Reuters is reporting that Hamas and Iran have repaired their political and military relationship following a breech in those relationships as a result of the Syrian war. According to the report:

Hamas

Hamas

December 17, 2014 Hamas and Iran have repaired a close political and military relationship frayed by the Syrian civil war, the Palestinian Islamist group’s deputy leader said on Wednesday.

Patching up ties with Tehran could ease Hamas’s financial and political isolation. Israel is blockading the Gaza Strip, while Egypt, battling Islamist militants in neighboring Sinai, has largely kept its Gaza frontier closed.

Speaking in his Gaza office, overlooking the Mediterranean, Moussa Abu Marzouk said: ‘I believe that bilateral relations between us and the Islamic Republic of Iran are back on track.’

He also told Reuters that Hamas, the dominant armed movement in the Gaza Strip, was not seeking a new war with Israel and wanted to see the enclave rebuilt after a devastating 50-day conflict in July and August.

Last week, a Hamas delegation visited Iran, long a major supplier of military and financial aid to the group. Hamas has been hostile toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Tehran in the three-year-old Syrian war.

In a sign that weapons supplies from Iran may have slowed, Hamas used mostly locally-made long-range rockets to attack Israeli cities in the conflict five months ago. It launched Iranian-produced rockets in similar strikes in 2012.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported earlier this month that a high-level Hamas delegation had arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran on an official visit.

The GMBDW reported in January on what was described the “rapprochement” between Hamas and Iran following a three year breach. The GMBDW reported in October 2013 that that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran.

For a profile on Hamas, go here.

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Reuters is reporting that Zaki Bani Rushaid (aka Zaki Bani Rsheid), a leader in the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, has been put on trial in Jordan, charged with criticizing ties with the UAE over the UAE designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group. According to the report:

Zaki Bani Rushaid

Zaki Bani Rushaid

December 22, 2014 Prominent Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood figure Zaki Bani Rushaid went on trial on Monday on charges of ‘souring ties with a foreign country’ after he criticized the United Arab Emirates for designating his organization as a terrorist group.

Asked whether he was guilty, a defiant Bani Rushaid told a military judge presiding at a state security court he had not ‘committed any crime that warranted being held accountable for’.

The mainstream Islamist politician, who is deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested a month ago after writing on social media that the rulers of the United Arab Emirates lacked popular legitimacy and served Israel’s interests by playing a leading role in a crackdown on political Islam.

Bani Rushaid’s remarks followed the UAE’s move to designate as terrorist around 80 Islamist groups and charities that the Gulf state views as a security threat.

His arrest, on charges that carry a minimum prison term of three years, is the first such detention of a senior opposition politician in Jordan in recent years.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported in May 2010 on the election of Zaki Bani Rsheid, described as a “hardliner” and a “hawk”, as the  secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front (IAF). The IAF is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. A post from 2009 had reported on his earlier resignation from the IAF in a dispute within the movement.

The GMBDW reported in November on the UAE list of terrorist organizations that included a large number of groups tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

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UK media is reporting that two Islamic charities have lost their grants after the government claimed they had links with Islamist extremism. According to the BBC report, one of those charities is the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), a group close to the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas in the UK:

Muslim Charities Forum

Muslim Charities Forum

Both Islamic Help and the [Muslim Charities Forum] had received the money through the Faith Minorities in Action project, which was set up by the DCLG in March last year.

The scheme, established in conjunction with the Extremism Task Force, was designed to encourage integration by promoting interfaith work, the role of women in faith, tackling youth crime and to provide child protection training.

‘Best practice’ The Muslim Charities Forum was awarded the contract to implement the scheme, which included running workshops to ‘share experiences and best practice on addressing a wide variety of social and community issues’.

Mr Pickles said the MCF had not been meeting objectives and was unable to reassure him that the body was sufficiently rigorous over its members’ activities.

The MCF said it was unaware of any perceived failings, and that it had not been contacted by the DCLG about the decision to stop the cash.

A spokesman for the forum said: ‘We will continue to foster cooperation and positive relationships between Muslim charities and other faith and community groups.

Read the entire article here.

