How Hamas is winning hearts and minds in Europe

Via conferences and through hierarchies linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Gaza-based terror group is building global infrastructure to challenge PLO’s standing as Palestinians’ sole legitimate representative

The Times of Israel, by March 14, 2017:

At the end of February, in Istanbul, the Palestinians Abroad Conference convened with the purported goal of promoting global support for the Palestinians. Its actual purpose was to bolster the status of Hamas in the international arena.

Many of the organizers of the conference, which was attended by thousands of Arabs and Palestinians from all over the world, are of Palestinian origin. But to those who closely followed what happened in Istanbul, it became clear that many of the organizers and attendees had something else in common: they are known to have been members — for decades — of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated networks all over Europe.

This was not the first conference of its kind. Many like it have taken place in recent years. Many of the same faces are present — including current and past members of the Muslim Brotherhood, at a more or less official level, and current and past members of Hamas.

Their shared goal is to promote international legitimacy for Hamas — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East (of course) and even in Latin America — in a bid to challenge the PLO’s international standing as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Hamas, in this way, is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance.

Tracing the outlines of this infrastructure lends some surprising insights. For example, Britain turns out to be hosting more of this semi-official activity by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood than any other country in Europe.

Then-Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and freed Palestinian prisoner Yahya Sinwar, a founder of the terror group’s military wing, wave as supporters celebrate the release of hundreds of inmates in a swap for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza on October 21, 2011. (AFP/Said Khatib)

One almost quintessential example of such activity under innocent-seeming cover is the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign.

“This group was established in 2003 in Saudi Arabia,” said Dr. Ehud Rosen, an expert on political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood who assisted Steven Merley, another expert, in writing a comprehensive study on the topic. Merley started a website, Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, which reports on Muslim Brotherhood activity all over the world.

“It was initiated by two former members of al-Qaeda, both from Saudi Arabia, who tried to brand the new organization as ‘non-violent,’” Rosen said. “The organization was rebooted in Qatar in 2005 [following the Saudi government’s objections to hosting it on Saudi soil]. Its founding group from 2005 includes high-ranking Hamas officials, including political leader Khaled Mashaal, alongside representatives of other groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s global organization, Salafists and Salafi jihadists.

“The group has held many conferences and issued fatwas against the West, such as against France after it began military action in Mali.”

The Campaign began focusing on Gaza in 2009, during and after Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli military campaign aimed at stopping rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At a conference held in February 2009, the group decided to turn Gaza into a new front for jihad under the auspices of the “Istanbul Declaration.” The declaration, signed by 90 Muslim clerics from all over the world, including members of Hamas, stated that the Palestinian Authority was not the representative of the Palestinian people, while the “elected government of Hamas,” was in fact the legitimate representative.

The statement attacked the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative — a proposal that offers normalization of ties between Arab countries and Israel in exchange for Israel pulling out of territories claimed by Palestinians — calling it nothing less than “a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people.”

“This [Global Anti-Aggression Campaign] group, like some other Muslim groups throughout Europe, does not call itself the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ or a supporter of Hamas. These are networks of groups scattered over nearly the entire world. For their part, Muslim Brotherhood leaders claim their movement is active in 80 countries, but since September 11, 2001, and even before, the groups that are identified with [the Brotherhood] have denied any connection,” Rosen said.

“Take another example: FIOE, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe,” he said. “Thirty-seven different groups in different countries on the continent operate under that organization, and over the years have created an image for themselves as ‘the legitimate representatives’ — the Islamic mainstream. The group is known as IGD in Germany and UOIF in France. The same thing is going on in Scandinavia and almost everywhere.”

These networks operate according to the long-established model of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. In each country there is a network of civil society organizations — in other words, dawa, a word in Arabic meaning proselytizing or preaching of Islam. These organizations are run by well-known figures who head madrasas, or Muslim schools; mosques; charitable organizations that raise money not only for Muslims in Europe but also for Hamas; and even student associations in every well-known university in Europe. Recently, Muslim “human rights” groups have been established that work to strengthen support for the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Essam Mustafa (Youtube screenshot)

Many prominent figures in these groups, again, operate on British soil. Here are some examples.

Anas Altikriti, a native of Iraq, is the son of a high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood official. His father fled Saddam Hussein’s regime to Britain. He himself was born in Iraq, but has lived in London since he was two years old. He visited the White House two years ago and met with president Barack Obama. Though he supports its policies, he says he is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muhammad Sawalha, of Palestinian origin, is very well known to the Israeli security establishment as one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank. He also lives in London.

Zaher Birawi, a former Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip, was one of the spokesmen of the Mavi Marmara flotilla and has been involved in other flotillas.

