A.P. Says Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Playing Prominent Role As Uprising Takes On “Religious Overtones”


The Associated Press is reporting that the uprising in Syria is taking on “overt religious overtones” with a prominent role for the “moderate” Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. According to the AP report:

As Syria’s uprising evolves into an armed insurgency, parts of the movement are taking on overt religious overtones. Islamic movements in and out of the country are vying to gain influence over the revolt in hopes of gathering power if Assad falls. The Islamists’ role complicates choices for the United States and other nations who say they want to help the opposition without empowering radicals; a string of anti-regime suicide bombings have raised fears of al-Qaida involvement. The groups diverge from violent jihadi movements to political moderates like the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already used the Arab Spring revolutions to vault to power in Tunisia and Egypt elections. Their growing influence is seeding divisions within an already fractured opposition. A week ago, several prominent figures quit the Syrian National Council, the body of exiles that has tried to emerge as the opposition’s political leadership. They complained the fundamentalist Brotherhood dominates the group. The council is “a liberal front for the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Kamal Labwani, a veteran secular dissident, who broke away. He said the Brotherhood was trying to build allegiances on the ground in Syria.”One day we will wake up to find an armed militia … controlling the country through their weapons,” Labwani said.

In December 2011, a post reported that the opposition group known as the Syrian National Council (SNC) had opened its first office in Istanbul. Previous posts have discussed the SNC which includes at least two known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood- Louay Safi, a leader in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Najib Ghadbian, a board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). Another post discussed the meeting of the SNC with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported on moves by the U.S. Government to reach closer relations with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

For a comprehensive account of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.

For a 2006 comprehensive account of Islamist activities in Syria, go here.

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