It is sometimes asserted that the Global Muslim Brotherhood is a “firewall” against extremism or terrorism. For example, the recent UK Parliamentary review of “Political Islam” and the Muslim Brotherhood concluded:
…the vast majority of political Islamists are involved in no violence whatsoever. Because of this, and because of their broader status as a ‘firewall’ against extremism, political Islamists have suffered criticism and attack from ISIL and other extremist organisations.
The Global Muslim Brotherhood Research center, a companion site to the GBDW, is publishing today what we hope will be a corrective to this misguided notion of the Global Muslim Brotherhood as a firewall. The report, titled “The Global Anti-Aggression Campaign 2003-2016 A Global Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi and Jihadi Alliance Against The West”, has been a long time in the making and is the product of extensive research using both English and Arabic-language sources. The conclusions of the report are as follows:
- While claiming to be a “non-governmental, independent, peaceful, educational campaign of volunteers”, the GLOBAL ANTI-AGGRESSION CAMPAIGN (GAAC) is in reality a Salafi-led international umbrella organization that brings under its wings Salafi , Salafi-Jihadi, Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD and HAMAS leaders. The GAAC views the US as a key enemy of Islam and the purpose of the GAAC is to fight the US and its allies – a fight which has included close cooperation with the violent insurgency directed against Iraqi and Coalition forces in Iraq.
- While Salafists have always appeared to have been in control of the GAAC, individuals and organizations tied to the Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD have participated in its founding and re-launch – in one case serving as Vice-President of the organization – and/or have participated actively and extensively in international conferences either sponsored by GAAC or where GAAC was an organizer. Prominent among these Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD figures and organizations is the movement’s ‘spiritual leader’ YOUSSEF QARADAWI, UK fugitive and senior HAMAS commander MOHAMMAD SAWALHA, Yemeni MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD leader and US designated terrorist ABD-AL-MAJID AL-ZINDANI, Tunisian ENNAHDA Party leader RACHID GHANNOUCHI, and ANAS ALTIKRITI, the key spokesman and lobbyist for the Muslim BROTHERHOOD in Britain. Other GAAC figures have included leaders of the Jordanian and Egyptian MUSLIM BROTHERHOODs as well as individuals residing in Europe and the US.
- At least seven leading GAAC figures and/or their organizations have been designated as terrorists by the United States, the EU, and/or the United Nations for their support of AL-QAEDA and related groups – with some of these leaders known to have been close to OSAMA BIN LADEN himself. Those so designated have included both the GAAC President and an organization controlled by the GAAC Executive Director. Arabic media reports also identify at least three GAAC figures as funders of the so-called ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT (ISIS).
- The main public activities of the GAAC have included sponsoring and/or participating in a series of international conferences centered on Iraq, Palestine, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ These conferences were attended by a wide variety of Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD and Salafist leaders – who at times called for violence in the form of a “third Jihadist” front directed at Israel, and for a declaration of war should Western warships enter “Muslim Waters.” As a result of the most recent GAAC conference in 2013, a new coalition emerged – including the GAAC, several Salafi bodies, QARADAWI’s INTERNATIONAL UNION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS, and two organizations headed by ANAS ALTIKRITI, the key spokesman and lobbyist for the Muslim BROTHERHOOD in Britain. In April 2015, that same coalition sponsored yet another conference in Istanbul establishing a new organization focusing on human rights in Iraq. ANAS ALTIKRITI played a major role in the conference that also featured a large number of Western and Arab organizations.
- The twelve-year close cooperation between the GAAC and the Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD points to the inadequacies of the conceptual categories used to describe today’s global Islamist movements. By its participation in the GAAC, the Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD appears to have set aside its theological differences with the Salafists and the Salafi/Jihadis in order to join together in a fight against the US and its allies. is should call into question the entire history of Western efforts to engage with the Global MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD – in a misguided attempt to find a reliable Islamic partner to help combat the very same groups with which the BROTHERHOOD has been cooperating.
For the entire report, go here.