By Ryan Mauro:
The Obama Administration and elected officials from both parties suffer from a profound misunderstanding of what the Muslim Brotherhood is.
The State Department welcomes the Islamist group’s bid for the Egyptian presidency. It even told Customs and Border Protection not to conduct a secondary inspection of Brotherhood officials coming to the U.S., even though one of them was implicated in a child pornography investigation. Once in America, the Brotherhood delegation met with National Security Council officials. A spokesman defended the meetings because, in his words, it is “committed to democratic principles, especially non-violence.”
The claim that the Brotherhood does not advocate violence or terrorism is demonstrably false. It is only non-violent in Egypt because it would be counter-productive but it supports violence in Israel and elsewhere. In September 2010, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badi, declared that Muslims are obligated to wage jihad against the U.S. and Israel and must commit to “raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has never once condemned Hamas or its terrorist actions. In fact, the Brotherhood is an unwavering supporter of Hamas and the terrorist group is one of its affiliates. Hamas even changed its name to define it as “a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood-Palestine.”
The Vice Chairman of the Brotherhood’s political party in Egypt, the Freedom and Justice Party, says Hamas is a “resistance group” and that Egypt should host its offices. The Brotherhood’s website includes supporting “Palestinian resistance” as part of its platform. When Israel agreed to release over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, the Brotherhood hailed it as a vindication of Hamas’ violent jihad. On November 24, top officials publicly called for attacks on Jews and a Brotherhood affiliate said Muslims must “revive the duty of jihad in all its forms.”
The Brotherhood is unflinching in its calls for the ultimate destruction of Israel. Former Supreme Guide Mehdi Akef says it will “resist them [Zionists] until they no longer have a country.” It flatly rejects a permanent two-state solution. Its most senior cleric, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, is among the most influential supporters of violent jihad and suicide bombings, calling himself the “mufti of martyrdom operations.” He says that the Holocaust was a judgment upon the Jews by Allah and that he hopes Muslims deliver the next judgment. He turned down the Brotherhood’s request to become its Supreme Guide in 2004.
Brotherhood apologists are quick to point out that the group condemned the 9/11 attacks and has publicly clashed with Al-Qaeda and Iran. Their only difference is over strategy. The Brotherhood still considered Bin Laden to be a Muslim holy warrior and when he was killed, it honored “Sheikh Osama Bin Laden” and endorsed “legitimate resistance against foreign occupation.” Brotherhood officials regularly speculate that 9/11 was a Zionist conspiracy. As for Iran, Brotherhood officials went there last year and said Ahmadinejad is the “bravest man in the Muslim world.”
The Brotherhood’s participation in elections does not mean it is truly democratic. Qaradawi preaches “gradualism” towards the implementation of Sharia-based governance. He is quick to point out that the Islamist definition of democracy is different than the West’s. He wants a “genuine type of democracy” that is “driven by the laws of Sharia.”
Khairat el-Shater, the Brotherhood presidential candidate in Egypt who has won the affection of U.S. officials, says the same thing. “Sharia was and will always be my first and final project and objective,” he says. He met with the Salafists, the very people the U.S. hopes he will counter, and assured them that he’d create a council of clerics to review and approve all legislation. A translation of a concerning speech he gave on April 21, 2011 has been published. He said that the Brotherhood agenda is “restoring Islam in its all-encompassing conception,” “instituting the religion of God” and “Every aspect of life is to be Islamicized.”
How’d we get to this mistaken view of the Brotherhood? There are a few reasons.
Read the rest at The Institute on Religion & Democracy