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.

Emails Show Clinton Was Told About MB-AQ Links

scafby John Rossomando
IPT News
May 2, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails suggest that she may have known about connections between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and hardcore jihadist groups such as al-Qaida early in the 2011 Arab Spring.

Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal noted in an April 7, 2011 email that Egypt’s military leaders expressed concerns about contacts between the MB and al-Qaida. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly feared that the Brotherhood would work with various violent Islamist groups, including al-Qaida affiliates.

“The main concern of the SCAF leaders is that the MB will begin working with more violent Islamist groups, including the various al Qa’ida affiliates,” Blumenthal wrote.

A source “with access to the highest levels of the MB,” including its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, privately told Blumenthal that the relationship between the MB, al-Qaida and other radical groups was “complicated.”

“Egyptian military intelligence is aware of the fact that these contacts exist, but believe that the MB, under the influence of … [the] moderates, is carefully controlling its contacts with these radical/terrorist groups, in an effort to avoid providing the military with an excuse to move against them,” Blumenthal wrote.

Blumenthal’s source claimed that Mohamed Morsi admitted that the Brotherhood’s looming Islamist government in Egypt would find it difficult to control the rise of al-Qaida and other radical/terrorist groups, according to a Dec. 16, 2011 email. No context is provided for this statement apart from Morsi also noting that the younger generation of Egypt’s military had become Islamized and anti-American despite training by the United States. The email also notes that younger officers would support Egypt becoming an Islamist state more than the current crop of generals.

Morsi became president about six months later.

However, former CIA Director James Woolsey questions Blumenthal’s sources, telling the Investigative Project on Terrorism that he doesn’t know where Blumenthal found his information.

“This is highly speculative but interesting,” Woolsey said. “The issue with the emails is classification. What matters is the sources and methods.”

These emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, written while she was secretary of state, were made public as a result of a Judicial Watch lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many are alleged to contain potentially classified information, and this remains under FBI investigation.

Egyptian security sources recorded calls between Morsi and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri while he Morsi was in power, according to a Nov. 22, 2013 article in Egypt’s El-Watan newspaper. Morsi allegedly agreed to grant a presidential pardon to 20 terrorists, including one al-Zawahiri had known since childhood, and another who ran Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis – now known as ISIS’s Sinai province.

Communications between Morsi and al-Zawahiri began during the first month of his presidency. Zawahiri’s brother, Mohamed, mediated the initial contacts between them.

“Rule by God’s law for us to stand beside you, there is no so-called democracy, then get rid of your opponents,” al-Zawahiri told Morsi, according to the El-Watan transcript.

Al-Zawahiri and Morsi allegedly agreed to cooperate in establishing training camps in Sinai and near the Libyan border where they could create an army to defend the Brotherhood regime. Morsi allegedly met with an emissary of Zawahiri’s at a Pakistani hotel for two-and-a-half hours, and this reportedly resulted in the international organization of the MB giving al-Qaida $50 million.

Morsi called al-Zawahiri asking for his help soon before the military toppled him, according to the Al-Watan report.

“We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame,” al-Zawahiri allegedly told Morsi.

The pro-military newspaper’s reporting has been called into question in the past. Its editor remains under investigation for falsifying a report about an Islamist terror cell.

Still, the alleged phone calls with al-Zawahiri contributed to Egyptian prosecutors seeking a death sentence against Morsi.

Attacks in the Sinai increased following Morsi’s fall. The suggestion by Brotherhood leader Mohamed el-Beltagy following Morsi’s deposition that “Attacks in Sinai would stop the second President Mohammed Morsi is reinstated,” adds to evidence of Brotherhood connections with al-Qaida, according to Michael Meunier, an Egyptian activist who previously worked closely with the Egyptian government.

“There is a clear indication of coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Sinai,” Meunier said.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the group responsible for most of the attacks, belonged to al-Qaida before joining the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014. Reports indicate that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was “structurally” tied with the MB.

If true, the ties between the MB and al-Qaida challenge the academic contention that the two groups are mortal enemies. This contention was based upon mutual criticisms, such as al-Zawahiri’s 2006 condemnation of the MB’s participation in democratic elections.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper invoked the idea that the MB and al-Qaida were opposed to each other during February 2011 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam,” Clapper said.

