ANALYSIS: On "Mainstream" Islamic Organizations


One of the charges raised recently by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters is that the GMBDW is engaged in criticism of “mainstream” U.S. Islamic groups. The implication seems to be that there is some kind of contradiction between being mainstream and extremist. To avoid getting lost in social science jargon, we will employ a simple, common (mainstream?) definition of the word mainstream which is “belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group.” Certainly, the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations commonly identified in the GMBDW might be said to be “dominant” and often, but certainly not universally “widely accepted.” This begs the question of how these Brotherhood groups came to achieve this position, though superior funding and organizational ability inherited from their Brotherhood legacy would seem a good an explanation as any. However, more importantly, there does not appear to be any contradiction between being dominant and/or widely accepted and extremist at the same time. Using another common definition of extremism, “a term used to describe the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political center of a society”, we can see that the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood also fits within this category. Judging by the U.S. political center; support for Islamic fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and terrorism are clearly outside that center. The self-assigned mainstream label is just another rhetorical tactic characteristic of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

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