Global Muslim Brotherhood Responses To Iranian Crisis


Of all the organizations and individuals comprising the global Muslim Brotherhood, only two U.S. organizations have yet responded to the recent events in Iran. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has said only that it is “troubled” by the recent arrests of journalists, political opposition leaders, and human rights activists, and chose to call only for the release of Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi (aka Ibrahim Yazdi), himself close to the U.S. Brotherhood. According to an ISNA statement:

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is troubled by the recent arrest of 500 journalists, political opposition leaders, and human rights activists, including Ebrahim Yazdi, the Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran. Dr. Yazdi was taken from his hospital bed in Tehran, where he was undergoing treatment for recurring cancer. ISNA calls on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Dr. Yazdi and all political prisoners and to respect the civil rights of the members of the media and political activists. The government must respect the rights of all individuals to exercise their freedom of expression and peaceful protest, which Islamic values and traditions affirm, and which are guaranteed by the Iranian constitution. Ebrahim Yazdi pursued his graduate work in the United States and later joined the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, with appointments in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology. He was a founding member of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and the Islamic Medical Association of the United States and Canada (IMANA). Dr. Yazdi served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan in 1979. He opposed the hostile takeover of the US Embassy by Iranian students and resigned in protest when the Revolutionary Council endorsed the student takeover.

A previous post has discussed Dr. Yazdi’s ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. It should be noted that according to a recent Hudon Institute report, ISNA itself came directly out of the MSA which Dr. Yazdi helped to create.

The only other comment from the Global Muslim Brotherhood was found on the personal blog of Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey, the Freedom Civil & Human Rights Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS). According to the post, Dr. Ramey was satisfied with the outcome of the election which, according to the government, returned Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, to power:

As more than 32 million people cast their votes in Iran’s 10th presidential election on Friday, June 12, 2009, I, like many if my brothers and sisters in the U.S. Muslim community, experienced conflicting emotions when the election results were announced the following day.On one hand, I felt deep satisfaction that a relatively open and free election, with clearly distinct electoral choices, actually took place – albeit with much vigorous debate – in a majority-Muslim nation. On the other hand, however, I felt deep concern that the election results in Iran might lead to more civil strife and political polarization in a nation that faces extraordinary international scrutiny and criticism – not to mention the threat of military attack from either, or both, the United States and/or Israel. The initial report of a landslide victory (62% of the popular vote) by the current Iranian President and his ruling party was not a huge surprise to many of us. President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, after all, commands a huge (but not universal) base of political support in Iran, although his victory over primary challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, has clearly now become tainted by charges of massive electoral fraud and other voting irregularities. Mousavi’s challenge was broadly considered to be based on a demand for broad social reform in Iran, more openness in the overall society, and a repudiation of the hard-line theocratic rule of the current Iranian religious leadership. The election results are now in the fifth day of vigorous and violent protests, described as the most dramatic political uprising in Iran since the 1979 revolution, with Iranians in the hundreds of thousands defying a ban on rallies and a crackdown on media coverage. Although I am fully aware that Iran is a sovereign nation, and that the trajectory of social change in that nation must be determined by the people of Iran themselves, I offer three observations with the hope that they may be helpful for Muslims, the world-at large watching what is happening in Iran, and perhaps even the leadership of Iran as well.

Although Dr. Ramey went on to call for a review of the election results and the safeguarding of “democratic structures and personal freedoms”, he also compared the electoral process in Iran with the American presidential elections of 1996 and 2004:

I commend the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for his commitment to respond to the election fraud charges leveled by Musavi and his supporters. There may be evidence that some of these allegations are true, even if the magnitude of the fraud/irregularities might not be sufficient to change the outcome of the vote. But it is also true that any democratic process must also have safeguards to insure the integrity of popular participation. The election review should be swift and thorough, and any persons found guilty of fraud or vote manipulation, on behalf of any candidate or party, must be held fully accountable for the crime. But I inject a cautionary note here to the American critics and detractors of the Iranian leadership: Most elections in the world, in fact, are tainted by allegations of fraud and voting irregularities. We have only to look at the American presidential elections of 1996 and 2004 realize the ubiquity of democratic imperfection, if not fraud. Any ongoing dispute of President Ahmedinejad’s victory must not be a pretext for directing more threats and hostility toward Iran.

As the Hudson report also indicates, the MAS is a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization. An earlier post discussed the complete relationship between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Iran.

The MAS itself has so far issued no statement on the Iranian crisis nor have the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) or the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) both of which have positioned themselves as “pro-democracy” organizations and which are both closes to the U.S. State Department.

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