Muslim Brotherhood In Kurdistan


A Kurdish news portal has identified a mosque which appears to serve as the center of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to the report:

… this mosque is a religious institution that has a political dimension against the Kurdish nationalism movement. This institution is called Sheikh Mahmoud Muhammad Sewaf Mosque. It was built by Sheikh Sewaf sons in 1999. In my country most of the Mosques are built either for economic or political purposes. They are built either by wealthy people to avoid taxation on their properties; or they are built by political Islam (Islamism) to organize Kurdish youth to their political parties.SHEKH Mahmoud Muhammad SEWAF mosque is one of the mosques that was founded for political purposes. Sheikh studied theology at University of Azher in the early of 1940s. He brought all the books of Hessen Benna, Muhammad Khazaly and Sayid Qutib to Iraq and to the south of Kurdistan. Dr. Jamal Nebez says that Sewaf was an extreme Arab nationalists in Baghdad and, he adds that the Sheikh informed the Egyptian intelligences in Cairo about two Kurdish students who were his colleagues. These Kurds belonged to Kurdish separatist parties and then they were arrested by intelligence. Sheikh Sewaf was a founding member of Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq in the mid 1940s. Also he was a member of the office guide of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. At the end of 1959 he came to Kurdistan to establish a branch for his political party. Actually he achieved his goal in Helabja in 1960. Some Mullahs in the region promised (Al Bayet) to work with him seriously, therefore; Islamic groups in Kurdistan stem from the Muslim brotherhood in Iraq, and currently these groups claim that they can be an alternative of the nationalist political parties within the region. The founding of the branch aimed to weaken Kurdish nationalist parties which were represented by KDP at that time.

The report goes on to discuss the importance of Islamism for Kurdish national security:

Both Dr. Jamal Nebaz and Dr Romano Jamestown believe that the work of the Sheikh is against Kurdish national security. This is because Islamic political parties or Fundamentalist parities were founded, in Kurdistan in 1960. As we know during the 1960s, Kurdish freedom movements were very active. The movements were struggling for Kurdish national identity based on being a Kurd (Kurdayati). The Islamic parties started to challenge this identity. They focused on religious identity as a challenge to the freedom movements of Kurdistan. This argument is based on the premise that all of society’s problems stem from the failure to correctly observe Islam. In other words, Islamic parties claim that the Kurdish question is not a nationalist question. It is not a question of a nation that has historically been suppressed by Muslims, Arabs ,Turks and Persians so the Kurdish society should return to the fundamental basis of Islam. Dr Romano Jamestown believes that Sunni Islamist groups are opposite to Kurdish nationalist groups. The emergence of political Islam and their destructive behavior poses a real challenge to the Kurdistan region, the major nationalist political parties and to the regional administration. He adds that the Islamic groups in Kurdistan have three strategies. First, re-Islamize the society. Second, infiltrate Islamic cadres into organizations. Last, to gain power in order to control the country. That is why we see that all Kurdish enemies are supporting and fomenting Islamic groups and they receive financial support from gulf charities.In brief, the Sheikh has utilized Islam to support Arabism and weaken Kurdish nationalism. Indeed his work to some extent is fruitful for Kurdish enemies and Islamic parties.

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