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Turkish media is reporting that Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim and two other leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have arrived in Istanbul following their departure from Qatar. According to a Chihan News Agency report, Jamal Abdul Sattar said that their departure was the result of “dialog” to reduce pressure on Qatar and that they were not restricted from re-entering the country:

September 19, 2014 ISTANBUL Following President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s statement welcoming Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders who were recently asked to leave Qatar, a member of the MB, Jamal Abdul Sattar, has arrived in ?stanbul with two other members of the organization, and said he preferred Turkey due to the country’s position opposing the military regime in Egypt, according to a report.

Al Jazeera Turk reported on Friday that the former deputy head of the Egyptian Religious Affairs Directorate, who has been in exile in Qatar, has moved to Turkey and plans to live in ?stanbul. Sattar said two other people, namely the foreign relations officer of the MB Amr Darrag and the Egyptian cleric Wajdi Ghoneem have come to Turkey as well.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Turk in ?stanbul Sattar said he has not received an official invitation from Turkish leaders but he decided to choose Turkey to live due to the country’s support of people’s freedom in the region.

According to international press reports, several members of the group are attempting to relocate after Qatar came under enormous pressure from other Gulf Arab states to cut support for the Islamist group.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW had reported Friday that Wagdy Ghoneim, known for his long history of extremist statements, had posted a video on his YouTube channel in which he call Western action against ISIS “a Crusader war” and calls the late Osama Bin Laden the  “martyred heroic mujahid, Bin Laden.”

The GMBDW reported last week that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that Egyptian Brotherhood leaders departing Qatar could be granted entry to Turkey as long as laws permitted. The GMBDW had reported earlier  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.

For our analysis of the meaning of these events, go here.

For a profile on Wagdy Ghoneim, go here.

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US media is reporting that Egypt has imposed what are described as sweeping new rules to prevent violent protest at Al-Azhar University, long a stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood activity in the country. According to a Voice of America report:

Al-Alzhar University

Al-Alzhar University

September 18, 2014 CAIRO— Egypt has moved to close down one of the last bastions of Muslim Brotherhood dissent with sweeping new rules to curtail violent protest at Al-Azhar University, among the world’s most venerable centers of Islamic learning.

Egypt has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and jailed thousands of its supporters since July 2013, when then-army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi overthrew Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a senior member of the group.

As the noose tightened around the Brotherhood, Al-Azhar emerged as a hotspot in its battle against Egypt’s new rulers.

The grand mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, and the grand imam of Al-Azhar, have long lent their prestige to those in power and issued Fatwas (religious edicts) to back government policy.

But the Brotherhood enjoys strong support within the student body as well as among faculty members, many of whom oppose Sissi and his crackdown on Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.

Read the rest here.

 Al-Azhar is both an important mosque and one of the oldest educational institutions in the Islamic world. Numerous earlier posts have covered the changing nature of Al-Azhar:

post from December 2013 reported that Youssef Qaradawi had resigned his position from the governing council of Al-Azhar accusing the institution of supporting Egypt’s military-installed government.

  • A post from October 2013, following the deposition of former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, reported that senior Al-Azhar scholars had called for prosecuting the Qaradair what they called “high treason.” 
  • post from last November 2012 reported on a speech given by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi before Friday prayers at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, his first speech ever at Al-Azhar  and where he called for Arabs and Muslims to unite in confrontation With Israel.
  • post from October 2012 reported that Salah Soltan, a notorious anti-Semite and formerly part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood,, had been appointed as Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIF) attached  to the Egyptian Ministry of Waqf. The appointment was made by the Minister Dr. Talaat Mohamed Afify Salem who has been described as a member of the Salafist movement in Egypt and as an “ally” of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Ministry of Waqf (Islamic Endowment) is reported to have influence over Al-Azhar.
  • post from May 2012 reported on what was describef as a “first-of-its-kind” meeting between Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Azhar leaders.
  • post from November 2011 reported that a Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo held at the Al Azhar Mosque was a “venomous anti-Israel protest” that featured calls to “kill all the Jews.
  • post fromn March 2010 reported on the appointment of Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb as head of Al-Azhar, replacing Mohammed Sayed Tantawi who had died recently on a trip to Saudi Arabia.
  • Posts from October 2008 reported on the election of Qaradawi to the Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar.

Other posts have reported on the numerous articles examining both the struggle for control of Al-Azhar as well as its role of in the Islamization of Egypt.

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One days following his departure from Qatar, the notorious cleric Wagdy Ghoneim has posted a video on his YouTube channel in which he call Western action against ISIS “a Crusader war” and calls the late Osama Bin Laden the  “martyred heroic mujahid, Bin Laden.” According to a MEMRI translation:

Wagdy Ghoneim

Wagdy Ghoneim

On September 16, 2014, a day after he was asked to leave Qatar, Egyptian cleric in exile Wagdi Ghoneim posted a video on his official Youtube channel, in which he stated his opposition to the anti-ISIS coalition. Sheikh Ghoneim stated that the war on ISIS is a ‘Crusader war,’ and explained that although he had some disagreements with ISIS, he would ‘never join hands with a Crusader to attack my fellow Muslims.’

