student organizations.
The fact that IGD leaders Ramadan and Himmat are among the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood members of the last half-century suggests the links between the IGD and the Ikhwan. Moreover, reports issued by internal intelligence agencies from various German states openly call the IGD an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. In particular, according to one intelligence report, the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has dominated the IGD since its early days.
The Muslim Brotherhood—led by Ramadan and Himmat—sponsored the construction of the imposing Islamic Center of Munich in 1960, aided by large donations from Middle Eastern rulers such as King Fahd of Saudi Arabia who, according to a 1967 Sueddeutsche Zeitung article, donated 80,000 marks. The Ministry of Interior of Nordrhein-Westfalen states that the Islamic Center of Munich has been one of the European headquarters for the Brotherhood since its foundation. The center publishes a magazine, Al-Islam, whose efforts (according to an Italian intelligence dossier), are financed by the Bank al-Taqwa. According to the interior minister of Baden-Württemberg, Al-Islam shows explicitly how the German Brothers reject the concept of a secular state. Its February 2002 issue, for example, states.
In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of German family, estate, and trial law. … Muslims should aim at an agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a separate jurisdiction for Muslims.
The IGD, of which the Islamic Center of Munich is one of the most important members, represents the main offshoot of the Egyptian Brotherhood in Germany. But the IGD is also the quintessential example of how the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power in Europe. The IGD has grown significantly over the years, and it now incorporates dozens of Islamic organizations throughout the country. Islamic centers from more than thirty German cities have joined its umbrella. Today, the IGD's real strength lies in its cooperation with and sponsorship of many Islamic youth and student organizations across Germany.
This focus on youth organizations came after Zayat's succession. He understood the importance of focusing on the next generation of German Muslims and launched recruitment drives to get young Muslims involved in Islamic organizations. But a Meckenheim police report on the sharply dressed Zayat also reveals alarming connections. German authorities openly say he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi nongovernmental organization that seeks to spread Wahhabism, the radical and intolerant Saudi interpretation of Islam, throughout the world with its literature and schools. WAMY, which falls under the umbrella of the Muslim World League, has the stated goal of "arming the Muslim youth with full confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems." It is the largest Muslim youth organization in the world and can boast unparalleled resources. In 1991 WAMY published a book called Tawjihat Islamiya (Islamic Views) that stated, "Teach our children to love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that our youngsters will liberate Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem] when they go back to Islam and make jihad for the sake of Allah." The sentiments in Tawjihat Islamiya are the rule rather than the exception. Many other WAMY publications are filled with strong anti-Semitic and anti-Christian rhetoric.
Meckenheim police also link Zayat to Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines, a French school that prepares European imams. Several radical clerics lecture at the school and several European intelligence agencies accuse the school of spreading religious hatred. German authorities also highlight the fact that he is involved in several money laundering investigations. Zayat has never been indicted for terrorist activity, but he has dubious financial dealings and maintains associations with many organizations that spread religious hatred. The IGD may have changed leadership after the U.S. Treasury's designation of Himmat, but it did not change direction.
While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has chosen Munich as its base of operations in Germany, its Syrian branch is headquartered in Aachen, a German town near the Dutch border. The former Carolingian capital, with its famous university, is now home to a large Muslim population including the prominent Syrian Al-Attar family. The first Attar to move to Aachen was Issam, who fled persecution in his native country in the 1950s when he was leader of the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood soon followed. With time, Islamists from other countries adopted Attar's Bilal mosque in Aachen as their base of operations. From hosting exiled Algerian terrorists to operating a charity designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a financial front for Hamas, Aachen is well known to intelligence agencies throughout the world.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood base in Aachen kept close relations with their Egyptian counterparts. For example, confirming the tendency of important Muslim Brotherhood families to close alliance through intermarriage, Issam al-Attar's son married the daughter of Al-Taqwa banker Youssef Nada. Links between the two Muslim Brotherhood branches are more extensive than a single marriage, however. The Aachen Islamic Center reportedly received funding from Al-Taqwa. Staff members have rotated between the Islamic Centers in Aachen and Munich. For example, Ahmed von Denffer, editor of the Islamic Center of Munich's Al-Islam magazine, came to Munich from Aachen. Nevertheless, some distance remains. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has never joined the IGD, instead preferring to keep some form of independence.
Of all of Zayat's financial activities, the one that has attracted the German authorities' greatest suspicion has been his association with officials of Milli Görüş (National Vision, in Turkish). Milli Görüş, which has 30,000 members and perhaps another 100,000 sympathizers, claims to defend the rights of Germany's immigrant Turkish population, giving them a voice in the democratic political arena while "preserving their Islamic identity. But Milli Görüş has another agenda. While publicly declaring its interest in democratic debate and a willingness to see Turkish immigrants integrated into European societies, some Milli Görüş leaders have expressed contempt for democracy and Western values. The Bundesverfassungsschutz, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, has repeatedly warned about Milli Görüş' activities, describing the group in its annual reports as a "foreign extremist organization." The agency also reported that "although Milli Görüş, in public statements, pretends to adhere to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic state and social system are, as before, among its goals."
