Brotherhood Members Gather in D.C. to Blast Egyptian Government

mb-theaterby John Rossomando
IPT News
September 21, 2016

Roughly two dozen Egyptians opposed to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, some with Muslim Brotherhood connections, signed a declaration last week in Washington endorsing a civil constitution that separates mosque and state. Three of the declaration’s points involve prosecuting current Egyptian officials.

Sisi, a former general, assumed power in July 2013 after his military forces ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. Sisi was elected president with an overwhelming 96 percent of the vote in 2014.

He has cracked down on dissent, especially by the Muslim Brotherhood, imprisoning 29,000 Brotherhood members, mainly on terrorism charges.

They, in turn, have organized campaigns against the government, calling it the product of a coup.

In a Facebook post, one participant explained the statement was issued from Washington after “all other places rejected the meeting.”

The fourth point of their 10-point “Washington Initiative” endorses the creation of a civil state. It calls for “[d]rafting a civil constitution which expressly stipulates no state interference in religious institutions or vice versa, and no military intervention in the political process. It will establish rights and freedoms according to the basis of international human rights declarations and global covenants.”

This declaration also endorsed pluralism, freedom of expression, press freedom, and full equality of all Egyptian citizens. It also calls for releasing political prisoners.

Many of these positions are inconsistent with the Brotherhood’s policies during its year in power. Muslim Brotherhood leaders had promised to bring about democratic reforms once in office. Instead, they resorted to the same sort of repression found during Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year reign. This became clear after Morsi asserted emergency powers in November 2012.

“It was clear from President Morsi’s first day in office that his program for the first 100 days of his term paid little attention to addressing human rights issues and realizing Egyptians’ aspirations for democratization,” the Cairo Institute for Human Rights said in a new report issued in June.

Morsi created the underpinnings of an authoritarian regime in place of Mubarak, the institute said.

Military trials for civilians continued under Muslim Brotherhood rule and accusations of defamation of religion frequently were used to stifle freedom of expression, the institute reported. Press freedom also suffered during Morsi’s presidency.

The delegation in Washington last week included Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, foreign affairs chairman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s banned Freedom and Justice Party, and a frequent participant in pro-Brotherhood lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital.

Dardery previously rejected the separation of mosque and state.

“The issue of the separation of religion from politics is a church issue and it does not apply to Islam,” Dardery said in a Feb. 15, 2014 speech he gave at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “Democracy is the rule of people [for] the people by the people within the limit of what God allows. Islam is a choice, is a contract between me and God.”

Dardery’s statement at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee more closely resembles the International Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws, which ultimately envisions an Islamic state.

“The need to work on establishing the Islamic State, which seeks to effectively implement the provisions of Islam and its teachings. Defend the nation against the internal enemies, try to present the true teachings of Islam and communicate its ideas to the world,” Article 2, Paragraph E of the bylaws say.

In contrast, Dardery claimed in a more public setting a year later that the Muslim Brotherhood did not want a religious state.

“We’re not calling for a religious law, we’re not calling for a theocracy; we’re standing against theocracy, period. What we are calling for is a democracy that can bring the liberals, the leftists, the nationalists, or the Muslim Brotherhood, because they’re all equal,” Dardery told a University of California, Berkeley audience.

He also affirmed in the speech the idea of a civil state with Islamic principles, meaning that the state would be governed by laypersons under a constitution and that laws would be made within the boundaries of Islamic shariah. This concept contrasts with the Iranian model where clerics rule directly over the people.

The 2012 Egyptian constitution drafted under Morsi’s rule had created a civil state butmade laws subject to review by Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important institution.

Amnesty International faulted the Muslim Brotherhood’s last attempt to write a constitution for blocking women’s path to full equality and failing to protect minorities.

“It is therefore no wonder that the constitution, drafted solely by political Islamists, further entrenches both political and religious despotism and paves the way for a Sunni theocracy similar to the Iranian model,” the Cairo Institute for Human Rights wrote.

Michael Meunier, a Coptic Christian who helped organize and coordinate factions involved in the 2011 revolt that toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, dismissed the D.C. gathering and its resulting declaration as smoke and mirrors.

“All the [people in] attendance are members of the MB disguised under different banners. I know several of them and definitely they don’t speak for [a] civil state and did not support the creation of a civil state in 2011. [Their] insistence on Jan 25th as the official revolution gives away their motive. They don’t want to acknowledge June 30th as a Revolution since it was against the MB,” Meunier said in an email.

