An Israeli newspaper is reporting that a Hamas source has told a London newspaper that the organization has joined “the global movement of the Muslim Brotherhood.” According to the report:
12.10.11, 12:41 A senior Hamas source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday that the Palestinian organization has joined the global movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the source, the move took place as early as two months ago. The expression “a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine” has been added to Hamas’ official name – “The Islamic Resistance Movement.” The source added that the move had nothing to do with recent changes in the Middle East following the Arab Spring. “Following thorough discussions, which lasted more than a year and a half, we saw the need to take this step as the movement is growing and there was a need to lead it to independence instead of being dependent on the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Jordan. Hamas no longer belongs to any organization, but has become completely independent,” he said, adding that the group was now part of the global Muslim Brotherhood organization and was officially represented there. Despite its official admission into the global organization, the source noted that Hamas would continue carrying the flag of armed resistance. “We’ll continue to be different due to the presence of the Israeli occupation in Palestine, and the problem will remain as long as there are occupation forces,” he said. He explained that the movement’s treaty says Hamas is the jihadi wing of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Palestine, and that joining the global organization won’t solve this dilemma. The newspaper reported Friday that Arab and Western elements advised Hamas to rebuild the Muslim Brotherhood wing in Palestine in order to attain international recognition following the Muslim Brotherhood’s growth in Arab countries as a result of the Arab Spring. Some of the movement’s leaders objected, however, claiming that turning the movement from a resistance organization into a political group would weaken it. One of the proposals looked into was to establish a new political movement called “Freedom and Justice”, similar to the Egyptian party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which won the majority of votes in the first round of the Egyptian elections, in preparation of the elections expected to take place in the West Bank and Gaza next year once the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas is completed.
Previous posts have discussed analysts’ claims that that the very idea of a global organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is a “myth” and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s own claims that the concept is a “Hollywood fiction.” In spite of these claims, various figures and organization that are part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood have acknowledged its existence including:
- A statement by a U.S. convert and leader in the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is “an influential part of the global Muslim Brotherhood.
- An article posted on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website that identified a slew of Mideast organizations and one Italian group as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
- A statement by a frequent speaker at Brotherhood events that “MB offices have spread to more than 60 countries around the world, including Arab countries, Europe, and the United States.
- A statement by a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader in the U.K. that” [In] every European country you can find Muslim Brotherhood.”
Leaders in self-identified Muslim Brotherhood organizations have themselves said publicly that the Muslim Brotherhood exists, by its own admission, in more than 70 countries around the world and shares the “same ideology, principles and objective” from country to country. However, as we discussed in a post on the subject, most Brotherhood organizations outside of Egypt do not acknowledge their affiliations (Hamas, in Article Two of its Charter, is an example of an exception, acknowledging the group’s organic link to the Brotherhood), thus requiring researchers to make this identification themselves. We use the term “Global Muslim Brotherhood” as a shorthand to refer to this global network, which in fact is a closed group of people who work together on closely connected organizations, with interlocking directorships, around the world. A close examination of our work validates this practical approach.