The program for the the 9th Annual U.S. Islamic World Forum, sponsored by the U.S. Brookings Institution and opening today, indicates that for the first time members of open Middle Eastern Muslim Brotherhood groups will be participating and features a seminar on promoting Islamic charities that includes the leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). According to the program, the following members of MIddle Eastern Muslim Brotherhood organizations are scheduled to participate:
- Suleiman Abdel Qadir (Former General Observer, Muslim Brotherhood, Libya)
- Esam al-Haddad (Foreign Relations Committee Officer, Freedom and Justice Party, Egypt)
- Mohamed Gaair (Senior Official, Muslim Brotherhood Libya)
In addition, the following individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood are also featured:
- Tariq Ramadan ( son-in-law of the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood)
- Jasser Auda (colleague of Tariq Ramadan, multiple affiliations)
- Rachid Ghannouchi (head of Enahda, the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia)
- Abdallah bin Bayyah (King Abdulaziz University, European Council for Fatwa and Research)
- Awakkol Karman (2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Islah Party- Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen)
- Sherman Jackson (Islamic Society of North America)
- Mohamed Magid (Islamic Society of North America)
- Radwan Masmoudi (Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
Nihad Awad, the leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is also listed as participating in a session on Islamic charities titled “Developing New Mechanisms to Promote the Muslim Charitable Sector.” A recent post reported reported that new Congressional legislation contains a report recommending that the Attorney General sever its ties with CAIR as the FBI has already done. In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” Nevertheless, the session was scheduled to include U.S. counter-terrroism officials from the State and Treasury Departments.
Also participating in the Forum were the following individuals either part of or close to the U.S. government:
- Steven Simon (Senior Director, Middle East and North Africa, National Security Council, White House)
- Farah Pandith (Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Department of State)
- Rachid Hussain (U.S. envoy to the OIC, history of ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
- Dalia Mogahed, (Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, close to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
- Emile Nakhleh (former head of CIA Political Islam program)
The alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar is becoming a noticeable factor in the reshaping of the Middle East. There are several striking aspects to this evolving and deepening relationship. First, note that the Brotherhood is barely involved in Qatari domestic affairs. The arrangement is akin to the one between Qatar and Al Jazeera, the biggest Arab television channel, which is based in Doha. The station covers news throughout the Arab world but refrains from covering controversial events in Qatar. As a formal organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar dissolved itself in 1999. Jasim Sultan – a former member of the Qatari Brotherhood – has explained in a television interview that this decision was justified because the state was carrying out its religious duties. Mr Sultan supervises the Al Nahdah (Awakening) Project, which involves training, publishing and lecturing about public activism. Last August, he wrote an article asking Egyptian Islamists to change their discourse and move towards ‘partnership thought’ instead of concentrating on ‘infiltrating the society to control it’. Mr Sultan is active in training Islamists in Egypt and other countries on how to function within the institutions of democracy. The second point of interest about Qatar and the Brotherhood is that the relationship was formed and is maintained largely through personal ties, which play a vital role. Doha has hosted individual activists, providing them with refuge and employment. Yusif Al Qaradawi, a Qatari national and resident of Egyptian origin, is a good example. He is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, and his television programme on Islamic laws and principles has made him a star on Al Jazeera. His current relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood is not clear, but he has been a leading member, and is highly respected by its members around the world. One striking example of his influence is a recent photograph of him with Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minster of Hamas in Gaza. (Hamas is an arm of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.) In the image, Mr Haniyeh, during a recent visit to Qatar, is bowing and kissing Mr Al Qaradawi’s hand in a show of respect.
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A post from March reported that the Deputy Chairman of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was visiting Qatar for meetings with Qatari officials
An earlier post discussed the relocation of Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal from Syria to Qatar in yet another sign of the country growing importance as a center of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. A series of recent and important Global Muslim Brotherhood events have been held in Qatar illustrating the increasing importance of the country to the Global Brotherhood.
It should also be noted that the Saban Center for Middle East Policy has long been at the forefront of pushing ties between the U.S. and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.