An Arab News article from September 12, 2021, quoted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi saying, “the Muslim Brotherhood has been eating away at the mind and body of Egypt for 90 years.”
It went on to state that Sisi blamed it for creating a culture of mistrust and warned other countries against a permissive environment which fosters militant Islamists. Isn’t it about time the US approached the progenitor of most, if not all, Sunni militant Islamist groups with coherent policies?
Egypt, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE know full well the dangers of allowing the Islamist terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, to pursue its hegemonic goals without being met with significant resistance. Just a week ago, Israel killed two leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group, [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad.
Israelis understand that Islamic Jihad is a murderous and aggressive smaller sibling to Hamas, also a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated terrorist group.
While Hamas, Islamic State (IS, ISIS), the Islamic Jihad and various other Islamist organizations are designated as terrorist groups, the US has refused to designate as a terrorist enterprise the very organization that spawned them. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood continues to churn out Islamic terrorists at a shocking rate, actively seeking to undermine western societies.
The US cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the Islamist ideological source that connects these terrorist groups. Just like al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri was replaced within hours, the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and ISIS are also quick to fill the openings created when Israel or the US eliminate terrorists.
Unless western democracies tear down the ideological support provided by the Muslim Brotherhood, a game of terrorist whack-a-mole will continue endlessly.
The Biden administration’s deadly, irresponsible and rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan facilitated the Taliban’s resurgence. The Taliban not only violated the terms agreed upon by the US for its withdrawal but has provided a safe-haven for al-Qaeda members and other jihadists.
Biden’s policy is a continuation of other US administrations’ policies regarding Islamists and jihadists and breathed new life into global terrorism. But this isn’t the worst part of the West’s failed policies directed at Islamists.
The Muslim Brotherhood continues to control
THE ENTERPRISE serving as the command and control of the world’s radical Islamic theology continues to be the Muslim Brotherhood. Most Americans know al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas from the headlines recounting the carnage of their strikes on civilians.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood is the organization that is proselytizing American hatred to its members, those who stay within the organization as political soldiers, and those who are spun off to organize separate terrorist groups.
In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood uses al-Azhar University in Cairo to reverse launder its political and radical soldiers. In other words, not-yet-indoctrinated young men enter al-Azhar for a formal education and graduate with a degree in radical Islamism. For those in the West, a PhD from al-Azhar is a sign of education and erudition. Sadly, it’s anything but.
Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and other organizations are largely products of al-Azhar University of Cairo and its long-standing ideological program controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. While al-Azhar is often falsely painted as a leading institutional authority on moderate Islamic thought, it is actually an epicenter for radical Islamist ideology.
Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram founders, Abdallah Azzam and Abubakar Shekau, respectively, both received their ideological indoctrination at al-Azhar.
Al-Azhar scholars and jihadists are also connected through the issuance of assassination fatwas (religious edicts). Fatwas may include an open order to murder or torture Muslims or non-Muslims, as well as excommunicating moderate Muslims, deeming them infidels who should be murdered. This is essentially contract killing with the blessing of so-called Muslim clergy.
Recently, author Salman Rushdie was brutally attacked because of an open fatwa issued against him issued in 1989. Last February, al-Azhar scholar Ahmed Karima issued a fatwa excommunicating from Islam my friend Ibrahim Issa, a moderate Muslim author and commentator. Al-Qaeda then ordered his killing.
The Muslim Brotherhood benefits from the West’s ethnocentric arrogance. It maintains our willful ignorance about its organization. Further, jihadist groups conceal their operational discourses in Islamic terminology, religious edicts and sermons precisely because they are obscure to Westerners.
In other words, westerners will believe what Islamists tell them in English and disregard what the Islamists are saying in either their native languages or buried in their cloaked communication techniques. But we can no longer remain ignorant of the Muslim Brotherhood’s game plan.
American policymakers can no longer willfully disregard the dangers lurking in plain sight. The United States must work to dismantle the Muslim Brotherhood. Doing so will require working with Egypt to cleanse al-Azhar University of the radical Islamist ideologues who develop and legitimize jihadism.
Until this issue is taken seriously, expect a continuing flow of Islamist mayhem and murder.
The writer is an Egyptian-American scholar and dissident, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. Her book The Secret Apparatus: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Industry of Death will be published next month by Bombardier Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.