The U.S. government rejected the conclusions of the British government's 18-month review of its intelligence and policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood, concluding that the Islamist group is linked to terrorism and extremism. The comprehensive study welcomed outside contributors, of which the Clarion Project was one.
The British government rejected the myth that the Brotherhood is "moderate" and the patently false notion that it is "non-violent." The Brotherhood and its ideology are now rightly seen as adversarial and measures will be taken to counter its threat. While the UK stopped just shy of banning it as a terrorist group, Prime Minister David Cameron said it will "keep under review whether the views and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood meet the legal test for proscription."
1. "The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia law. To this day the Muslim Brotherhood characterizes Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral. It can be seen primarily as a political project."
2. "Aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security."
3. "From its foundation the Muslim Brotherhood organized itself into a secretive 'cell' structure, with an elaborate induction and education program for new members…This clandestine, centralized and hierarchical structure persists to this day."
4. "The Hamas founding charter claims that they are the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood treat them as such. In the past ten years support for Hamas (including in particular funding) has been an important priority for the MB in Egypt and the MB international network."
5. "From at least the 1950s the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood also developed an international network, within and beyond the Islamic world. Europe became an important base for the growing Muslim Brotherhood global network."
6. "The wider international network of the Muslim Brotherhood now performs a range of functions. It promotes Muslim Brotherhood ideology (including through communications platforms), raises and invests funds, and provides a haven for members of the Brotherhood who have left their country of origin to continue promoting Brotherhood activity."
7. "[F]or the most part, the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred non violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamization is complete. But they are prepared to countenance violence—including, from time to time, terrorism—where gradualism is ineffective."
8. "Muslim Brotherhood organizations and associated in the UK have neither openly nor consistently refuted the literature of Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb which is known to have inspired people (including in this country) to engage in terrorism."
9. "[The review] concluded that it was not possible to reconcile these [MB] views with the claim made by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in their evidence to the review that 'the Muslim Brotherhood has consistently adhered to peaceful means of opposition, renouncing all forms of violence throughout its existence.'"
10. "In the 1990s the Muslim Brotherhood and their associates established public facing and apparently national organizations in the UK to promote their views. None were openly identified with the Muslim Brotherhood and membership of the Muslim Brotherhood remained (and still remains) a secret."
11. "[MB fronts] became politically active, notably in connection with Palestine and Iraq, and promoted candidates in national and local elections…sought and obtained a dialogue with Government….were active members in a security dialogue with the police."
12. "The Muslim Brotherhood have been publicly committed to political engagement in this country. Engagement with Government has at times been facilitated by what appeared to be a common agenda against al Qaida and (at least in the UK) militant Salafism. But this engagement did not take into account of Muslim Brotherhood support for a proscribed terrorist group and its views about terrorism which, in reality, are quite different from our own."
13. "Senior Muslim Brotherhood figures and associated have justified attacks against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The U.S. government, without even conducting any kind of review of its own, issued a statement to the Investigative Project on Terrorism rejecting any ban or even any "de-legitimizing" of the Brotherhood at all.
"Political repression of non-violent Islamist groups has historically contributed to the radicalization of the minority of their members who would consider violence…The de-legitimization of non-violent political groups does not promote stability and instead advances the very outcomes that such measures are intended to prevent," the U.S. government statement claims.
In other words, the U.S. position is this: Be held hostage by the so-called "non-violent Islamist groups." Sure, the Muslim Brotherhood has a wing named Hamas that the U.S. officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization but it could be worse—at least not all of the group's members are engaging in violence.
Accept them as "moderates" as they wish, even at the cost of better Muslim alternatives. Don't confront them. Don't even "delegitimize" them for their radicalism and ideology because that might push them over the edge.
That's not a mindset that understands what the threat is and certainly is not one that can defeat it.
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 top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.