ANALYSIS: Italian Muslim Brotherhood Rhetorical Tactics


A letter to the editor written in early November by Mohamed Nour Dachan, chairman of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (UCOII) illustrates some of the tactics used worldwide by Muslim Brotherhood organizations as they attempt to counter their critics. In the letter, written in response to an article in the influential Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mr. Dachan addresses several criticisms. First, he says:

The journalist alleges that Mr Al-Qaradawi [Muslim scholar] is praising terrorism. Immediately thereafter, he says that the same person is the UCOII’s “spiritual point of reference.” This is false. The UCOII has no spiritual points of reference! Such falsehood only results in convincing readers that the UCOII is inspired by the aberrations of terrorist ideology. The UCOII has always condemned terrorism “without ifs or buts.”

The record of the UCOII on terrorism aside, it should be noted that Dachan does not criticize Qaradawi for his well known support of terrorism in Israel and Iraq nor does he deny the importance of Qaradawi to the global Muslim Brotherhood of which the UCOII is an Italian member. Instead he takes issue the the notion of a “spiritual point of reference”, a bit of sophistry that ducks the issue of the relationship of the UCOII to Qaradawi and the Brotherhood.

Next, Dachan moves on to the question of UCOII support for death sentences for “apostates”:

Allam then writes that “on the Islamist web sites of the UCOII there is an endorsement of the death sentences for apostates, infidels, and enemies.” The UCOII has never endorsed such aberrant thoughts, neither on its web site nor elsewhere. One has only to visit the web site in order to verify that its contents are far from and incompatible with the allegations made by Allam. Those who sentence another person to death are criminals, this is the belief of the UCOII.

As a previous post has discussed, an Italian website operated by Italian convert Hamza Piccardo, a founder and former Secretary-General of the UCOII) has posted a fatwa that appears to support exactly such sentences. Again, Mr. Dachan fails to criticize the position taken by one of its leaders allowing the UCOII to play both sides of the fence.

Finally, Mr. Dachan attempts to refute the argument that the UCOII supports terrorism by citing its position in Italian society:

The fact that the allegations against the UCOII are baseless can also be seen by the following:

1) If the UCOII web site posted texts instigating murder, it would already have been closed down.

2) If the UCOII were inspired by terrorist ideology, its chairman would not sit on the Consultative Panel for Italian Islam, a body set up by the Interior Ministry.

3) If the UCOII were a hub for terrorism, its activities would have already been forbidden.

This argument illustrates the importance placed by Muslim Brotherhood organizations on the legitimacy resulting from a relationship with governments. Brotherhood organizations in the U.S., such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) , have take similar positions arguing that its relationship with the FBI proves that it could have no ties to terrorism.

(Source: BBC Monitoring International Reports November 15, 2007 Thursday “CHAIR OF ITALIAN MUSLIM BODY DISPUTES JOURNALIST’S ALLEGATIONS” Text of report by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera website on 9 November Source: Corriere della Sera website, Milan, in Italian 9 Nov 07

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