Here’s What Trump Administration Officials Think Of The Muslim Brotherhood

Daily Caller, by Chuck Ross, February 9, 2017:

The Trump administration is reportedly weighing whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization along with ISIS, al-Qaeda and dozens of other groups.

The internal deliberations were reported earlier this week by The New York Times. Critics have come out against the designation, claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood, despite having some jihad-minded offshoots, is the best firewall available to the U.S. in its fight against violent terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Politico reported on Wednesday that CIA officials urged against the terror designation in a briefing prepared last month.

It is still unclear how the Trump administration would go about enacting any terror designation for the Muslim Brotherhood. An executive order enacting a designation may not meet legal standards. Trump could order the State Department to explore the Muslim Brotherhood’s status.

However any terror designation would unfold, several players in the Trump administration have been heavily critical of the Muslim Brotherhood. And at least one, CIA director Mike Pompeo, has explicitly endorsed the terror designation.

The White House declined a request for comment on the status of any terror designation plan. During a Wednesday press conference, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to elaborate but also did not deny that discussions about the terror designation are taking place.

Mike Pompeo, CIA director

Pompeo’s past stance on the Muslim Brotherhood would appear to conflict with his new agency’s position, as stated in the brief the CIA compiled last month.

Mike Pompeo at January 12, 2017 Senate confirmation hearing (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mike Pompeo at January 12, 2017 Senate confirmation hearing (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As a member of Congress from Kansas, Pompeo supported a proposed bill which would have designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group. The bill also linked the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim activist group in the U.S., to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A similar bill was reintroduced last month by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

CAIR and other groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) were named unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) case. HLF officials were found guilty of funneling money to Hamas, the terror group that was founded by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR has come out against designating the Brotherhood a terror organization.

Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist

Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, has long spoken out against radical Islam and the threat posed by jihadis. Breitbart is perhaps the largest news outlet in America focusing on the issue.

And as The Washington Post recently revealed, Bannon submitted a film proposal in 2007 that referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as “the foundation of modern terrorism.”

Stephen Bannon (REUTERS)

Stephen Bannon (REUTERS)

The film, which Bannon was to direct, was entitled “Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Fascism in America.”

Bannon has also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood extensively on a radio show he hosted while still with Breitbart. After Bannon emerged as a Trump campaign adviser, liberal groups, including Media Matters, accused him of making false claims about Muslim Brotherhood’s links to various public figures.

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump

Gorka, a counterterrorism expert and former Breitbart News editor, has commented extensively on the Muslim Brotherhood.

His now-defunct website has Muslim Brotherhood labeled under its “Terrorism” section.

One link on the website is to a 2014 speech he gave at the U.S. Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

In it, Gorka tied to ideological underpinnings of modern terrorist groups to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded by Egyptian scholar Hassan al-Banna in 1928.

“We must understand al-Qaeda, not as something that was created by Osama bin Laden simply on the foundations of the Arab mujahedeen movement. Rather, it is the product of decades of ideological evolution that started with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gorka said.

“I am afraid of al-Qaeda’s soft jihadi colleagues, those who will not use violence — organizations such as The Muslim Brotherhood — that use legal tools, economic tools and lawfare as a weapon to undermine our constitutional order,” he added.

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Last year Gorka wrote a piece going after CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America, two prominent activist groups that were founded by Muslim Brotherhood members.

“Both CAIR and ISNA will be fully aware of the significance of November 14th, seeing as both organizations were declared by a federal court to be unindicted co-conspirators of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood terror group, in the largest terrorist financing trial in US history,” he wrote, referring to the Holy Land Foundation case.

He also asserted that Muslim members “of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” have a “supremacist understanding” of Islam.

Gorka spoke most extensively about the Muslim Brotherhood in an interview last year with Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy and a vocal critic of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“What we face today and have done since 9/11…is really a totalitarian ideology that has deep roots going back to the Muslim Brotherhood, to the disillusion of the caliphate originally in the 20th century and that we have to understand that this ideology has various expressions,” said Gorka.

