Islam Online has reported that a high-ranking member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has traveled to London to consult with the likely replacement for the recently deceased head of the Brotherhood’s “International Organization.” A previous post had identified two other possible replacements but both have been ruled out according to the report. Faisal Malawi, head of the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood, was said to be in poor health while Rachid Gannoushi, also tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, declared that he was ” president of Renaissance Movement in Tunisia, only.” The report goes on to identify the likely success as Ibrahim Monir, according to other sources, was born in Egypt in 1937. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, serves as Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Organisation, and is also the Muslim Brotherhood’s current spokesman in the West and the general overseer of the London-based Muslim Brotherhood’s weekly bulletin, Resalat al-Ikhwan. Monir lives in London.
In 2004, the French newspaper Le Monde described the history of the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization:
The existence of the Tanzim Al Dawli is the best guarded secret of the Brothers. Today, many pieces of the puzzle are known. The first of these is that the supreme leader of the international framework is, since the beginning, the Egyptian guide. Significantly, he is the only one to carry the title of murchid (guide). The leaders of the other branches are `secretary generals’. The Brotherhood’s expansion abroad has a long history: from its very first years the movement’s ideology was spread by foreign students who were doing graduate work at Al Azhar or in other Cairo universities and who were seduced by the ideas of Hassan Al Banna. Back in their country they transmitted that ideology. After 1945 a Communications Bureau with the Islamic world was created. It soon became a sort of `ministry of foreign affairs of the Brothers’ according to the Egyptian journalist Husam Tammam who published the most thorough study of the international organization […] After Nasser dissolved the Brotherhood in 1954 the persecutions and exile of many of its prominent members aided its spread abroad. But the Tanzim Al Dawli’s true birth came later, on July 29 1982 to be exact, under the influence of Mustafa Machhour. After his release from prison in 1973, this leader of the Brotherhood worked to reestablish the web of the international movement through numerous foreign trips aided by Mohammed Mehdi Akef who has lived in Hamburg since 1981. The Muslim Brothers’ international is made up of member organizations and those allied with the movement, like the Jamaat e Islami in Pakistan or the Refah in Turkey. Machhour named an envoy to represent him abroad: the Syrian Hassan Howeidi who lives in Amman, in Jordan.
The article goes on to say that that the International Organization began to fall apart following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iraq and the departure of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brothers, said to have been the leading source of funds for the International organization, over the failure of the Brotherhood to condemn the invasion strongly enough. Despite the 2004 election of Mohammed Mehdi Akef as new Supreme Guide, who had spent time in Germany during the 1980’s, what Le Monde called the “centrifugal tendency” continued to develop.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDW as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide stating only that
..he had consciously decided not to limit his scope of manoeuvre by tying himself ‘any movement which might constrain my actions, even if this is the Muslim Brotherhood under whose umbrella I grew and which I so defended…Would I, at the age of 77, accept what I turned down when I was 49?’