The declaration had more to do with persuading American policymakers to support the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian government, Meunier said. The Brotherhood used similar rhetoric before it came to power in Egypt but failed to deliver after Morsi’s inauguration.

“They love playing under different umbrellas,” Meunier said. “They say one thing in English and another in Arabic.”

Dardery’s contradictory statements support Meunier’s point that Muslim Brotherhood members vary their message depending on their audience.

Egypt’s Youm 7 newspaper identified other Brotherhood-linked figures who participated in the recent conference. In addition to Dardery, participants included former Morsi adviser Seif El-Din Abdel Fattah; Ayman Nour, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sharq Channel; Muhammad Mahsoub of the Wasat Party; and Brotherhood analyst Essam Hajji.

The declaration triggered “earthquakes inside the Brotherhood camp” after its signing,Youm 7 reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood disavowed any formal participation in the conference and said any Brotherhood members who participated did so on their own.

“Media reports announcing the outcome of the ‘dialogue’ workshop held recently in Washington, attended by some political activists, also claimed representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood were present. This is not true. The group had no knowledge of anyone representing it in that workshop,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Talat Fahmy said in a statement posted on the Brotherhood’s own website, Ikhwanweb. “The Muslim Brotherhood reiterates that any views, opinion, stances or attitudes attributed to it must be so expressed through its own institutions and spokespersons.”

Other Islamists denounced the document as a “farce” because it does not recognize the Islamic nature of Egypt.

Hamas-Supporting MB Figures Meet With Congress, State Dept.

by John Rossomando
IPT News
January 29, 2015

1121A delegation including senior exiled members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and two people with a history of open support for Hamas lobbied senators Wednesday.

The delegation requested a meeting with several senators, a Senate source told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

The delegation sought help in restoring former President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. Morsi-era parliamentarians, government ministers and judges formed the Egyptian Revolutionary Council in Istanbul, Turkey last August with the aim of toppling Egypt’s military government. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The delegation arrived in Washington Monday and will leave Thursday, according to a brief provided to the Senate offices. A Facebook post Wednesday by former Egyptian Judge Waleed Sharaby showed him alongside fellow delegation members on Capitol Hill.

The delegation also includes Sarwat Nafei, a self-described liberal elected as speaker of the Egyptian parliament in exile; Maha Azzam, head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council; Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, an exiled Muslim Brotherhood member and Egyptian parliamentarian; and Mohammed Gamal Heshmat, an exiled member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s shura council and Egyptian parliamentarian.

Sharaby’s Facebook page shows him at the State Department on Monday. In a Facebook posting Thursday, Heshmat claimed he met with “a representative of the White House” as well. “The voice of the Egyptian revolution must be loud everywhere,” he wrote.

Sharaby and Heshmat have openly expressed support for Hamas.

 

Mohammed Gamal Heshmat, second from the left, with Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal.

Heshmat’s Facebook page features a picture of him posing with Hamas Chairman Khaled Meshaal. He told the IPT that he met Meshaal during a conference in Doha, Qatar last June, and said he did not have a “continuous relationship” or a “dark relationship” with the terrorist leader.

The Muslim Brotherhood leader has a long history of supporting Palestinian terrorists. Heshmat “wants to send weapons to the Palestinians, and even send Egyptians to fight,” Deborah Amos reported in 2002 for “NOW with Bill Moyers.”

Heshmat denied making the statement when the IPT asked about it Tuesday, saying all he had ever favored was sending “humanitarian aid” to help the Palestinians.

In an August 2012 Facebook posting, he denied that Muslims were responsible for a terrorist attack in the Sinai. “[I]t is unreasonable that the Muslims carried out such an incident, because if it were a jihadist operation, it would be the first inside Israeli territory,” the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

He blamed “an American Zionist plot” for Egypt’s military crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013. In a Facebook posting last July, Heshmat called Israeli Jews “the descendants of pigs and monkeys” who were fighting against the “Palestine of Jihad.”

Similarly, Sharaby, although not a Muslim Brotherhood member, wrote an article last July praising the memories of Hamas co-founders Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Sharaby’s article poetically praises Hamas:

“Or shall I tell you how this blessed movement developed the thought of resistance in record time and under the circumstances in which it was impossible to verify that these results? From throwing stones at the enemy, to stabbing him with a knife, to the sniper shot, to the IED, to martyrdom operations in the heart of the Zionist Entity, to the short-range missiles, to the long-range missiles to attack Israeli military units which made the people of Israel go into bunkers!!!”

