US media is reporting that a top White House official accompanied leaders representing US Muslim Brotherhood organizations who denounced the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a Wednesday press conference. According to the report:
09/10/2014 WASHINGTON — A top White House official accompanied Muslim political and religious leaders as they repeatedly denounced the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terror group during a Wednesday press conference.
The press conference took place hours before President Barack Obama was expected to begin an extended campaign against the Islamic States, which cites Islamic theology to justify its attacks on the Iraqi government and unarmed civilians, and its murders of journalists.
But the Islamic leaders admitted that Americans Muslims are joining the jihadi groups, and that they need to step up their theological arguments against the jihadis’ use of pro-jihad language in Islamic’s primary book, the Koran.
‘In this country, we are having a challenge right now,’ said Johari Abdul Malik, the outreach direct at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, in Fall Church, Va.
‘Young men are feeling frustrated, seeing the the death and destruction around the world, and saying ‘What can I do about it,’ and as a result of that, some of them have been deceived into thinking there is shortcut to social change, that it comes from the barrel of a gun,’ he said, adding that he works with other Muslims to contain radicalism.
The top White House official, Rand Beers, told the meeting that ‘it is absolutely critical that civic engagement and discourse be a part of this’ effort to prevent radicalization of Muslim youth.
Read the rest here.
The report goes on to identify leaders of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque among those participating in the press conference. All three organizations have had highly problematic records over the years when it comes to terrorism.
For a profile of MPAC, go here.
For a profile of ISNA, go here.
For a profile of Dar Al-Hijrah, go here.
In the ongoing saga of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader leaving Qatar for parts unknown, US media is reporting on comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that the individuals concerned could be granted entry to Turkey as long as laws permitted. According to a New York Times report:
SEPT. 15, 2014 ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said on Monday that several exiled leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Qatar but lately have come under pressure to leave that Persian Gulf monarchy could perhaps find a new refuge in his country.
‘If they make any request to come to Turkey, such an application would be assessed and examined,’ Mr. Erdogan said, according to a report on CNN Turk television. He spoke to reporters on a plane back to Turkey after he had visited Qatar on an official trip. Mr. Erdogan referred to the standard procedures that applied to foreign residents and said that Muslim Brotherhood leaders could be granted entry to Turkey as long as laws permitted.
‘If there are reasons that would prevent their entry to Turkey, it would be assessed accordingly’ he said. And if there are no obstacles, the ease granted to everyone would also be granted to them.’”
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported earlier this week on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. Subsequently we reported on Turkey and Malaysia as possible destinations for these individuals.
In another relevant development, a Turkish news portal is reporting that haas has denied other reports that Hamas political leader Kahled Meshaal has also been asked to leave Qatar. According to the Worldbulletin.net report:
September 16, 2014 Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has denied media reports that Qatar had asked Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal to leave the country. ‘These are mere lies,’ Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency on Monday. ‘Qatar has not asked Meshaal to leave its territory.’ Tunisian newspaper Al-Shorouk earlier reported that Doha had asked Meshaal to leave the country. Citing sources, the newspaper reported that Meshaal – who is currently visiting Tunisia – was holding talks with Tunisian officials with a view to securing residence in the country.”
Read the rest here.
For a profile of Khaled Meshaal, go here.
UK media is reporting that Britain is planing unspecified curbs on what are described as “Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisations” and blocking any Brotherhood “activists” from relocating to the UK. According to the report in the Daily Telegraph, the actions stem from the recent investigation initiated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron:
September 14, 2014 Britain is set to impose curbs on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisations and block activists moving to London after a report by a senior diplomat raised concerns over the group’s links to extremists in the Middle East. David Cameron asked Sir John Jenkins, the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to compile a full report on the Muslim Brotherhood after Gulf allies put pressure on the government to curtail the movement’s London-based operations.
Officials privy to the drafting of Sir John’s report said it had been handed over to Downing Street and a statement on its findings would be published before the end of the year.
While it stops short of proposing a ban on the Brotherhood, it accepts some of the movement’s activity amounts to complicity with armed groups and extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere.
‘We won’t ban the Muslim Brotherhood,’ a Foreign Office diplomat told The Telegraph. ‘There are other things that can be done but not a ban.’
A senior British official involved in the process said parts of the report are too sensitive to publish. ‘It’s a very comprehensive look at the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in many countries. There have been submissions that have been given to us that are very sensitive. We couldn’t go back to those places again if some of this information was put in the public domain.’
Read the entire report here.
The GMBDW initially reported on the UK investigation in April. Since that time we reported in August that the investigation has concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood “does not pose a significant terror threat in the UK” as well as reporting that a leader of the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood” has said that he expects the UK government not to given to what he describes as pressure to label the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
We continue to await the actual public report on the investigation before drawing any solid ocnclusions.
