Documents recently released as part of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terrorism financing trial suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. was far more structured and organized than previously known. Prior to the release of the documents, it was clear that the various organizations and individuals comprising the U.S. Brotherhood were networking extensively with each other but the existence of leadership structures could only be the subject of speculation. Now however, three of the documents shed light on such structures, at least as they existed at the end of the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s. The first document, dated December 1988, is entitled “Preliminary vision for preparing future leadership” and was signed by M.A, likely Mohammed Akram who, as a report by the NEFA Foundation suggests, is probably Secretary General of the International al-Quds Foundation in Lebanon. The last page of the document is a spreadsheet with a column entitled “The Apparatuses”, a common word used by the Brotherhood for its organizations. This list of organizations comprises both public and covert U.S Brotherhood structures. The first covert structure is the “The Shura” with the first cell containing the name Al-Qadi, appearing to confirm the Chicago Tribune article identifying Ahmed Elkadi as head of the Brotherhood in the U.S. Other covert structures include “The Office”, “Security”, and the “Palestine C.” discussed in a previous post. The public structures include almost all of the known Brotherhood organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Interestingly the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is not included although it’s affiliate, the Association of Muslim Social Science, is part of the list.
The second document is entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum, On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” written by Mohamed Akram and dated May 22, 1991. On page 14 of this document, which is interesting on many other levels, Akram references the many of the covert Brotherhood apparatuses discussed above as he outlines his plan for further organizational development of the U.S. Brotherhood. There is a list of organizations attached to the end of the document with the heading:
A list of our organizations and organizations of our friends. [Imagine if they all march according one plan]
This is list is similar to the list referenced in the first document but this time does include IIIT. The meaning of “our friends” is not clear but this document, as well as others, alludes to some kind of conflict between the U.S. Brotherhood and ISNA that will be the subject of a future post. The third document is a phonebook dated 1992 that in various pages identifies the “Executive Committee” , probably the Shura Council, as well as the heads of various U.S. regions and committees. In total, these documents are substantial evidence of a highly organized and partially covert leadership structure of the U.S Muslim Brotherhood. The documents also identify well-known Islamic public organizations as part of that structure including ISNA, NAIT, MSA, and the Islamic Association for Palestine, the pre-cursor to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). What was previous described by one analyst as a “gaseous cloud” might now be better characterized as an iceberg whose visible component belies the massive structure beneath.