The Muslim Brotherhood is claiming that the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) is a secret puppet of the U.S. for the purpose of waging a war on Islam. The propaganda places blame for all ISIS activity away from the Islamist ideology it shares with the Brotherhood and onto the U.S.
“It is strange that the U.S., which claims to be the country that loathes and fights terror the most, is in fact the worst country that perpetrated [the] most atrocities and created terrorism since it was founded,” begins a statement by the Brotherhood on its official English website.
The group says that anti-Islamic governments create their own terrorist groups and then blame their violence on Islamists. Their objective is “distorting the image of Islam” and to give “the enemies of Islam a pretext, an excuse for a new intervention in Muslim countries, to divide and destroy the homelands and kill the people.”
Removing any room for ambiguity, the Brotherhood then clearly states that ISIS is part of this Western conspiracy, saying “This is what is happening now with the emergence of the radical organization called ‘Daesh.’” (Daesh is a term used as a derogatory name for ISIS.)
The Muslim Brotherhood then writes that the West’s plan is to spark a “war within Islam to make it accept Western modernity, secularism and the Christian doctrine or principle: ‘Give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and what is God’s to God.’”
In other words, the Brotherhood sees the West as a threat to its Islamist ideology that combines mosque and state. Since ISIS damages the Brotherhood’s ideology, it sees ISIS as a creation of this Western conspiracy.
The goal of the message is to prevent Muslims from having goodwill towards the U.S. and the West. The Brotherhood wants the U.S. to be held responsible for all harm done by ISIS as well as the military intervention.
The Brotherhood sees Islamism as a competing civilization to the West. Ultimately, they think, only one will prevail. That’s why the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood secretly describes its activity as a “Civilization-Jihad.”
That worldview makes it impossible for Islamists to view anything the West does in a positive light. Every action is interpreted as a move in the West’s own ideological offensive. No foreign policy alteration can change that.
This sentiment is reflected by Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, in his condemnation of the U.S.-Arab campaign against ISIS. He sees it as part of a Western conspiracy because the U.S. is not Islamic.
“I totally disagree with Da’ish in ideology and means, but I don’t at all accept that the one to fight it is America, which does not act in the name of Islam but rather in its own interests, even if blood is shed,” he tweeted.
The possibility that ISIS is a front for the U.S. government is outrageous to most Westerners, but it is treated with seriousness in a region where belief in anti-Semitic/anti-Western conspiracy theories is widespread.
The New York Times reports that officials in the “highest levels of [the] Iraqi government” believe that ISIS and the CIA are one. This is partially due to the influence of the Iranian regime. Former President Ahmadinejad famously suggested that the 9/11 attacks were done by the U.S. government.
Moqtada al-Sadr, the popular Iraqi cleric with extensive links to Iran, preaches that ISIS is an American front. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa al-Araji touted the theory at an anti-American demonstration organized by Al-Sadr. With at least two new Iraqi ministers reportedly being on the Iranian payroll, such theories will get mainstream attention.
The Islamist ideology predisposes followers to embrace these theories, regardless of the source. An example closer to home is Lena Masri, an attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who wrote, “The ISIL [ISIS] may in fact be a CIA-Mossad proxy force.” Her source was an article from the Iranian regime-controlled media.
By promoting a reflexively anti-American worldview and an ideology incompatible with Western values, the Brotherhood creates the factory from which Islamist terrorists and extremists are assemble.
For more information about the real origins of the Islamic State and the ideology behind it see Clarion Project's Factsheet: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.