John Esposito Says Detention Of Muslim Brotherhood Leader Shows Need To Distinquish Non-Violent Islamists


Georgetown academic John Esposito has written an article for an Egyptian publication in which he states that the detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abu Fatouh is a reminder of the need to distinguish more clearly between moderate (non-violent) Islamists and terrorists. According to the article:

The continued detention of Abdel-Moneim Abu Fatouh, prominent professional, Muslim Brotherhood leader, and moderate voice for reform is a reminder of the need to distinguish more clearly between moderate (non-violent) Islamists and terrorists. US and European policymakers must pursue a diplomatic path of engagement and dialogue with moderate Islamists and with Arab and Muslim partners at the same time that they use a military strategy to capture and contain Muslim terrorists…..A critical challenge today is to distinguish between mainstream and extremist groups, secular and religious, and to work with democratically elected Islamists. US administrations and many European governments have often said that they distinguish between mainstream and extremist groups. However, more often that not, they have looked the other way when autocratic rulers in Algeria, Tunisia and elsewhere have intimidated and suppressed mainstream Islamist groups or attempted to reverse their electoral successes. The challenge has been particularly complex in connection to resistance movements like Hamas and Hizbullah. Both are elected political parties with a popular base. At the same time, they are resistance movements whose militias have fought Israeli occupation and whom Israel, the United States, and Europe have labelled as terrorist organisations.

It should be noted that Dr. Fatough was one of the signatories of a 2004 Bayyan (declaration) that read in part called:

… upon our Islamic and Arab nations along with all the religious authorities and the liberation powers, wherever they maybe: to resist the occupation and its savage crimes in Iraq and Palestine. To offer our moral and material support to the honourable resistance, its prisoners and their families. To be patient, strong and steadfast until God is victorious and the land of Islam cleansed from the filth of occupation. And this is drawing near by the grace of Allah.

Dr. Esposito has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990’s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K. headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure. . In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.

Despite these many ties to the global Brotherhood, Dr. Esposito claimed significant gaps in his knowledge about the Brotherhood while  testifying in the retrial of the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case.

(Note: Bayyan translation provided by Muslim World News)

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