A Feb. 16, 2011 email from an unnamed State Department official who helped draft Presidential Policy Directive-13  – a document that helped frame U.S. policy surrounding Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East – echoed Clapper’s remarks. U.S. policy should not “be driven by fear,” it said, and if it didn’t distinguish the Brotherhood and al-Qaida, it wouldn’t be able to adapt to changes in the region.

Not Just Egypt

Other government documents corroborate Blumenthal’s contention that the Brotherhood and al-Qaida are linked.

The Clinton emails describe a definitive personal link between the Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Libya dating from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state in the person of Ali al-Sallabi, who founded the al-Qaida linked Libyan National Party (LNP).

A Feb. 27, 2011 email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan describes al-Sallabi as “a key figure in the Libyan Muslim brotherhood and [Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf] Qaradawi’s man in Libya.” Sullivan stands accused of sending Clinton top-secret emails at her private account.

Blumenthal noted in a July 3, 2011 email that the LNP was dominated by former members of the al-Qaida-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “who, according to sensitive sources, maintained ties to al Qa’ida during their struggle with the forces of former dictator Muammar al Qaddafi.”

A March 24, 2011 Libyan intelligence document claims that al-Sallabi coordinated the effort by the international Muslim Brotherhood to assist the LIFG in its fight against Gaddafi.

Similarly, Rached al-Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Party,attempted to work with al-Qaida linked Ansar Al-Sharia and its late leader, Abu Iyadh – a former Bin Laden ally sanctioned by the U.S. after 9/11 – during the Arab Spring. Abu Iyadh was responsible for al-Qaida’s assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood two days before the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

These examples also include connections between the Yemeni MB and al-Qaida through Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani. Treasury Department officials described al-Zindani as a “Bin Laden loyalist” in a 2004 press release. He also helped al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, while serving on the board of the Brotherhood-linked Union of Good, which raises funds for Hamas.

Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood have also used many of the same funding mechanisms, such as the Lugano, Switzerland based Al-Taqwa Bank.

West Supported Brotherhood Making Egypt an Islamic State

In other correspondence, Blumenthal reported that “MB leaders are also pleased with the results of discussions with the United States Government, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which, in the analysis of the MB leaders, appear to accept the idea of Egypt as an Islamic state.”

Western business and diplomatic leaders at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos“appeared to accept” an end to Egypt’s role as a partner with Israel, Blumenthal wrote, even if the Egyptians had no desire for a military confrontation with the Jewish state.

Brotherhood members, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, advocated an Islamic government based upon the Turkish model, in which civilians rather than clerics rule. All legislation passed by such a government must conform to the Islamic law. Egypt’s 2012 constitution included this principle, which subjected legislation for review by Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important academic institution. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, warned prior to his death in January 2013, that religious law would always prevail in such a system.

“If nothing else, the civilian and religious outlooks will differ and will therefore surrender to the religious outlook,” al-Banna said in a 2011 interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Egypt should thus become a civil state, without involving the detailed legislation of Islam.”

Despite this knowledge Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration chose to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood as just another political party.

Meunier, who helped organize the demonstrations that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, doesn’t find any of these revelations surprising.

“To have that information and to ignore it is criminal. I kind of had an idea about this way back when [Clinton] came to Egypt, and I refused to meet with her when she requested a meeting with me,” Meunier said. “We knew that she was colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“She was encouraging and working with a terrorist organization.”

Coptic Leaders Condemn Obama Adviser’s Anti-Coptic Tweets

by John Rossomando
IPT News
October 11, 2013

Obama-linked Islamists Downplay Coptic Suffering on Social Media

dalia-mogahedIPT, by John Rossomando:

Egypt MB Protests Underscore Hypocrisy of America’s Islamists

by John Rossomando
IPT News
July 31, 2013

Cables Show State Department Disregarded Muslim Brotherhood Threat

by John Rossomando

Obama Gives Cold Shoulder to Egyptian Secular Democrats

Michael Meunier

Michael Meunier

IPT:

by Michael Meunier

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Egypt last July, she was met with widespread protest from Coptic Christians and secular activists objecting to what they all believed was the Obama administration’s role in helping the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) ascend to power in Egypt.

The secretary asked to meet with 10 Christian leaders, myself included. All of those invited refused to meet with her and boycotted her visit. Most of us had been both publically and privately warning members of Congress and the administration of the danger the Muslims Brotherhood poses and about their desire to turn Egypt into a theocratic Islamic fascist country. Yet we were ignored.