Essam Yusuf Mustafa is a former member of Hamas’s political wing, at least according to the US Treasury Department. Mustafa, one of the organizers of the latest conference in Istanbul, is on the board of trustees of another organization, Interpal, which was declared a terrorism-supporting organization by the United States as far back as 2003. Both Birawi and Mustafa live in Britain.

Members of the Palestinian Hamas security forces stage mock raid on IDF post during a graduation ceremony in Gaza City on January 22, 2017. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Mustafa was a leader of a group called the Charity Coalition (also known as the Union of Good), which raised money for Hamas in the early 2000s and gained the spiritual support of Yusuf al-Qardawi, the leading Sunni cleric and Muslim Brotherhood member. The Turkish IHH group, which was one of the organizers of the Marmara flotilla, was also part of the Charity Coalition.

There are others, in and out of Britain: Ismail Patel, head of the Friends of Al-Aqsa group; Daud Abdullah, originally from Grenada, a former member of the Muslim Council of Britain, who helps operate a news site which takes a pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance; Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian who is the CEO of the Alhiwar television station, which operates from London and is considered explicitly pro-Hamas (Zaher Birawi hosts a show on the station); Egyptian-born Ibrahim el-Zayat, currently living in Germany, who is considered a key figure in the financial dealings of these networks; and Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, also Egyptian by birth, who chairs the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and lives in London.

Rosen, who has been tracking these names for quite some time, said there is a distinction between members of the official Muslim Brotherhood, such as those who operate in Egypt, and the networks that are thought to be identified with them.

“These are in effect groups that sprang up from former members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt in the 1960s and settled in Europe. These groups were founded without any direct orders [from the Brotherhood], without a centralized command structure or a prominent commander,” he explained.

“But there are definite networks here, with major nexuses, such as London or Germany. They cooperate with the official Muslim Brotherhood and with Hamas.

“Hamas’s place in the enormous organization known as the global Muslim Brotherhood is growing right now,” he said. “Hamas is the movement’s own flesh and blood, and it wants to take control of the PLO. This is why its global activity has taken on a new importance. The Palestinian organization is trying to re-invent itself, with a new platform and a supposedly more moderate direction, but they are still the same organization.

“The whole BDS issue benefits from this Islamist infrastructure and receives assistance from organizations that are identified with Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Rosen. “And there is persistent talk of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas’s political wing, replacing Ibrahim Munir as the chair of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.”

***

Double Games Of The UK Muslim Brotherhood

IPT, by John Ware
Standpoint Magazine
March 2016

Last December, the British government published a summary of the findings of a classified Review of the Brotherhood both in Britain and abroad. The Review was ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron and was conducted by two of Britain’s most expert civil servants in the Arab world and Islamist ideology. They concluded that the Brotherhood was secretive, that its claim to have officially disowned violence was not credible and that aspects of its ideology and tactics both in the UK and abroad were “contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security.” UK Brotherhood associates identified in the Review have responded angrily, denying they are “in any way linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.” British journalist John Ware examines their response in the latest edition of the British magazine Standpoint which describes as its core mission the “celebration of western civilisation.”

John Ware is a British journalist who was a senior correspondent for the BBC’s flagship investigative current affairs programme, Panorama, from 1986 to 2012. He has written extensively about the origins, growth and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the UK which he says closely parallels its American counterpart.

Anas Altikriti (right) with Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-war event in 2003: Altikriti has said that Iraqis had the right to expel the "occupation" (©Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

Anas Altikriti (right) with Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-war event in 2003: Altikriti has said that Iraqis had the right to expel the “occupation” (©Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

The tone was plaintive, almost bewildered. “We work tirelessly for the good of British society on several fronts,” Anas Altikriti protested before calling a press conference to refute the government’s charge that he and other like-minded Muslim leaders are doing the opposite.

A classified government review by two of Britain’s leading civil servants, expert in the Arab world and Islamist ideology, has concluded that organisations like the one Altikriti heads are, in effect, fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood — a charge they categorically deny.

The Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, as it is known in Arabic, was established in 1928 in Egypt and its goal was — and remains — the step-by-step Islamisation of Muslim communities with the ultimate aim of creating a global Caliphate ruled by holy law. “Allah is our objective” is the Brotherhood’s motto, “The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our constitution. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

With Altikriti on the platform was Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain, and Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, North London, where the press conference was held. “We are not enemies of the state,” said the gently-spoken Hamdoon. All three say they “totally reject the allegation” that they are “in any way linked to the Muslim Brotherhood”.

