Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) Editor Delinda C. Hanley has penned yet another attack on the GMBDW which closely parallels themes common to the global Muslim Brotherhood. According to the article, the GMBDW was part of a “hurtful smear campaign” directed against Rashad Hussain, the recently appointed US envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) who was the subject of several GMBDW posts and ensuing controversy in February:
The appointment of an accomplished lawyer, a respected member of the American Muslim community, and a close and trusted member of Obama’s White House staff was intended to strengthen dialogue with the Muslim world. This did not sit well with numerous right-wing blogs and Web sites, however, whose raison d’être seems to be promoting the clash of civilizations, and fear instead of cooperation. They set in motion a hurtful smear campaign to make the president withdraw the appointment.
This attack was no doubt prompted by the role that the WRMEA played in the affair which was first reported by the GMBDW in February. We will take up Ms. Hanley’s charges point by point. She begins by asserting that the GMBDW “manufactured” a story about Mr. Hussain:
The day after the announcement, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (GMDR), a blog launched in June 2007 by anonymous editors and sponsors, manufactured a controversial story full of innuendos and exaggerations about Hussain, among them the outlandish charge that he “has a history of participation in events connected with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as well as support for Brotherhood causes.”
In fact, nothing at all was “manufactured.” We simply followed our normal protocol for an individual who was being appointed to an important post impacting on US policy toward the Islamic world. We reviewed the public record and found that Mr.Hussain had been a speaker at four events connected to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (USMB), had complained of “political prosecutions/persecutions” of U.S. Muslims including Sami Al-Arian, the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the U.S., and had written an article about counterterrorism policy which advanced themes common to the US Muslim Brotherhood (USMB). It was these findings that we used as a basis for our original post and the statement that Mr. Hussain “has a history of participation in events connected with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as well as support for Brotherhood causes.” We are not sure what Ms. Hanley finds “outlandish” or “exaggerated” about this characterization. Even if these had been the only existing examples of Mr. Hussain activities and positions, it would seem that the characterization was substantiated but, it should be noted, we only have access to the public record and must assume that more such examples exist. As for “innuendos”, we are unable to determine to what Ms. Hanley refers.
Ms Hanley continues by charging that the purpose of the GMBDW “appears to be discrediting mainstream Muslim American organizations and leaders”:
A look at the GMDR Web site, , reveals that its sole purpose appears to be discrediting mainstream Muslim American organizations and leaders. Indeed, the blog boasts that “In August 2008, the Obama campaign Muslim outreach adviser Mazen Asbahi resigned after the Wall Street Journal disclosed his U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties based on information developed by the GMDR.” The post also implies that Dahlia Mogahed, one of two U.S. Muslims appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, also is tied to global Muslim Brotherhood.
First, we must assume that Ms. Hanley is not familiar with the GMBDW or she would be aware that we cover not only the US but global developments in the Muslim Brotherhood as well. More importantly, our goals are clearly spelled out in the About section of the site and have nothing at all to do with “discrediting” anyone. In fact, it is the Global Muslim Brotherhood that discredits itself though its association with fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and support for terrorism. As for “mainstream Muslim American organizations and leaders”, it is common for Global Muslim Brotherhood organizations and leaders, by virtue of superior funding and organization skills, to work themselves into a position of being viewed as mainstream” by many in their respective countries. Finally, we do not “imply” that Dahlia Mogahed is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood but, as always, we carefully document exactly what we believe these ties to be.
Ms. Hanley goes on to plead ignorance of both the US Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
This writer, who thought she knew a lot about Muslim American organizations, can’t figure out what either the Global or U.S. Muslim Brotherhood actually is. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is an opposition group, but to my knowledge there is no similar group in the United States.
It is surprising that that Ms. Hanley is not familiar, for example, with the documents released during the Holy Land terrorism financing trial which clearly elaborate a complex and covert structure which federal prosecutors have identified as the “U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.” A Hudson Institute report provides further and detailed historical analysis of the USMB based on these and other public record documents. That the organization, nor any other organization, is not named as such is not surprising given that although by its own admission, the Brotherhood exists in over 70 countries, it is not called by that name anywhere outside Egypt. The Global Muslim Brotherhood is a more complex topic which we have addressed elsewhere.
Ms. Hanley then levels the ugly accusation that there is a “GMDR blogger’s hit list”:
Rashad Hussain apparently was next on the anonymous GMDR blogger’s hit list—and he/she used a quote from the Washington Report as “proof” of the accusation.
Of course no such list exists and as we emphatically repeat that we do not target or conduct campaigns against any individual or organization nor do we cooperate with any other individual or organization in such targeting or campaigns.
Finally, Ms. Hanley asserts that the “attack” on Rashad Hussain is aimed at preventing Americans from understanding that Islam is part of the “Abrahamic tradition.”
While the attack on Rashad Hussein might look as though it is aimed at Muslims, in fact the ultimate goal is to prevent all Americans from understanding that Islam, along with Judaism and Christianity, is one of the three monotheistic religions born in the Middle East, and that Muslims are as much a part of the Abrahamic tradition as Christians and Jews.
We find this statement incoherent and can only assume that it is somehow yet another way of claiming that criticism of the Global Muslim Brotherhood is actually an disguised attempt to disenfranchise Muslims. Once again, Ms. Hanley conflates the Muslim Brotherhood with all Muslims, suggesting that anything critical of the Brotherhood is directed against Islam itself. As any reader of the GMBDW can testify, we take no position on issues of religion per se, but rather, confine ourselves to reporting and analyzing the activities of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That said, we can state that we consider the Global Muslim Brotherhood itself to be, in fact, one of the real hindrances to the enfranchisement and integration of Muslims in the West as well as to the political-economic development of countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The dictionary definition of smear is an “unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization.” Given that none of Ms. Hanley’s charges against the GMBDW are substantiated, we must conclude that in fact, it is Ms. Hanley who has “smeared” the GMBDW and this is not the first time that the GMBDW has been accused in such a manner. For example, similar accusations were made by USMB organizations following the appointment of Mazen Asbahi as Muslim Outreach coordinator for then candidate Obama in August 2008. The accusations generally employ the same themes- that our analysis relies on “guilt by association”, that we are part of the “rightwing blogosphere”, and that our goal is to prevent the political enfranchisement of Muslims. Interestingly, these are all common charges directed by Global Muslim Brotherhood organizations against their critics and as the Washington Report for MIdeast Affairs has long-served as a platform for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, it is not surprising that Ms. Hanley takes up their tactics in its defense. We will not take up Ms. Hanley’s explanation of her publication’s role in the deletion of Mr. Hussain’s comments about Sami Al-Arian, leaving it to the reader to decide about its credibility.