CNS News is reporting on statements by the Obama administration saying they talked with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of promoting small business. According to the report:
(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration says that it has talked with members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in order to promote small business. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned in Egypt during the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, leads the Freedom and Justice Party which, according to the Congressional Research Service, won 235 of the 498 seats (47 percent) in Egypt’s new People’s Assembly, which convened in January. The fundamentalist Islamist Alliance won another 125 seats (or 25 percent of the assembly). In an online briefing for foreign reporters last week, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats said that the State Department is trying to promote collaboration between small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and businesses overseas. In this context, he said he had talked to members of the Muslim Brotherhood about promoting smaller enterprises. He said he would be having similar discussions this week with leaders from Middle Eastern and North African countries. “America’s a big economy with a number of big companies. We also have a lot of small and medium-sized companies. And we know in many parts of the world, there is an effort to support small and medium-sized enterprise,” said Hormats. “Just one example: I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Middle East and North Africa in support of the kind of reforms that are now going on in that region,” said Hormats. “And one of the things that I have picked up by people throughout the region is their emphasis on support for small and medium-sized enterprises. American companies would like to buy from and collaborate with small and medium-sized enterprises in North Africa, the Middle East. I’ve had conversations in Egypt, with business people members of the Muslim Brotherhood; the same is true in Tunisia, and other parts of the world. “So this is not an ideological issue. This is not a political issue,” said Hormats. “This is a practical issue of collaboration between the United States and companies around the world and governments around the world, all of whom want to create jobs, want to work together, and to improve the living standards of their citizens. American business is very supportive of this. “The State Department is very supportive of American business and of cooperation between American business and businesses in other countries who want to create jobs, who want to innovate, and want to strengthen their global ties in a mutually constructive way,” said Hormats.
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A post from February reported on the inception of what is described as a new businessman’s association established by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey is often held up as a possible model for democratic Islamist government. A report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) describes MUSIAD, an Islamic businessman’s association founded in Turkey in 1990 and with strong ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
The Müstakil Sanayici ve ??adamlar? Derne?i (MÜS?AD) was founded in 1990 by religiously-devout entrepreneurs with ties to Prime Minister Ozal or to the Islamist Necmettin Erbakan and as an alternative to TUSIAD, the organization representingthe secular middle class. MÜS?AD fused a pro-business philosophy with an Islamic critique of capitalism, seeking to replace it with a system based on Islam. MÜS?AD issupported by Prime Minister Erdogan, is pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel, and has a stron grelationship with the Middle East through its Foreign Relations division, at one time headed by Gazi Misirli, a Turk of Syrian origin who joined MÜS?AD in 1998. Misirlicame to Turkey in either 1983 or 1987 and studied engineering at Istanbul University. He is a trustee of the Europe Trust, an arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizationsin Europe (FIOE), which has amassed a real-estate portfolio and uses part of the income to fund FIOE projects. All of the trustees, including Ibrahim El-Zayat, are leaders inthe European Muslim Brotherhood. Misirli appears to have close ties to Prime Minister Erdogan
The JCPA report also revealed that MUSIAD played a major role in funding the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces:
In the aftermath of the flotilla, the Turkish/MB network continued its support in more official statements, and at a post-flotilla event in Kuwait, Turkish/MB network leader Gazi Misirli revealed that MUSIAD had played a major role in funding the flotilla by “coordinating” donations. In addition, the Turkish/MB network was in ongoing contact with Hamas leaders as well as with the Union of Good, the coalition of charities headed by Youssef Qaradawi that raises funds for Hamas. These conclusions raise three further important issues.