Egyptian journalist Abdel Latif el-Menawy has published an article titled “From Refuge To Rebellion, The Gulf’s Muslim Brotherhood” that looks at the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf countries and its relationship to the Egyptian organization. The article begins:
A Saudi friend of mine criticized the Egyptian media’s tone towards the Muslim Brotherhood, noting that the media are only reacting to the actual developments without looking into the root of the problem. He even reminded me of an interview given by the late Prince Nayef bin Abdualziz, the former Saudi minister of interior who said 11 years ago that the Muslim Brotherhood ‘is the source of all evils.’ My friend sent me the interview of Prince Nayef , considering that it is important to remember it and use it at this stage, in order to confirm the early detection of the danger that the Muslim Brotherhood present towards the political, social and intellectual structures in the Gulf region. Prince Nayef added in those decade old statements: ‘Without any hesitation I say it, all of our problems and their repercussions emanated from the Muslim Brotherhood.’ He added: ‘When life became tough on the Muslim Brotherhood and they were facing hanging in their home countries, they took refuge in the kingdom which tolerated them, protected them and gave them the safety they need and our brothers from other Arab countries accepted this situation. But after they spent years among us, we saw that they wanted to work so we facilitated this as some of them were teachers and deans. We opened our schools and universities to them but, unfortunately, they didn’t forget their previous engagement, so they started recruiting people, establishing the movement, and [turned]against the kingdom!’ He didn’t forget to mention their stance at the beginning of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when they issued a statement following their visit to Baghdad in support of the Iraqi invasion.
The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gulf countries started in Saudi Arabia. It began with the first political movement of the Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna during the hajj season, when he met the late King Abdulaziz al-Saud in 1936 and asked his permission for establishing a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia. The king refused at that time and said: ‘We are all Muslims and we are all brothers so you have nothing new to offer us here.’ But, soon enough the Brotherhood grew as an intellectual movement and its members started gaining power as individuals within the kingdom. The relationship with them was good, in the early days, but it took a different turn during the Yemeni revolution, when the Brotherhood had a different opinion to the Saudis. The Muslim Brotherhood supported the revolution while King Abdulaziz was against it, and this has negatively affected the relationship between Brotherhood and the kingdom.
Other Gulf countries
The Brotherhood experience in the other Gulf countries is very similar. They migrated from Egypt during Gamal Abdul Nasser’s era after their clash with the regime, as they tried to overthrow it.
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