Muslim Brotherhood: Deceptive Since Its Founding

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Fighters from the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group in Syria Nureddine al-Zinki (Photo: NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Fighters from the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group in Syria Nureddine al-Zinki (Photo: NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Since its founding in Egypt in March 1928 at the hands of Hassan Al-Bana, an Egyptian school teacher turned Islamic revivalist, the Muslim Brotherhood has maintained the same logo and motto: a green circle with two crossed swords. Between these two swords is a book which is meant to be the Quran, the most sacred book for Muslims. Under the two swords are the words “And prepare.”

These words are the first of the Quranic verse from the Al-Anfaal chapter which reads, “And prepare for them whatever you can of power and of steeds of war by which you strike terror (in the hearts) of the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you don’t know, but whom Allah does know. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.”

The Brotherhood’s motto speaks to its goals:

Allah is our objective

The Quran is our constitution

Jihad is our way

The Prophet is our role model

Death for the sake of Allah is our noblest wish

The logo depicts two swords, not two branches of an olive tree. Similarly, the motto speaks of death as its honorable aspiration, not of community service. Needless to say, putting such a logo and motto on the front gate of a building doesn’t give the impression of a charity organization or a shelter to feed the needy. Despite many verses in the Quran that encourage Muslims to help the needy, the poor and to give charity,  the Brothers chose a verse that talks about preparing arms to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah.

Under the title, I’m a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist, the The New York Times ran a piece in February  2017 by Gehad El-Haddad, the spokesman for the Brotherhood in Egypt.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has devoted the larger part of its involvement in public life to providing social service programs to the poor neighborhoods including free clinics, food banks and academic and logistic support to poor college students,” El-Haddad wrote.

Does seeking death as a noble wish equate with providing social service to poor neighborhoods? El-Haddad failed to mention that such services provided by the Brotherhood were delivered less for the sake of helping people than as a means of recruiting poor young Egyptians to the organization (where they will be sworn on a Quran and a sword to “listen and obey” their superiors in the group).

El-Haddad gained popularity in the Western press years ago by trying to polish the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda by any means necessary. Yet, he was “caught recycling photographs from events in Syria or other conflicts as if they were breaking news in Egypt,” the Huff Post reported on Sept.17, 2013.

In The New York Times, El- Haddad stated, “Fair analysis of the facts will show that we are fundamentally opposed to the use of force, our flaws are many but violence is not one. We remain committed to our ideas of community development, social justice and non-violence.”

Promoting the non-violence approach in the Western media and in the policy-making circles in the U.S. while preaching hatred and inciting violence in their areas of popularity has been a well-documented practice by many high profile members of the Brotherhood.

When the Egyptian military took over the presidency in the summer of 2013, forcing the Muslim Brotherhood out of power, many of its members and supporters gathered in Rabaa Square in Cairo and bunkered there for over two weeks demanding the return of their president.

In front of hundreds of the protesters in Rabaa Square, Muhammed El-Beltagy, a prominent Brotherhood leader, declared: “What is happening in Sinai (referring to violence and acts of terrorism) is a response to the military coup. It will stop the same second Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi (the army leader) stops the coup and the return of President Mohamed Morsi.”

Two years later, Egypt’s top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, was assassinated in Cairo as he was preparing the case against ousted Brotherhood’s president Morsi.

Morsi was caught on camera three years before he became president, urging the Egyptian people to “nurse (breastfeed) our children and grandchildren on the hatred of the Jews and Zionists.”  In a television interview months later, the same leader described Zionists as “The descendants of apes and pigs.”

The truth is that after the Brotherhood was founded, it didn’t take long for the group to make good on its violent motto. A secret militia was established by the group as early as 1940.

According to an article, A Legacy of Violence, written by Sherif Aref in Al-Ahram Weekly, “[The militia] was called Al-Tanzim Al-Khas, or The Special Outfit.” Aref further reported that Muhammad Mahdi Akef, the Brotherhood’s former general guide, said that the aim of this secret militia was to “prepare a select group to carry out special missions and military operations against the external enemy.”

Also founded in 1940 was a stunning Art Deco Style theater designed by New York architect Thomas Lamb.in Cairo called the Metro Cinema. In May 1947 during a screening of Bad Man Bascombe, two Brotherhood members planted a bomb in the cinema which killed and injured a number of attendees.

Judge Ahmed Al- Khazindar presided over the case of the cinema bombing which brought two Brotherhood members to trial. In 1948, the judge was assassinated on his way to work. Two men were arrested and tried for shooting him dead; both were also proven to be members of the Brotherhood.

“By the end of 1948 [the Brotherhood] had become very powerful and were a government within a government. Al-Nuqrashi Pasha’s government had returned to power a short time earlier set to disband the Muslim Brothers organization, but twenty days later he met his death by assassination by one of the Brothers,” wrote David Sagive in Fundamentalism and Intellectuals in Egypt.

These are just few examples of how Brotherhood leaders encourage hatred and violence in Egypt all the while promoting the non-violence concept in the Western media.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

If the Muslim Brotherhood preaches hatred and commits acts of violence, it is a hard sell to say it’s a peaceful and charitable organization.



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Hatem El-Gamasy

Hatem El-Gamasy is a New York-based writer on Middle Eastern affairs