The GMBDW discussed the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas ties of the MCF when we reported in December 2012 that the MCF had been seeking “unfettered access” to distribute aid in Gaza. At that time we noted that four of the MCF charities were known to have been associated with the Union of Good (UOG),  a worldwide charity coalition raising funds for Hamas and headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. These charities were:

  • Human Appeal International
  • Islamic Relief UK
  •  Muslim Aid
  •  Muslim Hands

and all are still listed as part of the MCF. 

In September, we reported that a UK government department had donated funds to the MCF and in October we reported that the MCF had criticised an article linking the umbrella organization to Hamas fundraising.

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The Investigative Project is reporting that Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., has blamed pornography for jihadist violence during a Georgetown University panel discussion. According to the IP report:

Hamaza Yusuf

Hamaza Yusuf

December 17, 2014 Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., blamed pornography for the proliferation of jihadist violence during a Georgetown University panel discussion Monday about the status of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries.

Princeton University law professor Robert George moderated the panel, and Yusuf appeared onstage along with John Esposito, a Muslim Brotherhood defender who heads the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding at the university.

After George noted that intelligence agents routinely find sexually explicit materials on laptops belonging to captured jihadists, Yusuf offered a theory in which young men ‘become deeply defiled’ by the pornography habits and blame the West for providing the corrupting influences. They turn to jihad for religious purification and redemption.

‘I really think that we underestimate the amount of people that have this experience of wanting to restore some kind of purity to themselves,’ Yusuf said, ‘and the only restoration for them is blowing themselves up and get rid of the part that is the source of my defilement which is my body.'”

Read the rest here.

Hamza Yusuf first came to public attention in 2001 in connection in connections with provocative statements he made shortly before the 911 attacks. According to a Washington Post report from that time:

On Sept. 20, FBI agents showed up at the house of Hamza Yusuf, a Muslim teacher and speaker in Northern California. They wanted to question him about a speech he had given two days before the Sept. 11 attacks, in which he said that the U.S. “stands condemned” and that “this country has a great, great tribulation coming to it.” “He’s not home,” his wife said. “He’s with the president.” The agents thought she was joking, Yusuf said. But she wasn’t. That day Yusuf was at the White House, the only Muslim in a group of religious leaders invited to pray with President Bush, sing “God Bless America,” and endorse the president’s plans for military action. “Hate knows no religion. Hate knows no country,” Yusuf said that day outside the White House. “Islam was hijacked on that September 11, 2001, on that plane as an innocent victim.” Yusuf’s mixed message created awkwardness for the White House — and revealed a dilemma for the suddenly very visible Muslim leadership in America.

The Post report goes on to detail Yusuf’s history of anti-American and anti-Semitic statements:

In June 2007, the GMBDW discussed Hamza Yusuf’s more recent statements in which while codeming the Holocaust denial movement, he appeared to compare the Holocaust to Palestine and Iraq. Other posts and reports have discussed his relationships with the Global Muslim Brotherhood which have included:

  • The UK-based Radical Middle Way which features Yusuf as a speaker as well as Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Tariq Ramadan and Jamal Badawi
  • An appearance at a 2009 Toronto convention whoch also featured Ramadan and Badawi as well as other Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
  • A 2010 YouTube video made by the US Muslim Brotherhood and that featured Yusuf.

For a profile of John Esposito, go here.

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Former FBI analyst Matt Levitt has written an analysis of the recent EU court decision that could conceivably lead to Hamas being removed from the EU list of terrorist organizations. The report begins:

Hamas

Hamas

December 16, 2014 In the latest sign of the legal troubles facing the European Union’s designation regime — the authority under which governments can freeze funds and economic resources of illicit actors — the EU General Court is expected to annul the terrorist designation of Hamas on December 17. The judgment comes on the heels of a similar action in October that annulled the Council of the European Union’s designation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on similarly procedural grounds. Although the new judgment is not expected to acquit Hamas of charges related to violence, it comes at a time when the group’s terrorist and militant activities are on the rise. And like the LTTE, Hamas will surely point to the judgment as ‘evidence’ that it is not a terrorist entity.

BACKGROUND On September 12, 2010, Hamas appealed its designation as a terrorist entity under the EU’s Common Position 931. In 2002, the EU had banned the group’s military ‘wing,’ the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, but not its social or political branches. Yet in September 2003, following a series of Hamas suicide bombings during the second intifada, the EU expanded the listing to include the entire group, though several European countries agreed to the action only skeptically.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported yesterday on the EU court decision.