Frank Gaffney, former Donald Trump and Ted Cruz adviser (The Daily Caller)

Frank Gaffney, former Donald Trump and Ted Cruz adviser (The Daily Caller)

He also suggested comparing the U.S. Constitution “to the founding charter of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, or…any of the organizations associated with front groups connected to the Brotherhood.”

“They define themselves against individual liberty, against freedom and democracy,” he said.

Asked to describe the Muslim Brotherhood, Gorka called it “a many faceted thing.”

“The Brotherhood represents itself in different ways to different audiences,” he said. To diplomats, Brotherhood members claim to support democracy.

“Unfortunately, people who don’t crack open a history book don’t understand that this organization has killed prime ministers, killed heads of state, blown up civilians, murdered all kinds of individuals who resist them,” Gorka said.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is an overt political organization in the Middle East, banned in many countries, and also a covert and underground subversive organization with an international network.”

He went on to say that groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas and Brotherhood-linked political groups like CAIR are “all fathered…all sired by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

He said that the Muslim Brotherhood in U.S. uses “agents of influence” like CAIR and ISNA to shape U.S. policy.

Gorka’s wife, Katie, supports designating the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

In 2014, Gorka, who is serving in a transition role at the Department of Homeland Security, asked in an article at Family Security Matters: “Given the Brotherhood’s long history of violence, including assassinations and attempted assassinations of Egyptian leaders, the question is why were they not designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) long before now?”

KT McFarland, deputy national security adviser

In a 2011 radio interview, McFarland, who served as Pentagon spokeswoman during the Ronald Reagan administration, said that the Muslim Brotherhood has not, despite their long-standing claims, renounced violence.

In an interview on WMAL, the host noted that the Muslim Brotherhood has said it has disavowed violence.

“Well they haven’t,” McFarland interjected.

“The Muslim Brotherhood was the godfather of al-Qaeda. The number 2 guy in al-Qaeda was Muslim Brotherhood,” she added.

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McFarland then said that she frequently visited the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website. That version preached unity and cooperation with non-Muslims, she said. But the Arabic version espoused a more radical worldview, she claimed.

“They’ve got the crossed scimitars, and they say ‘be prepared, be ready,’” said McFarland of the site.

Michael Flynn, national security adviser

Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, famously broke with the Obama administration regarding the threat posed by Islamic terrorists. He spoke out after leaving his DIA post in 2014, accusing Obama of failing to curtail ISIS. He has also said that U.S. foreign policy is too politically correct regarding the threat of radical Islam.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at Trump Tower (REUTERS)

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at Trump Tower (REUTERS)

Flynn has not said much publicly about the Muslim Brotherhood. But he has sung the praises of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian general who took power after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in 2013.

“He took his religion on. He took this ideology on,” Flynn said of el-Sisi during a speech in July.

As Trump’s top adviser on national security issues, Flynn would have significant input on any decision regarding designation.

Rex Tillerson, secretary of state

As secretary of state, Tillerson would also have a prominent role in deciding whether the Muslim Brotherhood should wear the label of “terror group.”

The former Exxon Mobil CEO had said nothing in public about the Muslim Brotherhood until last month, during his Senate confirmation.

Rex Tillerson at Senate confirmation hearing (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rex Tillerson at Senate confirmation hearing (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

During the hearing, Tillerson lumped the Muslim Brotherhood in with groups like al-Qeada.

In his opening statement, he said that the U.S. government must “increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

First ‘Fake News,’ Now ‘Fake Narrative’: New York Times Misrepresents Center’s Views on Islam, Muslims

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Center for Security Policy, February 2, 2017:

Press Release

(Washington, DC): A front-page, above-the-fold article in The New York Times today used an attack on President Trump and his Senior Counsel Stephen Bannon to ignore a distinction long made by the Center for Security Policy between Sharia-supremacists – notably, the Muslim Brotherhood – and Muslims who do not adhere to that totalitarian political-military-legal doctrine.

In two different places, the Times describes Center President Frank Gaffney as characterizing “Muslims” and “Islam” when, in fact, he was clearly characterizing and warning against the Muslim Brotherhood. Obscuring this distinction plays to the papers efforts to depict the Trump administration and other, like-minded individuals and groups as anti-Muslim “Islamophobes” and “haters.”

