Kurdish media is reporting that the Islamic Union of Kurdistan (KIU) is trying to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood following the Egyptian decision to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. According to a Rudaw English report:
January 2, 2014 Officials of the Islamic Union of Kurdistan (Yakgirtu) distanced themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood organization, soon after it was listed as a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government last week.
‘We do not have any links with the Muslim Brotherhood,’ Muhammad Rauf, head of the leadership council of the Islamic Union, told Rudaw. ‘We do not have any organizational links with them. We are a Kurdish party.’
Following the ouster last summer of president Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military, his Muslim Brotherhood organization has also been banned and many of its members subsequently jailed. On December 26, the Egyptian government listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
As he rejected claims that his party was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Rauf condemned Egypt’s act of branding it as a terrorist organization.
‘If the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization then it means there are no moderate Muslims in the world,’ said Rauf, referring to the ‘moderate politics’ of his group.
The Kurdistan Islamic union, founded in 1994, is locally seen as a branch of — or a party with close links to — the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
Other members of the Islamic union have previously stated that they are inspired by some of the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hiwa Mirza Sabir, a senior official of the group, had previously told Rudaw that the Islamic Union ‘is an extension of the school of the Muslim Brotherhood,’ and that ‘the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother of most of the ideas on which the Islamic Union builds itself.’
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The GMBDW reported last week on the Egyptian designation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our predecessor publication reported in 2009 that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood had identified the Kurdistan Islamic Union as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kurdistan.
The GMBDW reported in March 2010 that the KIU had won four seats in the recent election as opposed to the five it won in December 2005, According a knowledgeable source that time:
The KIU’s influence holds steadily low due to the relatively low level of support for the Islamist agenda in Iraqi Kurdistan. The overwhelming number of Iraqi Kurds have consistently proven to be dedicated nationalists (to their desired independent Kurdish state). The Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU).
The BBC has a short profile on the KIU:
Also known as Yekgirtu, the Kurdish Islamic Union is the largest Islamic organisation in Iraqi Kurdistan. It was formally established in 1994. The group’s leaders fought the 1992 legislative elections in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, winning third place behind the KDP and PUK. The party is currently led by Secretary-General Sheikh Salah al-Din Muhammad Baha al-Din. The party is supported mainly by donations from Saudi Islamic organisations. Active in charity work in the region, the party has been building mosques, clinics and schools in rural areas, where it has a strong following.
For the KIU website, go here.