Going back to April 2007, Democrats made special efforts to link up with the MB when visiting then-House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., met with Saad el-Katatni, the MB’s parliamentary leader, at former U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s home, at a time when then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has publically refused to meet with the Brotherhood.

Mr. Ricciardone, who I can call a friend, once told me that his friendship with another MB leader, Essam El- Erian, extended for close to 30 years. Perhaps that was the catalyst for this meeting and subsequent meetings that took place at his residence.

A stream of meetings, as well as public and private contacts, followed between current U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and Brotherhood members since her arrival in Egypt shortly after the revolution. The ambassador seemed to favor the Brotherhood and the hard line Salafis over the rest of the secular players in Egypt.

In fact, she has turned down requests for meetings from heads of political parties and other secular politicians, myself included, who oppose the Brotherhood.

Other U.S. officials such as Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Sen. John Kerry made the pilgrimage to MB headquarters and made sure to meet with their shadowy influential leader, Khairat El-Shater, at times even publicly praising him Kerry did. Those visits were made during a time where no political group had emerged as a leader in post-revolution Egypt.

The MB used these high-level meetings to tell the Egyptian people that the U.S. is supporting them and does not object to their rule. Many of us reached out to U.S. officials at the State Department and complained that the U.S. policy regarding the MB was putting the secular forces in Egypt at a disadvantage because it seemed to be propping the MB, but our concerns were dismissed.

We warned of the MB’s desire to impose Sharia law once in power and the grim effect it would have on the rights of the millions of Christians and moderate Muslims, and on women and children, yet all of our warnings were dismissed. It seems that a policy decision was made to bring the MB to power in Egypt at all costs, and it happened.

After less than six months in office, President Mohamed Morsi issued an edict exempting his decrees from judicial review, and he is now forcing Egyptians to vote on a constitution that would impose Sharia law, violate human rights and religious freedom of Christians, degrade women, regulate child labor and kill the tourism industry for violating Islamic Sharia.

Youth and large portions of the Egyptian population responded to the president’s new powers and draft of the constitution by taking to the streets and surrounding the presidential palace in protest.

Morsi then sent his own armed militia to attack the protesters with numerous weapons including shotguns, swords and firebombs.

The Brotherhood militia killed 10 people, wounded hundreds and kidnapped top youth activists, and tortured them inside the presidential palace for two days before turning them over to the police.

As the Supreme Constitutional Court was poised to dissolve the constitutional assembly, Morsi again sent his Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi militias to besiege the courthouse and prevent the judges from entering the building.

Upon arrival, the judges were turned away by the militia after their lives had been threatened, and to this day the militias are still surrounding the courthouse preventing the judges from meeting.

The president wanted to prevent the court from dissolving the assembly until after he pushes the referendum through and the constitution becomes effective.

Morsi again sent his armed militia to burn down the opposition Al-Wafd Party headquarters in response to the opposition and media stepping up their protests and criticism of the constitution, which large numbers of Egyptians reject and view as a setback for freedom.

They demolished cars and fired shots at the Al-Wafd Party, which is the oldest secular party in Egypt. Another set of Morsi’s militia besieged “Media City” where most of the independent TV channels are located. The militia attacked TV anchors known to disagree with Morsi and prevented TV guests who are known to oppose Morsi from entering the city, so they could not appear on TV and criticize the referendum.

Simultaneously, another group of the Morsi’s militia attacked the headquarters of newspapers knowing to oppose Morsi and the referendum. The Al-Watan newspaper was among the newspapers whose editor-in-chief went on TV to appeal to the president to stop his militia from attacking reporters and the newspaper building.

Through this all, President Obama’s position amounts to, “This is an internal matter and we leave to the Egyptian people to sort out!!”

What the Brotherhood is doing in Egypt is holding a gun to the head of its opposition trying to pass a constitution that so far failed to garner a greater support among Egyptians.

Once that becomes the law of the land, the race is on to turn Egypt into another theocracy headed by an Islamist fascist regime that soon after will threaten the security of the free world. At the heart of it is the Obama administration and its failed foreign policy, and what I see as the desire to destroy moderate Egypt and turn it over to the fanatic elements of the society, creating a monster that will turn on its creator.

Michael Meunier is the President of Al Haya Party in Egypt. He is the founder of the U.S. Copts Association and a democracy, human rights and religious freedom activist.