The court ruling can be found here.

For a profile of Hamas, go here.

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The Economist magazine has published an articled titled “Islamism Is No Longer The Answer” which details the defeats suffered recently by the Muslim Brotherhood and asserting that Qatar no longer serves as its patron. The article begins:

Qatar Flag

Qatar Flag

December 20, 2014 It was all smiles in the Qatari capital, Doha, when leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council met on December 9th. Unusually, the annual summit of the six-member club of Arab oil monarchies packed more politics than pageantry. It marked the official healing of a deep rift between Qatar and its neighbours. More accurately, it confirmed the small but immensely rich host nation’s retreat, under sustained pressure, from an activist foreign policy its neighbours viewed not only as irksome but as downright subversive.

For the past decade Qatar had given quiet, generous and persistent support to the Muslim Brotherhood. It had lent money, diplomatic backing and a powerful media platform not only to the mother organisation, founded in Egypt in 1928, but to a range of affiliated and like-minded Islamist groups across the region. Qatar’s leaders leant ideologically towards the Brotherhood’s conservative but centrist Islamism. They also saw its tentacular reach as a force-multiplier for their own ambitions, and wagered on Brotherhood-style Islamism as the political wave of the Arab future.

Indeed, in the Arab Spring of 2011 Brothers and their fellow travellers won elections in Tunisia and Egypt, and took a lead in the bloodier uprisings of Syria, Libya and Yemen. The Palestinian branch, Hamas, had resorted to armed violence against Israel since the 1990s and took control of the Gaza Strip. Turkey, in the electoral grip of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party, seemed to offer an economically successful model of democratic Islamist rule: a bigger, modern-looking Brother.”

Read the rest here.

The article goes on to discuss the “the apparent loss of Qatar as a patron.”

The notion that Qatar has ceased its patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood appears to have begun in September when the GMBDW reported on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. As we have said in that and other posts, the GMBDW has doubts that Qatar has fully withdrawn its patronage of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. To begin with, we do not see evidence that Qatar has done anything to dismantle the significant infrastructure located in Qatar propping up the Brotherhood and which we described in September as follows:

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 an 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.

In addition, just yesterday we reported on on the launch of multiple new Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV stations, mostly located in Turkey  and said to be financially backed by Qatar.

Until we see some change in this sort of backing by Qatar for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, we will remain skeptical on these mainstream media assertions that Qatar has stopped its support of the Brotherhood.

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US media is reporting that Hamas has won an court ruling that could conceivably lead to it being removed from the EU list of terrorist organizations. According to a Bloomberg report:

Hamas

Hamas

December 17, 2014 The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which fought Israeli forces for nearly two months this year, won a court ruling that could lead to it being removed from a European Union list of terrorist organizations.

The EU General Court in Luxembourg, in what was described as a procedural ruling, said that the bloc’s decision to place Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, on the list of terrorist groups wasn’t sufficiently thorough and was based ‘on factual imputations derived from the press and Internet.’

Israel reacted with anger to the decision, seeing it as the latest in a series of European diplomatic moves the country views as favorable to the Palestinian cause. The ruling came on the same day that the EU Parliament voted to back ‘in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood,’ though failing short of a setting a deadline demanded by some lawmakers.

‘We are not satisfied by the explanation offered by the Europeans that the removal of Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations is due to a procedural issue,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an e-mailed statement. ‘The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list that everyone knows it belongs on,’ he said.

Read the rest here.

The report goes on to note that the EU “downplayed the court’s ruling, saying it was purely procedural and didn’t affect the bloc’s policy.”

The EU court ruling can be found here.

For a profile of Hamas, go here.

