The Muslim American Society (MAS), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has announced that its Civil Rights Director will be co-leading an interfaith delegation to Iran. According to the announcement :
MAS Freedom (MASF), as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), announces that Civil and Human Rights Director, Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey, will co-lead a grassroots interfaith civilian delegation organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) on November 26, 2008 for a two week tour of Tehran and other Iranian cities. The FOR friendship and solidarity initiative, originally launched in December 2005, followed by subsequent delegations in May 2006, March 2007, and May 2007, began as a project seeking alternatives to the current political standoff between the United States and Iranian governments. Also co-leading the November 2008 delegation is Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, a long-time peace activist and leader, co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish peace walk initiative in the United States and Canada, and co-founder of the Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence. The delegation will also include a number of American Jewish leaders, including several congregational leaders and scholars. This year’s delegates will meet with religious leaders, scholars, journalists, and representatives of Iran’s diverse faith communities, providing an opportunity for a diverse and representative group of Western peace activists to see firsthand the realities of life in today’s Iran. At the same time, they provide the opportunity for a wide range of ordinary Iranians to encounter citizens of the United States as we really are, beyond the stereotypes that define many views of the West. The long term goal of the project is to facilitate the ongoing international and interfaith dialogue with the people of Iran, to nurture a different set of relationships with the American people and hopefully, in the long term, with the government of the United States of America. The Fellowship of Reconciliation, located in Nyack, New York, is the nation’s largest interfaith peace and justice organization.
The MAS is a less well-known part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood that first came to national attention when the Chicago Tribune did a feature story on the group in September 2004 that revealed its origins as a branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The relationship between the global Brotherhood and Iran in general has been complex with elements of the Brotherhood expressing support for Iranian-backed Hezbollah in its ongoing conflict with Israel. A previous post discussed the theory espoused by an Arabic journalist that the Egyptian Brotherhood views Iran as a means for success in its long bid to gaining power in Egypt. Relations between Youssef Qaradawi and the Shiite world, probably the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, recently became strained following Qaradawi’s remarks accusing the Shia of “heresy” and of planning to invade Sunni countries.
U.S. Brotherhood groups have frequently engaged in interfaith activities.