Altikriti, in particular, has emphasised that he has “absolutely no links” and on its face his denial would seem to be consistent with the values of “tolerance” and “positive co-existence” which he says he is devoted to promoting. It’s certainly a vision a world away from the Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, who sought the moral purification of Muslims, because he regarded them as having been infected by Western decadence. That and his belief that Jews were a major source of the infection help explain why he was an admirer of Hitler and why he translated Mein Kampf into Arabic, calling it My Jihad.

Al-Banna’s legacy has bequeathed a virulent strain of anti-Semitism, homophobia, and disdain for the West and its pluralist values within the Brotherhood that survives to the present day. But no hint of that is to be found in the estimable “Vision” and “Values” section of Altikriti’s think-tank, the Cordoba Foundation, which he established so that Muslims and non-Muslims can “strive” to “understand each other.”

The Cordoba Foundation says it promotes “intercultural dialogue and positive coexistence among civilisations”; it puts a premium on “compassion, peace, justice” and is a “strong voice of tolerance and reason”. It asserts that its “independent” research is underpinned by “sound” academic authorities. What could be more in tune with those British values which the Prime Minister has done so much to promote over the last year as part of his counter-extremism strategy?

Nothing, according to Mohammed Kozbar, sitting alongside Altikriti. With the help of the Metropolitan Police, the Finsbury Park mosque was “liberated” in 2005 by Kozbar and his fellow trustees from the hook-handed demagogue Abu Hamza, now serving life in an American jail. Today, says Kozbar, the mosque serves as a “role model to other mosques and community centres”. In fact, he says, his mosque, together with the Muslim Association of Britain and “similar Muslim organisations”, could “teach” David Cameron “a thing or two about British values”.

Really? It is true the Finsbury Park mosque does good by offering hot meals to the homeless. But since its “liberation” it might also benefit from a few lessons in British values. It has hosted speakers who are on the record as having said they were inspired by the books of Hassan al-Banna and by the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who in 2009 thanked Hitler for having “managed to put Jews in their place”. Another speaker hosted by the mosque has described Jews as having “no conscience” and “having all the bad qualities: lies, jealousy, treachery, cowardice, aggression”; another has argued that apostates from Islam must be killed; and yet another has said, “We don’t need to go to the Christians, or the Jews, debating with them about the filth which they believe.”

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UK Muslim Brotherhood Leader Featured Speaker At US Muslim Brotherhood Conference; US Officials Also Present

Anas Al-Tikriti

Anas Al-Tikriti

By gmbwatch:

The Muslim American Society (MAS) has announced that UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Altikriti was scheduled to speak last week at a Washington DC conference titled ”Preserving Our Humanity, A Challenge for Democracy” and sponsored by the MAS Public Affairs and Civic Engagement division. According to the announcement, also scheduled to speak at the conference were representatives of the US State and Treasury Departments including Ambassador Richard Schmierer,  Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Anas Al-Tikriti himself is the son of Osama Al-Tikriti, one of the leaders of the Iraqi Islamic Party representing the Muslim Brotherhood in that country.  Al-Tikriti is one of the leaders of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and the head of Cordoba Foundation, both part of the UK Muslim Brotherhood. The GMDW reported in March that Altikriti, who once supported the Iraqi insurgency against the US, had been part of a White House meeting with an important Iraqi leader that included US President Obama.

The conference sessions at which Al-Tikriti spoke were titled “The Concept of the Arab Spring Versus the Discourse of Extremism” and “Developing the Modern Narrative on Islam and Civic Responsibility.” Altikriti’s co-speaker on the second panel was Dr. Hatem Bazian, President of the Americans for Palestine (AMP),  a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to both the US Muslim Brotherhood and to the Hamas support infrastructure in the US. Video from an April 2004 antiwar-rally shows Hatem Bazian calling for an “Intifada” in the US. Other leaders of the US Muslim Brotherhood speaking at the conference included:

  • Dr. Esam Omeish President Center for Libyan-American Strategic Studies and former President of the MAS

According to its website, MAS-PACE is described as follows:

MAS-PACE is a division of the Muslim American Society (MAS) organized as a civic and educational organization. Its primary purpose is to conduct public relations, educate and mobilize the American Muslim community to participate in public affairs and civic activities on a non-partisan basis, and to activate a new generation of community activists.

The MAS was identified in a Hudson Institute report, authored by the GMBDW editor, as a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization.

That UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Al-Tikriti should appear in the US two times in the last two months in the company of US governmental officials, including at a White House meeting that included President Obama, should raise serious questions about US policy towards the Brotherhood in light of recent developments in the Middle East. Long-time US allies in the Gulf such as the United Arab Emirates, itself engaged in a serious struggle to rid itself of Brotherhood influence, already have serious questions about US policy in the region.