The Saudi tabloid Al-Madina slammed the State Department meeting Wednesday, calling the delegation “terrorists.” Saudi officials labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group last year.

The State Department defended the meeting in an email to the IPT. “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.”

Before coming to Washington, Dardery, Sharaby and Heshmat participated in a forumin New Jersey sponsored by Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice, which an Egyptian newspaper describes as a “Brotherhood organization.” The forum was also attended by noted Islamist leader Mohammed Qatanani.

Heshmat and Sharaby arrived in the U.S. on Jan. 20, according to the Facebook page of Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice.

Appearing at an event Tuesday sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) at the National Press Club, Azzam called the discussions with the State Department “fruitful.”

“There was an overlap and a common reading of the situation, of the threat of the current regime to human rights and the rule of law,” Azzam said regarding the feedback her delegation received from the State Department. “They welcomed the continued engagement with us.”

Delegation members told the State Department that support for President Abdel Fatah Sisi’s regime ran contrary to American values and national interests. They asked the U.S. not to get in the way of the Egyptian people’s “fight for their own freedom,” Azzam said.

Tuesday’s CSID event emphasized the Sisi regime’s killing, torturing and jailing of political opponents. Speakers pointed to a 2014 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that found that Sisi and the Egyptian military were likely guilty of “crimes against humanity.”

The military government killed thousands of Egyptians, jailing thousands of innocent protesters and imprisoning over 40,000 political dissidents of all stripes, according to Azzam , including liberals, Islamists and others.

Nafei accused the media of creating “a complete fabrication” about the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood wished to create a religious state both before and after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

“The reality is that it’s democracy, pro-democracy,” Nafei said. “There is no religious state. There is no threat coming from a religious state.”

The delegation urged Egyptian-Americans of all stripes – Coptic Christian and Muslim – to unite against the Sisi government. Dardery asked Copts, who have overwhelmingly supported Sisi, to come to their side.

“The constitution that was made in 2013 … states clearly that all Egyptians are equal,” Dardery told the IPT. “There is no difference between a Christian, a Muslim and Jew.

“We’ve been living together for the past 1,400 years,” he continued. “We’ve been living with churches next to mosques.”

Dardery’s sentiments did not convince Michael Meunier, a Coptic leader and Sisi supporter who embraced the 2011 revolution early on. The Brotherhood was behind violence that has swept Egypt since Morsi’s fall, Meunier told the IPT from Cairo. He noted that Coptic churches were burned by the Brotherhood’s supporters, and St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo was attacked by Islamists during Morsi’s tenure.

Meunier had terse words for the State Department, saying that meeting with this delegation furthers the perception that the U.S. was behind the Brotherhood’s rise to power and heightens tensions between Egyptians and Americans.

IPT Exclusive: Records Prove MB Delegates Skipped Airport Inspections

Muslim Brotherhood Burns Churches, Scapegoats Christians Following Crackdown

by John Rossomando:

Pro-Morsi Demonstrations Make MB Ties Harder to Hide

Rally Organizers Deny Ties with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

by Abha Shankar
IPT News

IPT Exclusive: State Department Barred Inspection of Muslim Brotherhood Delegation

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
April 9, 2012

The State Department broke with normal procedures last week when it ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) not to conduct a secondary inspection on members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on their way to visit government officials and think tanks in the United States.

This happened despite the fact that one member of the delegation had been implicated – though not charged – in a U.S. child pornography investigation, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery

According to senior enforcement sources and documents reviewed by the IPT, investigators had information tying Abdul Mawgoud Dardery to the pornography investigation that was based in Pennsylvania. He was the senior member in the four-person FJP delegation which held court with academic groups and met with senior officials at the White House and State Department last week. (For more on what they said, click here.)

The FJP recently won a plurality of seats in recent elections to determine makeup of the next Egyptian Parliament.

Before returning to Egypt, Dardery lived in the United States long enough to attain legal permanent residency, known as a green card. That status lapsed after he left the country for more than six months. The child pornography investigation took place during Dardery’s time here and was noted in his immigration file. It surfaced when CBP officials learned of his pending visit.

A U.S. official familiar with immigration procedures told the IPT that extra inspection is standard operating procedure when a foreign visitor has been tied to criminal or terrorist activities. “Secondary inspections” involve going through the visitor’s baggage and viewing the contents of computers and other electronic devices to search for evidence of illicit activity. Agents would typically search other members of the party to ensure Dardery did not hand off his computer equipment to an associate to avoid detection.

Read more…