Milli Görüş' history alone indicates why the group should be considered radical. Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan, whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in January of 1998 for "activities against the country's secular regime," is still Milli Görüş' undisputed leader, even if his nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president. The 2002 European Milli Görüş meeting held in the Dutch city of Arnhem, where Nehmettin Erbakan was the keynote speaker, provides a glimpse into Milli Görüş' ideology. After a tirade against the evils of integration in the West and U.S. policies, Erbakan declared that "after the fall of the wall, the West has found an enemy in Islam. A Bundesverfassungsschutz report reveals Milli Görüş' real aims:
While in recent times, the Milli Görüş has increasingly emphasized the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the organization.
Milli Görüş pushes an agenda similar to that of the IGD, even if its target is more limited. Nevertheless, both Milli Görüş and the IGD collaborate on many initiatives. There is also a family connection. Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan. The siblings' mother is also involved in politics and runs an important Islamic women's organization in Germany. The Zayat family is active as well. Ibrahim el-Zayat's father is the imam of the Marburg mosque; other members of his family are involved in Islamic organizations. As Udo Ulfkotte, a political science professor specializing in counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg and an expert on Islamic terrorism, notes, the Erbakans and the Zayats lead networks of organizations that aim at the radicalization, respectively, of the Turkish and Arab communities in Germany.
IGD and Milli Görüş are active in their efforts to increase political influence and become the official representatives of the entire German Muslim community. With well-endowed budgets, their mosques provide social services, organize conferences, and distribute literature nationwide. As the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Landesverfassungsschutz) in Hessen notes:
The threat of Islamism for Germany is posed … primarily by Milli Görüş and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement … for all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Qur'an and of the Shari‘a. … Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom should be treated with caution.
It presents a problem that politicians and security services in Germany view the IGD and Milli Görüş so differently. But, as Ulfkotte wrote about Zayat in his book, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (The War in Our Cities), "politicians of all colors and parties try to reach out to him." For example, the prestigious Berlin Catholic Academy invited Zayat to represent the Muslim point of view in an inter-religious meeting organized by the academy in October 2002. German politicians and Christian institutions regularly partner themselves with Milli Görüş in various initiatives. Milli Gazete, the official journal of Milli Görüş, once stated that "Milli Görüş is a shield protecting our fellow citizens from assimilation into barbaric Europe." Nevertheless, German politicians meet regularly with Milli Görüş officials to discuss immigration and integration issues. The fact that an official like Ahmed al-Khalifah, IGD secretary general, represents Islam before members of parliament who are discussing religious tolerance, shows the success of Brotherhood-linked organizations' efforts to gain acceptance as the representatives of German Muslims. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution well described these efforts, saying that Milli Görüş (and the IGD) "strives to dominate regional or nationwide federations and umbrella organizations for Muslims which are increasingly gaining importance as interlocutors for state and ecclesiastical authorities and thus to expand its influence within society."
Zentralrat, the Islamist Umbrella
In 1989, under the auspices of Abdullah at-Turki, powerful dean of Bin Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudis created the Islamische Konzil Deutschland (Islamic Council of Germany). Turki assumed the presidency with other top positions held by Ibrahim el-Zayat, Hasan Özdögan, a high-ranking Milli Görüş official, and Ahmad Khalifa, an officer from the Islamic Center of Munich. While an official German parliament report describes the Islamische Konzil as just "another Sunni organization," such an assumption indicates a dangerous misunderstanding of the Saudi relationship to German Islamists.
The trend toward consolidation took a step forward in 1994 when German Islamists realized that a united coalition translated into greater political relevance and influence. Nineteen organizations, including the IGD, the Islamic Center of Munich, and the Islamic Center of Aachen, created an umbrella organization, the Zentralrat der Muslime. According to a senior German intelligence official, at least nine out of these nineteen organizations belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. The German press has recently investigated the Zentralrat president, Nadeem Elyas, a German-educated Saudi physician and an official of the Islamic Center of Aachen. Die Welt linked Elyas to Christian Ganczarski, an Al-Qaeda operative currently jailed as one of the masterminds of the 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia. Ganczarski, a German of Polish descent who converted to Islam, told authorities that Al-Qaeda recruited him at the Islamic University of Medina where Elyas sent him to study. Elyas said he could not remember meeting him but did not deny the possibility that Ganczarski, who never completed high school, might have been one of the many individuals he had sent over the years to radical schools in Saudi Arabia. Saudi donors paid all of Ganczarski's expenses. Ganczarski was not alone. Elyas admitted to having sent hundreds of German Muslims to study at one of the most radical universities in Saudi Arabia.
