The Muslim Brotherhood's 'moderate' disguise

The Muslim Brotherhood is ready to accept certain moves that contradict their true ideological beliefs, as long as it enables them to reach their end goal in the long-run.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters protest in Cairo 370 (photo credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
Muslim Brotherhood supporters protest in Cairo 370
(photo credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
For several years, many people in the West have debated over whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate or radical group. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood managed to convince several decision makers in the US and Europe that it is their “moderate” political partner. The group has subsequently been accepted by US decision makers, despite the fact that the same group is Hamas's closest ally and shares the same ideology as the group, which is correctly classified by the US as a terrorist organization.
Several factors contributed to the inability of many Westerners to understand the true radical nature of the Muslim Brotherhood.
First: according to the beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood, they achieve their ideological goals via the following four sequential steps: Step 1 - Al-Daawa (preaching); Step 2 - Al-Musharaka (sharing power with others); Step 3 - Al-Tamkeen (consolidating power); Step 4 - Al-Mughalab (enforcing Sharia upon the others by force). These sequential steps simply mean that an outside observer will not be able to see the violent nature of the group in the first three stages. In fact, the reason why most Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood was that they realized the group was in Stage 3 and the next step for them, Stage 4, was to be like the Sharia ruled-Taliban. Had they reached Stage 4 in Egypt, it would have been impossible to remove them from power. Many Westerners simply could not see these stages and thus continued to support the Muslim Brotherhood in the first three stages, thinking that they were not harmful.
It is worth mentioning that the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to accept certain moves that contradict their true ideological beliefs -- such as allowing alcohol or freedom of women's dress -- as long as they help them reach Stage 4. Such ideological temporary sacrifice is based on the Sharia principle of Taqiyya (or deception of others until the person achieves power).
These stages make it more difficult to recognize their reality before they reach the final stage, that shows their reality (Stage 4).
Second, the Muslim Brotherhood has a policy of not directly carrying out the dirty work, such as acts of terrorism. Instead, they support other radical groups in different ways, which do the job for them. The pro-terrorists agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood can be elucidated in the release of hundreds of terrorists from prisons in Egypt  -- while pro-democracy activists remain in prisons -- and also in trying to decrease international pressure on the radicals in Mali, when Morsi objected to French interference against them despite heinous crimes against their population. 
Their avoidance of directly perpetrating violent acts makes them look like a “moderate” group, however, a deeper analysis of their behaviors shows clearly that they are pro-radicals.
Third: their use of unusual tactics made it more difficult for outsiders to detect the real threat posed by this group. Some of these tactics include “covertly” encouraging a radical group such as Hamas to attack Israel, and then presenting itself “overtly” as the peace negotiator to gain trust of the Westerners. The ability of Hamas to reach deep into Israel with their rockets for the first time only after Morsi came to power, casts doubt on the common believe that the Muslim Brotherhood was truly interested in stopping Hamas from attacking Israel.
Using selective language is another tactic that enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to deceive many in the West. For example, many Muslim Brotherhood members insist that it is the right of any individual to choose his religion. This is likely to be interpreted as support for freedom of religion; however, Muslim Brotherhood members will refrain from saying that “it is also the right of any individual to leave his faith” as this will contradict their basic believe in the Redda Law of Sharia which allows killing those who convert from Islam to another belief system. The use of such a tactic, allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to portray itself as a moderate group. 
In this context it is vital to mention that, Saiid Qutb, who promoted the use of violence to enforce Islam, is still the main spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is hard to believe that the Brotherhood is truly moderate when their main ideologue is the very same spiritual leader of Ayman Al-Zawherri. This would be like believing that a man is not anti-Semitic while his spiritual leader is Adolf Hitler. In fact, the similarity between the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic groups was elucidated when Egypt's former  president Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein said in one of his speeches, that the first thing that the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood asked him to do when he met with him in 1953, was to force women to wear the Hijab. The second request was to close all movie theaters and ban movies. These are typically the first two things that Islamic radical groups, from Mali to Somalia to the Taliban, do when they come into power.
The writer is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri, who later became the second in command of al-Qaida. He is currently a senior fellow and chairman of the study of Islamic radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.