Gulf media is reporting on the launch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s version of the social networking site Facebook, to be called IkhwanBook. According to a report in the National newspaper:
CAIRO // The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s powerful Islamist opposition movement, will launch its own version of the hugely popular social networking website Facebook within the next several months, its members say. IkhwanBook, which is already up, running and accepting members at www.ikhwanfacebook.com, borrows many of the same social concepts – such as image and video sharing, live chatting and online “friendships” – that attracted some 400 million users to the original Facebook after only six years. Yet given the Brotherhood’s goals of recruiting new members and popularising its relatively moderate conception of political Islam, the new site seems somewhat counter-intuitive, say some of the movement’s followers and observers. With a subscriber base that exceeds the population of most large countries, Facebook should be the perfect platform for propagating ideas and attracting adherents. But defenders of the site say they envision IkhwanBook as a complementary parallel – not a replacement – for Facebook. The organisation, members say, wants a social networking site of its own that can be tailored to its unique need for privacy, security and decency. “I think that it’s important that we have channels which are not contradictory to the original Facebook but which are parallel to it,” said Ahmed Said, an engineer and a member of the Brotherhood’s media development team. “We will not be isolated. Many groups have their own social network on the net. The name is Ikhwan, but it is not limited to Ikhwan. It is open to everyone.”
The report goes on to say that IkhwanBook is part of a suite of Brotherhood-affiliated websites:
IkhwanBook joins a veritable suite of Brotherhood-affiliated (“Ikhwan” is Arabic for “Brotherhood”) websites, such as IkhwanWiki, IkhwanWeb, IkhwanGoogle – a “Cusotmized [sic]search engine specialized in searching muslim botherhood’s [sic]websites” – and IkhwanTube. Many of the sites are published in English and each of their functions is tailored to Brotherhood-related content. Each site demonstrates the Brotherhood’s zeal – if not exactly a perfect technical command – for digital communication and outreach.
IkhwanBook is hosted on a server also hosting 18 other Brotherhood domains. The home page of Ikhwangoogle.com, one of those domains, points to a web page listing nine Brotherhood websites including Ikhwanophobia.com which, as described in a previous post, claimed that “It is run by a group of Academic intellectuals. ” A similar claim of independence was made for Ihkwanscope.com which is also listed on the Ikhwangoogle.com home page. As noted in earlier posts, establishing multiple, redundant organizations and websites and then denying their relationship to the Brotherhood is standard operating procedure for the Global Muslim Brotherhood who appear to understand that by doing so, the illusion of greater breadth and legitimacy is established.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood can be considered to be the “mother” organization of what is referred to in these pages as the Global Muslim Brotherhood which developed as Muslim Brothers fleeing Egypt settled in Europe and the United States, as well as other places, throughout the years. The global network has since eclipsed the Egyptian organization as evidenced by global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi’s decision to turn down the leadership of the Egyptian organization when it was offered to him in 2004.