A UK-based Saudi newspaper is reporting that according to head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “International Organization”, many of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders reported to be leaving Qatar will likely be traveling to Turkey or Malaysia. According to the Asharq Al-Awsat report:
September 15 London, Dammam and Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Many of the Muslim Brotherhood members expelled from Qatar on Saturday will likely travel to Turkey or Malaysia, the head of the organization’s international wing has told Asharq Al-Awsat. Speaking via telephone from Morocco, Ibrahim Mounir, the secretary-general of the International Muslim Brotherhood Organization, said he expected most of the members asked to leave Qatar by the government to head to Malaysia or Turkey since many of them had already obtained visas or residency permits to either of these countries, ‘which will make their living or residing there an easy matter.’
This comes as the Muslim Brotherhood said on Saturday that seven of its members currently residing in Qatar had been asked to leave the country by the authorities.
There has as yet been no official confirmation from Doha regarding the decision, but Brotherhood sources speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat said there had been ‘outside pressure’ on Qatar to make the move, one seen as an attempt to appease regional neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Egypt, who have been angered by Doha’s willingness to host senior members of the Brotherhood.
Egypt said it now expects more Brotherhood figures to be expelled from Qatar, which became a prime destination for many of the group’s members fleeing Egypt following Mursi’s ouster.
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported yesterday on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. However, Bloomberg News is reporting that according an anonymous Qatari diplomat, these individuals are leaving Qatar of their own accord and denied they were being expelled as has been widely reported.
Although it has been widely reported that London was the destination for the Brotherhood officials, it would seem unlikely given the greatly increased spotlight focused on the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK resulting from the investigation initiated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The GMBDW has long been reporting on Turkey as a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood and the importance of Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim makes Malaysia a logical choice as well.
Turkish news portal is reporting on Twitter comments by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi in which is says that he does not accept the US effort to fight the group known as ISIS. According to the report:
September 14, 2014 World Bulletin/News Desk The chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars has spoken out against the U.S.-led coalition of nearly 40 countries against the ISIL. Academic Yusuf al-Qaradawi commented: ‘I have completely different ideas and methods from IS. On the other hand, I do not accept the United States action to fight against them because the US follows its own interests, not Islamic values.’ The comments were written in Arabic on Sunday on al-Qaradawi’s Twitter account. A group of nations, including 10 Arab states, have agreed to form a coalition to tackle IS in Iraq and Syria.
For a profile of Youssef Qaradawi, go here.
For a profile of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), go here.
Global media is widely reporting on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders have been asked by Qatar to leave the country. According to a New York Times report:
September 13, 2014 BAGHDAD — An Egyptian leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said Saturday that several of the group’s prominent members had been asked to leave Qatar, in an apparent concession to a campaign by other Persian Gulf monarchies to pressure Qatar away from its support for the group.
“Some symbols of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing — the Freedom and Justice Party — who were asked by authorities to move their residence outside the state of Qatar have now honored that request,” the Egyptian, Amr Darrag, a senior Brotherhood leader, said in a statement posted on the group’s website.
A Qatari diplomat contradicted Mr. Darrag, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The diplomat said that the Brotherhood leaders had decided to depart for their own reasons without any request from Qatar, and that they were welcome to return.
“Maybe for some of them, they saw from the media that the country is being pressed and they left of their own free will because they did not want to put the country in an embarrassing situation,” the diplomat said.
Read the rest here.
Various sources are also reporting that Egypt has asked INTERPOL to arrest Muslim Brotherhood figures leaving Qatar.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the people to be expelled are: the Secretary General of the Brotherhood, Mahmoud Hussein, member of Freedom and Justice party Amro Darraj, Hamza Zoba, Ashraf Badriddin, Jamal Abdul-Sattar and the renowned preachers Isam Talima and Wajdi Ghoneem.
The GMBDW had reported in September 2013 that Ghoneim was among fourteen defendants charged by Egyptian authorities in connection with clashes that took place last December in front of Al-Itihidaya presidential palace in Cairo. In April, we reported that he had met in Khartoum with Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood figure Hassan al-Turabi. For a full profile of Wagdi Ghoneim, go here.
