One of the major rhetorical tactics of the global Muslim Brotherhood can be characterized as “accuse others of you that which you yourself are guilty of.” For example, U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations with a history of anti-semitism frequently accuse critics of “islamaphobia” and while asserting “smear campaigns” directed against Muslims, do their best to demonize and defame their critics. The general strategy is to conflate criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Islamism with attacks on Muslims or Islam itself. Thus, individuals and organizations who report on Brotherhood activities are frequently called “Islamaphobes” and their work products labeled as “anti-Islam.” The aim of such tactic appears to be invoking the laudatory impulse to defend against genuine defamation as opposed to critical analysis. A further goal seems to be generation of support for Brotherhood organizations by manufacturing the impression that Islam and Muslims are under attack, requiring the intercession of Brotherhood organizations for defense.
An example of such tactics is a piece which appeared yesterday on the Huffington Post, a left-wing blog, by pollster and prominent Arab-American James Zogby. The piece describes the events surrounding the resignation of former Obama campaign Muslim outreach coordinator Mazen Asbahi as follows:
Then it happened. A shady website “Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report” that monitors Muslim activism and organizations revealed that 8 years ago Mazen had been on the board of the Allied Assets Advisors Fund. Also on the board was Jamal Said, described as “a controversial imam in a fundamentalist Illinois mosque.” In fact, Mazen was on this board for only two weeks before his discomfort with some of the things being said about the group led him to resign. This brief association appears to be the main “allegation” against Mazen. The other charge is that he, like thousands of other Muslim American students, was a student body leader of the Muslim Students Association – an established and respected religious/social group found on most U.S. campuses. But because an anti-Muslim blogger with a marked penchant for exaggeration and error has called the Muslim Students Association a “wahhabist front” – this charge against Mazen was thrown into the mix. In the days that followed, the charges became fodder extremist right wing bloggers, who began to write about Mazen, describing him as a person that neither he nor those of us who had come to know him could recognize. As has become standard practice these days, the major media (in this case, the Wall Street Journal) picked up the non-story and began to prepare an “expose.” Concerned that this would escalate, Mazen and the campaign agreed to terminate his position.
This recounting of events bears no resemblance to the actual events and appears to be a narrative constructed to suit the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. What actually happened was that on August first, the GMBDW posted the information that Mazen Asbahi was listed by an SEC document as on the board of Allied Assets Advisers. The posting did not describe Jamal Said, another board member, as a “controversial imam in a fundamentalist Illinois mosque” but rather as “likely the Imam at the Bridgeview Mosque in suburban Chicago which has been tied to Hamas fund raising and the Muslim Brotherhood.” This mistake should demonstrate that the Mr. Zogby has never actually read the GMBDW reports which would seem to cast doubt on his account of events. Following the first posting, another posting discussed Mr. Asbahi’s ties to two more organizations linked to the U.S. Brotherhood. Between August 1 and August 6, the day on which the Wall Street Journal article appeared on Mr. Asbahi’s resignation, there was almost no discussion about Mr Asbahi either in the media or in the “blogosphere” until the Journal story broke. Mr. Asbahi resigned almost immediately following inquiries from the Journal and before widespread discussion of the issue took place. The Journal thus could not have “picked up the non-story” from “extremist right wing bloggers” because there was no story until Mr. Asbahi actually resigned nor had any other publication or blog discussed his ties to the U.S. Brotherhood. Undoubtedly, the Journal learned of the information about Mr. Asbahi from readers of the GMBDW which includes members of the media among its subscribers.
Since the Asbahi affair began, organizations that are part of or supportive of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood have called the GMBDW part of a group of “mudslinging Web sites harboring a blatantly anti-Muslim agenda” and now “a shady website that monitors Muslim activism and organizations.” In fact, the GMBDW has neither an anti-Muslim agenda nor does it monitor Muslim activism and organizations. The GMBDW monitors the activities of the global Muslim Brotherhood which, while comprised of Muslims, does not constitute the entire body politic of the Muslim community although the Brotherhood organizations attempt to assume the role of sole spokesmen for that community. As a previous post discussed, the reporting on Mr Asbahi contained no “accusations” or “guilt by association” but rather was a factual exposition of Mr. Asbahi’s ties to organizations close to or part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, reporting that was well within the writ of this publication and certainly of public interest given Mr. Asbahi’s position in the Obama campaign. The accuracy of this reporting has never been question or challenged. In contrast, the U.S. Brotherhood has responded with demonization, inaccurate citations, and accusations of bias and racism despite the fact that there is no evidence that these critics have ever actually read any of the reports in question.