The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has reacted tellingly to a report in yesterday’s UK media that a UK government department had donated funds to a charity coalition with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Middle East Monitor, itself an Islamist-controlled media outlet, an Egyptian Brotherhood spokesman said that the Egyptian Brotherhood had no links with the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF):
September 24, 2014 Mohamed Soudan, foreign relations chief for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said his movement did not have any links with a charity coalition known as the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF).
‘Reports in this regard have nothing to do with reality,’ Soudan told Anadolu Agency. ‘We have nothing to do with the MCF.’
British daily The Telegraph on Tuesday reported that a British government department had donated £18,000 to MCF, an umbrella group for several prominent Islamist charities.
It attributed the information to a spending report by the U.K.’s Department for Communities and Local Government, reporting that the British government had donated £18,397 to MCF earlier this year.
Soudan, however, insisted that the Brotherhood had not received any donations from the British government.
‘We participate in many charity activities in light of the fact that there is a large Islamic community in the U.K.,’ he said.
Soudan said the Brotherhood had not been subject to any harassment by the British government, noting that a controversial government report on the Brotherhood and its ideology had yet to be issued.
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported yesterday on the story in The Telegraph concerning the MCF.
The denial by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood speaks to the difficulties surrounding the notion of a Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB), a concept first developed by the GMBDW editor in 2003. The GMBDW FAQ has an extensive explanation of what is meant by the GMB but suffice it to say that it is a far broader conception of the Brotherhood than merely the Egyptian organization itself, despite it being the source from which the GMB originally sprang. As then Supreme Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood explained in 2007:
This blessed movement founded by our martyr Imam- Allah have mercy on him- ensued a huge movement which is present in more than seventy countries all over the world, and is still spreading and bearing fruits.
Since that time, the GMBDW has reported on other acknowledgements by the Brotherhood of the reality of a GMB. In 2008, we reported that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website had even identified a slew of Mideast organizations and one Italian group as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Adding to the confusion is the so-called “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood”, sometimes known as the Tanzim Al Dawli, which is far more limited in scope, generally referring to a leadership body of Middle Eastern Brotherhood organizations. Probably not coincidentally, the Middle East Monitor published another article today by former Egyptian Brotherhood figure Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh in which he claims that “the international organisational structure behind the Muslim Brotherhood was an ‘illusion created by the Egyptian media”:
September 24, 2014 Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the leader of the Strong Egypt Party, recently said that the alleged international organisational structure behind the Muslim Brotherhood was nothing more than an ‘illusion created by the Egyptian media’. Aboul Fotouh accused the Egyptian media of trying to foster the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement and that it should be referred to as the ‘International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood’. He emphasised that his rejection of the notion that an international Brotherhood exists ‘does not deny the fact that there are branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and other countries; however, it is comparable to the socialist movement, which can be found in many countries around the world’.
Read the rest here.
This is not the first time the Egyptian Brotherhood has tried to ridicule discussion about its International Organization. In December 2009, we reported that an Egyptian Brotherhood official had said:
The charge of the “international network” claims that we are in contact with the institutions and organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world and this is a ridiculous charge…
However, in an interview in May of that same year, then Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef provided details about the composition of it’s International Organization:
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Murshid-General (Guide), Muhammad Mahdi Akif, said that it is likely that his successor would be a non-Egyptian, but that depends on the internal elections in the Shura Council of the International Organization of the Brotherhood. He added in exclusive statement to Al-Quds al-Arabi that “the International Shura Council consists of 90 members from inside Egypt and 40 from outside, and it is they who elect the ‘murshid-general’.” As to whether the future ‘murshid-general’ can be a non-Egyptian, he said: “The brothers abroad have always preferred an Egyptian candidate out of politeness and love of Egypt.”With regard to the MB’s ‘international guidance bureau’, he said: “it consists of eight Egyptians and five non-Egyptians; whereas the Egyptian guidance bureau consists of 17 members, all of whom are Egyptians.”…With regard to the international organization, Dr Al-Halabawi said: “Representation on the Shura Council is for the countries with more members such as Jordan, Syria, the Gulf, Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe, and the candidate should be a prominent person.” (Note 1)
In January 2007, the Egyptian Brotherhood website had referred to Ibrahim Munir as “an Executive Bureau member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Organization.”
Clearly the Egyptian Brotherhood cannot keep its stories straight concerning its International Organization and is even more touchy about the concept of a Global Muslim Brotherhood which in 2008 it called “a Hollywood Fiction” while at the same time confirming its existence:
The so called Global Network of the Muslim Brotherhood is merely a Hollywood fiction that only exists in the minds of those who created it as part of their scare tactics to insight fears among the public and instigate government hostilities. There is no “global network” for the Muslim Brotherhood, but rather coordination among the different MB chapters in various countries, in which the MB has formal presence or representation, which clearly does not apply to the U.S. This coordination among international MB chapters mainly revolves around political issues, sharing experiences in the field of public Islamic work and exchange new ideas.
These tortured attempts by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to contradict its own statements on the global scope of the Brotherhood only reveals the extraordinary sensitivity of the organization regarding this issue. GMBDW readers who encounter such Brotherhood obfuscations should be better prepared than most to parse their various claims and denials.
For an overview of the Global Muslim Brotherhood concept, go here.
For an overview of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, go here.
(Note 1: “Statements by Muslim Brotherhood Leaders on Succession to ‘Murshid General'”Report on Statements by Muslim Brotherhood Leaders on the Position of Murshid General or [Guide] by Khalid al-Shami from London: Al-Quds al-Arabi Online Wednesday, April 8, 2009)