The Zentralrat, which portrays itself as the umbrella organization for German Muslim organizations, has become, together with the IGD and Milli Görüş, the de facto representative of three million German Muslims. Even though the IGD is a member of the Zentralrat, the two organizations often operate independently. Their apparent independence is planned. With many organizations operating under different names, the Muslim Brotherhood fools German politicians who believe they are consulting a spectrum of opinion. The media seek the Zentralrat's officials when they want the Muslim view on everything from the debate about the admissibility of the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, to the war in Iraq, and so forth. Politicians seek the Zentralrat's endorsement when they want to reach out to the Muslim community. Many German politicians are uninformed about Islam and do not understand that the view and the interpretation of Islam that the Zentralrat expresses, as does the IGD and Milli Görüş, is that of the Muslim Brotherhood and not that of traditional Islam.
Accordingly, the Zentralrat expresses total opposition to any ban of the hijab, supports Wahhabi-influenced Islamic education in schools, and endorses a radical position on the Middle East situation. While many Muslims endorse these views, the problem is that the Zentralrat neither represents nor tolerates those with divergent views. Moderate German Muslim groups lack the funding and organization of Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups. In terms of numbers, influence on the Muslim community, and political relevance, the Zentralrat and its two most important constituent parts, the IGD and Milli Görüş, dominate the scene. With ample Saudi financing, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to become the voice of the Muslims in Germany.
Recently, the German public was shocked to hear what is preached inside Saudi-funded mosques and schools. In the fall of 2003, a hidden camera-equipped journalist from Germany's ARD television infiltrated the Saudi-built King Fahd Academy in Bonn and taped what it taught to young Muslim children. One teacher called for jihad against the infidels. While the images elicited a rebuke from German politicians, the rather sterile debate about Saudi influence on German Muslims has not effected tangible change. Saudi officials and Saudi-run nongovernmental organizations continue to groom Muslim Brotherhood organizations.
First Germany, Then Europe
While the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites, Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions throughout Europe. In France, the extremist Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) has become the predominant organization in the government's Islamic Council. In Italy, the extremist Unione delle Comunita' ed Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Union of the Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy) is the government's prime partner in dialogue regarding Italian Islamic issues.
In parallel to European Union integration efforts, the Muslim Brotherhood is also seeking to integrate its various European proxies. Over the past fifteen years, the Muslim Brotherhood has created a series of pan-European organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, in which representatives from national organizations can meet and plan initiatives. Perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood's greatest pan-European impact has, as with the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland, been with its youth organization. In June 1996, Muslim youth organizations from Sweden, France, and England joined forces with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to create a European Islamic youth organization. Three months later, thirty-five delegates from eleven countries met in Leicester and formally launched the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which maintains its headquarters in Brussels.
According to its official publications, FEMYSO is "a network of 42 national and international organizations bringing together youth from over 26 different countries." FEMYSO proudly stated in 2003 that over the preceding four years it had become
The de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe. It is regularly consulted on issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe. It has also developed useful links with: the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the European Youth Forum, and numerous relevant NGOs at the European level.
Ibrahim el-Zayat, who held the presidency until his commitments in Germany forced him to step down, even used the FEMYSO perch to address the European Parliament. Because the Muslim Brotherhood provides the bulk of FEMYSO's constituent organizations, it provides the "de facto voice of the Muslim youth in Europe."
While FEMYSO claims that it "is committed to fighting prejudices at all the levels, so that the future of Europe is a multicultural, inclusive and respectful one," such statements ring hollow given the position of sponsors like the World Assembly of Muslim Youth which believes that "the Jews are enemies of the faithful, God, and the Angels; the Jews are humanity's enemies. … Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the Jews."
The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and building these Islamist organizations. Why have Europeans been so naïve? Bassam Tibi, a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans—and Germans in particular—fear the accusation of racism. Radicals in sheep's clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim persecution. Journalists who are not frightened by these appellatives are swamped with baseless and unsuccessful but expensive lawsuits.
In some cases, politicians simply fail to check the backgrounds of those who claim to be legitimate representatives for the Muslim community. As in the United States, self-described representatives for the Muslim community are far more radical than the populations they represent. In other cases, politicians realize that these organizations are not the ideal counterparts in a constructive dialogue but do not take the time to seek other less visible but more moderate organizations, several of which exist only at the grassroots level, impeded by financial constraints.
What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting, especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim communities. The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also become a reality in Europe.
Lorenzo Vidino is deputy director at the Investigative Project, a Washington D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.