ANALYSIS: Another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Figure Surfaces In Bahrain, Rise of Bahraini Brotherhood?


A previous post has reported on the presence in Bahrain of Muslim Brotherhood figure Wagdy Ghoneim. The same Arabic news report that discussed the awarding of Bahrani citizenship to Ghoneim also stated that Egyptian Dr. Solah Sultan (aka Soloah Soltan), another Muslim Brotherhood figure previously resident in the U.S., had also relocated to Bahrain where he was appointed as adviser to the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid Al Khalifa. According to the report, Dr. Sultan left the U.S. following negative press reports in the U.S. media which led the authorities there to suspend his application for American citizenship. Dr Sultan’s online resume indicates that he is or was a member of several important U.S. and European Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the International Union for Muslim Scholars and European Council for Fatwa and Research, both headed by Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, the Fiqh Council of North America, and the Board of Trustees of the Islamic American University chaired by Qaradawi. This resume also expresses Dr. Soltan’s vision “To live happily. To die as a martyr.” Disturbingly, Dr. Soltan’s resume also indicates that since 1996, he has also been a member of the Faculty of Shari‘ah and Law in Oman raising the possibility of Muslim Brotherhood influence in that relatively quiescent country.

The negative press reports about Dr. Sultan cited above may be a reference to a series of articles in Frontpage Magazine which identified a 1999 anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas speech given by Dr. Soltan, discussed his appearance on Saudi TV claiming that the US planned the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for terrorizing the world and praising Osama bin Laden confidante Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani, and pointed out that he had recently attended an Istanbul rally featuring Hamas chief chief Ismail Haniyeh. According to Frontpage, this information was turned over to the Department of Homeland Security by a U.S. Congresswoman.

A July L.A. Times article indicates that the asylum provided to Ghoneim and Soltan maybe part of a larger development inside Bahrain which the paper reports has seen what some in the Kingdom view as a growth in Sunni fundamentalism:

..secular and Shiite Bahrainis have become alarmed by the growth of Sunni fundamentalism. Figures allied with the Muslim Brotherhood or more extreme groups have gained the upper hand over the ministries of information, finance and large parts of the military, government critics and human rights groups say. Banks owned by Muslim charities or organizations have grown rich with the return of Arab funds from the United States and Europe after the increased post-Sept. 11 scrutiny of Persian Gulf money in the West. Islamic charities have morphed into powerful political groups, with the government’s encouragement, critics say. Some likened the rapid buildup of Sunni groups to the U.S. and Saudi support for Islamist Afghan warriors during the 1980s Soviet occupation.”

According to the report, this development has the support of elements of the Bahraini royal family:

Leading members of Bahrain’s royal family have thrown their weight behind hard-line Sunni Muslim groups, some of whom share the outlook of Al Qaeda, in an attempt to counter a perceived Shiite threat, government officials and critics say. The strategy, first exposed in a government report that surfaced last year, has revealed a rift within the court of the ruling Khalifa family. One faction believes in reconciliation with the Persian Gulf nation’s disenfranchised Shiite Muslim majority. The other believes in suppressing Shiite aspirations, even if it means supporting Sunni groups propelled by the same ideologies that inspire Osama bin Laden.

The international role of the Bahraini Muslim Brotherhood has also been reported by confidential sources who indicate that members of a Bahraini family linked to the political arm of the Bahraini Brotherhood have donated real estate to the Europe Trust, the endowment arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizations of Europe which is the umbrella group representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.

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