Wagdi Ghoneim: ‘Dead brothers, virtuous sisters, I deliver this message after leaving beloved Qatar yesterday, and it is titled: ‘No to the Crusader war against the Islamic State.’ I say ‘No’ to the Crusader war – a war for which America and the Crusader West are mobilizing their armies now – against the Islamic state. Dearly beloved, the West and America… The Crusaders in general… The Crusaders in general are filled with hate towards Islam and the Muslims. They harbor evil towards Islam and the Muslims. Allah says this, not me.’

[...]

‘The Crusaders in America, Europe, and elsewhere are our enemies. Their faith is built on killing and bloodshed. Really! It is quite clear from their New Testament. They say so themselves.’

[...]

‘That fabricated image they used… The guy wields a knife, but no slaughtering takes place ‘live on air.’ They get the knife, and then you see his head lying on his body. This image is created by Photoshop.’

[...]

‘We shall never forget the terrorism of criminal America, which threw the body of the martyred heroic mujahid, Bin Laden, into the sea. May Allah have mercy upon him and place him among the righteous.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported earlier this week that Wagdi Ghoneim was among a group of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders and clerics that the Egyptian Brotherhood said had been asked to leave Qatar. 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.

Wagdy Ghoneim is an Egyptian cleric known for his anti-Semitic speeches. In January 2005, Mr. Ghoneim agreed to be voluntarily deported from the U.S. based upon Department of Homeland Security concerns that his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations. Since that time is he was a frequent speaker at Global Muslim Brotherhood events in Europe and had been banned from the UK.

For a full profile of Wagdy Ghoneim, go here.

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Islamist media is citing Turkish media sources in reporting that the “Muslim Brotherhood” has issued a statement rejecting foreign intervention in the Middle East. Without identifying the Brotherhood branch who made the statement, the Middle East Monitor report says the Brotherhood has rejected foreign intervention on the basis that is is a “new attempt to divide the Middle East”:

The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected foreign intervention in the Middle East under the pretext of confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying the intervention is nothing but ‘a new attempt to divide the Middle East’, Anadolu news agency reported.

The agency cited a statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday saying: ‘A large number of regional extremist organisations have recently emerged possessing advanced weapons and huge sums of money to attract young enthusiastic Muslims who lack sufficient knowledge about Islam. These organisations exercise extremism, cruelty and brutality in the name of Islam, not only distorting the image of Islam, but also giving its enemies a pretext for a new intervention in Islamic countries to sabotage and kill its people.’

The statement noted that: ‘This is what has happened after the emergence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, which defeated two armies with such power and seized swathes of territory and cities in the two countries while killing its opponents without mercy.’

It continued: ‘Now the US calls for an international alliance to fight this organisation after Secretary of State John Kerry met in Jeddah with nine Arab countries, as well as Turkey, to confront this serious terrorist threat, all the while we the people of the region do not even know who stands behind it and who supports it.’

The Muslim Brotherhood warned of a ‘fierce war where Muslims fight each other, with thousands of victims falling and huge sums of money wasted, creating new divisions in the region.’

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported earlier this week on Twitter comments by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi in which he also rejected US intervention on the basis that “the US follows its own interests, not Islamic values. “

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Israeli media is reporting that Jordan has arrested a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood on charges of incitement against the authorities. According to the Times of Israel report, Mohamed Said Bakr was detained following an event marking the end of the Gaza conflict:

Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood

Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood

Jordan arrested a senior member of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood Tuesday on charges of ‘incitement’ against the authorities, a judicial source said, as the group’s political wing demanded his release.

Mohamed Said Bakr, a member of the Brotherhood’s consultative council, was detained for 15 days by prosecutors after criticizing the government at an event marking the end of the conflict in Gaza, the source said.

The Jordanian Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front, condemned the arrest.

‘It is unacceptable that clerics and activists should be arrested on the basis of positions they expressed,’ said IAF Secretary General Mohamed al-Zayoud on the party’s website.

Zayoud called for the ‘immediate release’ of Bakr, saying that ‘stable regimes would not be threatened by a speech given at a festival or expressing an opinion.’

Read the rest here.

The Times of Israel had reported earlier on the Friday event at which it said a senior member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood “decried the kingdom’s diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, and offered his and the Jordanian people’s unwavering support for Palestinian ‘resistance’ fighters who wage ‘jihad’ against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians.”

Recent GMBDW coverage of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has included:

  • The GMBDW reported in August that supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan had staged what was described as a massive pro-Hamas rally in the capital Amman.
  • In July, the GMBDW recommended an Arabic language article titled “Jordan government may shift policy toward Brotherhood” which looked at the possibility of a change in the Kingdom’s stance towards the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.
  • In March, the GMBDW recommended an article suggesting that suggesting that the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan was facing an increasingly deteriorating situation.

For a revealing look into internal conflicts within the Jordanian Brotherhood, go here.

For a history of extremism by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.

For an analysis of the relationship between the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and the government, go here.

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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.

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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.

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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:

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

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.

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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.

 

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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:

Youssef Qaradawi

Youssef Qaradawi

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.

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