Despite the interpretation in the major media that the seeming expulsion of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders is a watershed event that may satisfy Qatar’s neighbors, the GMBDW has serious doubts. Qatar is a major sponsor of the Global Muslim Brotherhood networks though its official and quasi-official organizations such as Qatar Charity, the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the Qatar Foundation. Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal are also hosted and resident in Qatar which itself is a major funder of Hamas. The GMBDW reported in late August that the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish group close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, has signed a ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ with Qatar. Earlier this month, we reported that Qatar Charity had sponsored a conference in Istanbul at which GMB leaders announced a $1 billion fundraising campaign for Gaza and the launch of a new organization appearing to unify Hamas fundraising and flotilla efforts. The relocation of a group of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders and clerics, while clearly a token gesture, does nothing at all to dismantle the significant and growing infrastructure located in Qatar propping up the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
Irish media has reported that Dr Ali Selim, associated with the Islamic Cultural Centre in Ireland, has called for what are described as radical changes in the Irish educational system to accommodate children with Islamic beliefs. According to the Irish Times report:
September 3, 2014 A spokesman for the Muslim community in Ireland has called for radical change in the educational system to accommodate children with Islamic beliefs.
Dr Ali Selim, of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin’s Clonskeagh and a lecturer in the Mater Dei Institute and Trinity College, has called for ‘a revolution of inclusivity’ in Irish schools and ‘an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives’.
This was necessary to accommodate the needs of a society which is now ‘home to a variety of Christian denominations, as well as people of other faiths and of none’, he says in his book Islam and Education in Ireland, to be published next week.
Why do schools insist we kit out our children like miniature adults from the 1950s? Some foreign language schools were ‘visa factories’ Tighter regime for issuing of student visas announced Estimating that of approximately 65,000 Muslims in Ireland today as many as 20,000 would be in the under-18 school-going age, he relates difficulties these young people face when it comes to admission to schools, as well as their problems with PE classes, relationship and sexuality education, music and drama classes, and practice of their faith during school hours.
Read the rest here.
In September 2012, the GMBDW reported that Dr. Selim, had made comments praising the concept of “martyrdom.”
In February 2010, we reported on Dr. Selim in connection with statements by Irish Muslim Brotherhood leaders saying that a ban on face veils violates personal freedoms.
Ali Selim is the private secretary to Hussein Halawa, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, closely tied to the European Muslim Brotherhood, and is described as am ICCI “resident theologian.” Mr. Selim attracted a great deal of local media attention in September 2006 when he told a newspaper interviewer that, ideally, he would like to see Shariah law adopted in Ireland in the “event of a Muslim majority.” Along the same lines, Mr. Selim said in 2006 that religious law should be imposed over secular law if that was wished by the majority. Other controversial statements by Mr. Selim include:
- Suggesting that there were conspiratorial forces behind the 911 attacks saying “history, definitely, will prove to us that those people were not the only ones involved in 9/11. That, in actual fact, there’s a wider circle that’s under the shade so we can’t see it at the moment. “
- Saying he had seen no proof that Muslims carried out the July 2006 London bombings, suggesting that videotapes of the bombers might have been faked and that he was not aware that they were identified by their own families.
- Claiming he was unaware of any Muslims calling for Jihad against the West
- Saying that he had “no opinion” about Osama Bin Laden
Israeli media is reporting a seemingly dramatic development in the relationship between Hamas and Israel, quoting a senior Hamas official who says that that Islam does prohibit negotiations with Israel. According to the Times of Israel report:
September 11, 2014 In a dramatic political about-face, a senior Hamas official said that his movement may seek to negotiate with Israel, claiming that Islamic faith does not prohibit such contacts.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, told Palestinian Al-Quds TV on Wednesday that Hamas may be forced to negotiate with Israel, since the vast majority of Gaza Strip residents demand it.
‘From the point of view of Sharia (Islamic law), nothing prevents negotiations with the occupation. Just as you negotiate with it using weapons, you can negotiate using words,’ Abu Marzouk said. ‘I believe that if things continue as they are now, Hamas may not have a choice. I say this in all honesty, [negotiations] have become a quasi-popular demand at the moment among all people in the Gaza Strip. Hamas may find itself forced to adopt this policy.’
Abu Marzouk noticeably struggled to articulate his movement’s new position, a reversal of earlier stances which forbade direct contact with Jerusalem.
Read the rest here
In April 2012, the GMBDW reported on comments by Mr Marzouk in which he outlined his view of how Hamas will view any potential agreement with Israel:
…an agreement between Israel and the P.A. — even one ratified by a referendum of all Palestinians — as a hudna, or cease-fire, rather than as a peace treaty. In power, he said, Hamas would feel free to shift away from those provisions of the agreement that define it as a peace treaty and move instead toward a relationship of armed truce. ‘We will not recognize Israel as a state,’ he said emphatically. ‘It will be like the relationship between Lebanon and Israel or Syria and Israel
Only time will tell if Mr. Marzouk’s current statements reflect an actual change in Hamas policy or whether they are in fact some kind of trial balloon.