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The website of US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, has announced that a group of Congressmen have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury urging it to do more to designate and sanction individuals and entities that provide financial, political or material support for Hamas. According to the announcement:

Hamas

Hamas

December 9, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – Today U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, was joined by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Middle East and North Africa subcommittee, and Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury urging it to do more to designate and sanction individuals and entities that provide financial, political or material support for Hamas – a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization. The letter was cosigned by 20 additional Members of the two subcommittees. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

‘It’s no secret that Turkey and Qatar provide refuge to many Hamas operatives, and that both of these supposed American allies have become major terror financial hubs. While the Treasury Department has taken significant action against Hamas and its supporters, more can be done to halt support for this terrorist group. Both Turkey and Qatar have thus far been extremely lax in enforcing their terror financing laws and taking action against U.S. designated individuals or entities. By going after those individuals and entities tied to support for Hamas, Treasury can send a strong message to both governments that they need to get on board and sanction entities that are supporting terrorism or risk further isolation from America and our financial sector.’

The letter itself singles out key Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, located in Turkey and who is believed to head Hamas’ terrorist operations in the West Bank. To see the final, signed letter, please click here.

In August, the GMBDW was the first to report that  that Salah al-Arouri, a Hamas military leader residing in Turkey, had admitted that the Hamas military wing was responsible for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers,, an event which sparked the most recent round of the Gaza conflict. In November, the GMBDW reported that  Israel had arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network said to be funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey and led by Saleh al-Arouri.

A 2011 report report authored by the GMBDW editor was the first to identify Turkey as a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

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UK media is is reporting on the launch of multiple new Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV stations, located mainly in Turkey. According to the BBC report, the new channels are said to be financially backed by Qatar:

Qatar Flag

Qatar Flag

December 8, 2014 Despite the closure of its Egypt-based media in the wake of the ouster of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has continued to expand its media machine, with more and more TV stations and websites being launched overseas.

But the group might have spread its media wings too thinly. Its ever-growing outlets seem to have fallen short of having any conspicuous or significant influence on public opinion, whether in favour of the group or against the current regime of President Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi.

The MB’s media apparatus was shut down at home right after the unseating of President Morsi in July 2013. Misr 25, the group’s then only official TV station, was closed on the day Morsi was ousted, as were other supportive Islamist channels.

This and the restrictions it faced afterwards led the MB to turn its attention outside Egypt. The warm relations between Morsi and the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been a vocal critic of Al-Sisi, made Turkey a key destination.

In less than 18 months, nearly half a dozen TV stations have been launched there, with suggestive names, such as Al-Shar’iyah (The Legitimacy), Rabi’ah (the name of square where Morsi’s supporters protested against his ouster), Mikammilin (We are continuing), Misr Al-An (Egypt Now) and Al-Sharq (The East).

The MB-affiliated TV channels are said to be financially backed by the tiny oil-rich state of Qatar, a key supporter of the MB.”

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported in September on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. As we said in that post, we had doubts on the major media interpretation that the announcement represented a watershed in the relationship of Qatar with the Brotherhood. To repeat:

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 infrastructure located in Qatar propping up the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatari backing of the Muslim Brotherhood TV stations as described above would seem to confirm our interpretation of the September announcement.

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Reuters has published an article titled “Sisters In The Vanguard As Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Battles To Survive ” which looks at the current activities of the “Muslim Sisterhood.” The article begins:

December 15, 2014 (Reuters) – In homes and streets around Egypt, women are keeping alive a group the authorities are determined to crush. They teach Muslim Brotherhood values to children, organize its protests, preserve its networks, and take an ever more prominent role in politics.

The Brotherhood has been in retreat since the army overthrew elected Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in July 2013, launching a crackdown that has seen it banned as a terrorist group and thousands of its members jailed.

With most Brotherhood leaders in jail or exile, women who have long lived in their shadow have been thrust into the vanguard of the organization’s battle for survival.

Long accustomed to a supportive role focused on education and social work, the experience of the past 17 months, however bitter, has imbued the female members of the Muslim Brotherhood, known as Muslim Sisters, with new confidence.

In a patriarchal and conservative movement, it is unclear how far they can go, but for many, there is no turning back.

“Our experience has shown that we can lead. We might make mistakes but we fix them and move on and that’s better than standing on the sidelines,” said Heba, a Muslim Sister in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria. “We won’t go back.”

Read the rest here.

 In October 2012, the GMBDW discussed an article titled “The Muslim Sister” which looked at the women’s section of the  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

In July 2011, we reported that the Muslim Sisterhood had held its first conference in 60 years.

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