Mr. Gaffney observed:

The New York Times did a public disservice with its latest bid to discredit and undermine President Trump as he seeks to protect the American people by halting the further importing of jihadists. Mr. Trump and his senior subordinates are clearly sensitive to the distinction between Muslims who, in the President’s words “share our values” and seek to help live and build the American dream on the one hand and, on the other, those who believe it is Allah’s will to destroy countries like ours. So am I.
It is reprehensible and contrary to the national interest – and potentially to our national security – that those like the Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center persist in encouraging the former to believe otherwise.

The context of the portion of Mr. Gaffney’s interview with New York Times mischaracterized by reporter Matthew Rosenberg is below.

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF FRANK GAFFNEY INTERVIEW WITH MATT ROSENBERG OF THE NEW YORK TIMES
December 8, 2016
FRANK GAFFNEY:

So we took a fresh look at Sharia. [Gaffney presented Rosenberg with an abridged version of Sharia: The Threat to America; An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, Report of Team B II] And if you’re interested, I’ll give you the larger version of it. But it was a distinguished group of, as I recall, nineteen folks.

And the conclusion that we came to was that contrary to the orthodoxy of the time – which was that of the Bush years, which has become more true under Obama – that the doctrine or the ideology or the program that we’re confronting has nothing to do with Islam.

It actually has everything to do with what the authorities of Islam say is the faith, namely, Sharia. Having said that, we very directly acknowledge in the book, and I do in every opportunity that we have, that there are lots of Muslims who don’t practice their faith in accordance with Sharia. But they’re not the problem, by and large. At least not yet.

The ones who do are unmistakably [the problem]. And that manifests itself in what Sharia compels them to do. Again, I may be repeating some of the stuff we talked about the other day, but just in the interest of completeness, it’s their God-directed duty to impose it on everybody else, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Sharia, that is. And the way to do that is through jihad, which is not about personal struggle or about being a better Muslim or any of the other things we’re often told. Again, some Muslims may feel that way, but that’s not what Sharia is really requiring of them.

By the way, when I talk about Sharia, and I don’t know if you have seen it, my colleague may have it next door, what we’ve used as kind of our reference text is Reliance of the Traveller. Which is a book that I think was first written about thirteen hundred years ago. It has been translated into English –

MATT ROSENBERG:

What was the title again?

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Reliance of the Traveller. It has been described as authoritative in terms of its rendering of Sharia by al-Azhar and House of Saud and Jordanian royals and so on. And when you look at the jihad as it is described there, it is clearly about holy war.

And the holy war is, as a practical matter, pursued by those who believe this is God’s will in different ways. The preferred way, the most efficient way, is terrifying violence. And where you’re strong enough to do that and where you can succeed at it, you go for it. Some say you should do it whether you can succeed at it or not, just because that’s the right way and, you know, you’ve got your Islamic States and your Talibans and your – the folks you’ve been hanging with [on foreign assigments] – Al-Qaeda and so on, lovely people.

But as important, I think, are the other kinds of jihad that are also perfectly legitimate and in fact the responsibility of Muslims to engage in, especially where they’re not strong enough to use violence. And that runs the gamut from the hijra – migration, colonization, whatever you want to call it. [To] zakat, at least a portion of which is supposed to go to jihad [and] the people who engage in it, their families. [To] what the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.”

And this [Gaffney pointing to a print of the Explanatory Memorandum: The General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America] is the single most important book as far as I’m concerned on the subject because it is a secret plan that the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership here in America wrote in 1991 as a report back to the mother-ship in Egypt. Never meant for our eyes, but it lays out both what their mission is, which is described as “destroying Western Civilization from within by their hands – meaning ours –  and the hands of the believers so that God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

And then it proceeds to say in the way of a report as to how they’re coming, some twenty-five years after they began, with this stealthy, subversive kind of jihad. By which they essentially, like termites, hollow out, you know, the structure of civil society and other institutions, government institutions included, for the purpose of creating conditions under which the jihad will succeed, perhaps through a violent phase or perhaps otherwise.