Of historical interest is a 2007 court filing by US federal prosecutors that detailed the role of Mousa Abu Marzook as a former leader of the US Muslim Brotherhood and the US Palestine Committee. According to the document:
By the outbreak of the First Intifada, the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States was significant and well organized. In 1987, the governing body of the International Muslim Brotherhood decided to focus its mission on the Palestinian issue, and directed that Palestine Committees be formed in countries throughout the world. In the United States, the Palestine Committee was comprised of active Muslim Brotherhood members of Palestinian origin. The leader of the Palestinian Committee in the United States at that time was unindicted co-conspirator Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook is now – and has been since 1995 – a Specially Designated Terrorist and Hamas leader. In fact, in the early 1990s, Marzook left his post as a leader of the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Committee to take over as Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief, the organization’s highest official position.
The creation and growth of the Palestine Committee in the United States are evidenced in part by documents that the government seized in 2004 from the Virginia home of unindicted co-conspirator and Palestinian Committee member Ismail Elbarasse. As shown by those documents and other evidence, the Muslim Brotherhood directed its Palestinian Committees throughout the world, including the United States, to carry out the mandate of assisting Sheik Yassin and his newly-formed Hamas Movement. In accordance with that mandate, the Palestinian Committee in the United States, which included the defendants Elashi, Baker and El-Mezain, oversaw a number of sub- organizations charged with varying missions calculated to comprehensively address Hamas’ needs. These organizations included the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) (“think tank”), the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) (propaganda and information) and the Occupied Land Fund (OLF) (money), later to become the defendant HLF. The defendant Shukri Abu Baker was in charge of the HLF and, along with the defendants El-Mezain and Elashi, set out to establish what would become the highest grossing Islamic charity in the United States.
It should be noted that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) grew directly out of the IAP and Hamas infrastructure in the US.
This court document should serve as at least partial rebuttal to skeptics of the concept of a Global Muslim Brotherhood.
Egyptian media has reported that a Cairo court has sentenced the notorious Egyptian cleric Safwat Hegazy to 20 years in jail on charges of torture and leading a terrorist group. According to the Daily News Egypt report, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood political leader Mohamed Al-Beltagy also received the same sentence:
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced former Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohamed Al-Beltagy and Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy to 20 years in jail charged with torture and leading a terrorist group.
Al-Beltagy and Hegazy, along with two others, were given ten years on charges of kidnapping and torturing two policemen at the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in in August 2013. The pair received an additional ten years for ‘being in command of a terrorist group’, while the other two, who were doctors at the sit-in’s field hospital, received five years for joining a terrorist group.
Al-Beltagy, who was Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), dissolved in August, was arrested in a rural village in Giza. Hegazy, a controversial preacher closely associated with the Brotherhood, was arrested on the Siwa-Matruh road, close to the Libyan border in August. The former is also being tried alongside former president Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders for inciting violence outside the Presidential Palace on 5 December 2012. The alleged violence resulted in at least eleven deaths and 693 injuries.
Read the rest here.
Safwat Hegazy first drew substantial media attention in May 2012 when he was featured at a launch ceremony for the presidential campaign of Mohamed Morsi where he declared “The capital of the Caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem, Allah willing.” Hegazy is known to have been a Trustee of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. Hegazy is also known for his fantastical anti-Semitic claims such as in January 2009 when he delivered a long tirade on Egyptian TV proclaiming that the Starbucks Logo (actually a fictional nautical creature) was “the Queen of the Jews”:
In May, the GMBDW reported that Hegazy has been sentenced to a year in prison “with labor” for insulting judges during a recent trial. In February, we reported that Hegazy was one of fourteen Muslim Brotherhood leaders referred to criminal court on accusations of burning an Egyptian national security building.
For a full profile of Safwat Hegazy, go here.
An Arabian business publication has reported that Muslim Brotherhood support John Esposito is one of six directors of Middle East Studies at US universities who have signed a public letter pledging ‘not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions’. According to the Arabian Business report:
Six directors of Middle East Studies at US universities have signed a public letter pledging ‘not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions’.
Their stance could potentially affect future public funding, because as heads of US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers, they are required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act to give assurances that they will ‘maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education and other organisations that may contribute to the teaching and research of the Center’.
If their protests are not personal, and apply to the centres where they are directors, it would be in conflict with the assurances they gave in exchange for federal funds.
The six directors are: Lila Abu-Lughod, Middle East Institute, Columbia; Marian Cooke, Middle East Studies Center, Duke; Osama Abi-Mershed, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown; John Esposito, Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown; Helga Tawil-Souri, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University and Gabriel Piterberg, Center for Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. The six are part of a group of over 500 Middle East Studies scholars and librarians who have called for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
The GMBDW reported in June that Dr. Esposito had testified before the UK House of Commons in a hearing about allegations of MB’s links to terrorism.
Dr. John Esposito is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the director of the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Esposito, a former U.S. State Department advisor, has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990’s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the UK headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure. In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood, donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.