Overview

Also Known As:Toni Johnson, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: Its History and Egypt's Future,” National Journal, December 5, 2012, http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-history-egypts-future-100348397--politics.html; Brynjar Lia, The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The Rise of an Islamic Mass Movement, 1928-1942 (Reading, England: Ithaca Press, 1998), 167; “Ikhwanweb Homepage,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, accessed September 29, 2014, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/; “Hassan al-Banna and his political thought of Islamic Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, last modified May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065; “Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/2011/02/201126101349142168.html.

  • Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen
  • Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin
  • Gamaat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin
  • Ikhwan
  • Muslim Brethren
  • Muslim Brothers
  • Society of Muslim Brothers

Executive Summary

The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni Islamist movement that seeks to implement sharia (Islamic law) under a global caliphate. Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is that country’s oldest Islamist organization and has branches throughout the world. While these branches operate under a variety of names and use a variety of social, political, and occasionally violent methods, they share a commitment to the overarching goal of establishing rule according to sharia. The most notable and lethal Brotherhood offshoot is Hamas, the Palestinian terror group operating out of the Gaza Strip. Some analysts also argue that the Brotherhood has served as the ideological forerunner of modern violent Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain,“Bahrain backs Saudi Arabia, UAE, Foreign Minister says,” Bahrain News Agency, March 21, 2014, http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/609752; Habib Toumi, “Bahrain Confirms Full Support to Saudi Arabia, UAE,” Gulf News (Dubai), March 22, 2014, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-confirms-full-support-to-saudi-arabia-uae-1.1307223. Egypt,Kareem Fahim, “Egypt, Dealing a Blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, Deems It a Terrorist Group,” New York Times, December 25, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/world/middleeast/egypt-calls-muslim-brotherhood-a-terrorist-group.html. Russia,Gabriela Baczynska, “Russia may ease Muslim Brotherhood ban to boost Egypt ties,” Reuters, December 28, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/18/us-egypt-politics-russia-idUSBRE8BH0VD20121218;
“Russia names ‘terrorist’ groups,” BBC News, July 28, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5223458.stm.
Saudi Arabia,Rania el Gamal, “Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group,” Reuters, March 7, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/us-saudi-security-idUSBREA260SM20140307. Syria,“The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, accessed May 14, 2015, http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48370. and the United Arab Emirates.Adam Schreck, “UAE backs Saudis with Muslim Brotherhood blacklist,” Associated Press, March 9, 2014, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/uae-backs-saudis-muslim-brotherhood-blacklist.

Founded in 1928 by schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in Ismailia, Egypt, the Brotherhood began as a pan-Islamist religious and social movement, building popular support through dawa (proselytization), political activism, and social welfare. Alongside its political and social activities, the Brotherhood operated an underground violent group—the “secret apparatus”—dedicated to the eradication of British rule in Egypt and of the Jewish presence in Palestine.

The Egyptian Brotherhood’s growth spurred the formation of affiliates in nearby countries such as Syria and Jordan. Dissemination of written works by Sayyid Qutb, one of the leading Brotherhood ideologues in the 1950s and 1960s, prompted further Brotherhood growth across the Arabian Peninsula, Palestinian territories, and Africa. As Zachary Laub of the Council on Foreign Relations writes, Qutb’s writings “provided the intellectual and theological underpinnings for many militant Sunni Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.”Zachary Laub, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Council on Foreign Relations, last modified January 15, 2014, http://www.cfr.org/egypt/egypts-muslim-brotherhood/p23991. Indeed, Qutb’s writings helped inform the Islamist ideology known as Qutbism, which advocates violent jihad—and the killing of secular Muslims—in order to implement sharia.

The Brotherhood has survived in Egypt despite several waves of repression by the Egyptian government. Repressive measures have included legal prohibition of the group and imprisonment and execution of large numbers of Brotherhood members, including Qutb, whom the Egyptian government executed in 1966 for his part in the conspiracy to assassinate then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Egyptian Brotherhood also benefitted from intermittent periods of toleration by the government, during which the group continued its social, religious, economic, and political activities, building up organizational strength unmatched by any other Egyptian opposition group. In addition, the group’s unofficial ideologue, Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has been unrestrained in delivering sermons and issuing militant fatwas (religious decrees) from his pulpit in Qatar.

As the Arab Spring came to a head in 2011, the Brotherhood’s resilience and robust infrastructure left it well placed to capitalize on shifting political landscapes in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Several Brotherhood chapters formed political parties and performed well in their respective countries’ elections, particularly in Egypt with the Freedom and Justice Party, which ran senior Brotherhood official Mohammed Morsi as its candidate for president.“Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate Morsi wins Egyptian presidential election,” Fox News, June 24, 2012, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/06/24/egypt-braces-for-announcement-president/. In Tunisia, Ennahdha won the first elections after former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster.“Ennahda wins Tunisia's elections,” Al Jazeera, October 28, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2011/10/2011102721287933474.html.

Morsi served as president of Egypt between June 2012 and July 2013, though his government alienated much of the population due to perceptions that it governed poorly and overreached—including through the group’s attempts to rush through changes to the Egyptian constitution. In July 2013, after months of mass protests against the Brotherhood-led government, the Egyptian military overthrew Morsi and seized power, calling for new presidential and parliamentary elections and arresting Morsi and hundreds of Brotherhood officials and members on various charges. Egypt’s military-run government, led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has sought to uproot the Brotherhood entirely.Louisa Loveluck, “Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood will not exist under his reign,” Guardian (London), May 5, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/06/abdel-fatah-al-sisi-muslim-brotherhood-egypt.

Since Morsi’s ouster, an ideological and strategic rift has widened between the Egyptian Brotherhood’s older and younger generations. While the older generation—known as the “old guard”—reiterates its platform of non-violence and hopes that the military regime will collapse due to economic decline or an internal coup, for example, the younger generation has adopted increasingly jihadist rhetoric and resorts to low-level violence in pursuit of the overthrow of the Sisi regime.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided.

Doctrine:

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 to revive the caliphate, following the abolition of the Ottoman Empire by the Turkish Republic four years earlier.Brian R. Farmer, Understanding Radical Islam: Medieval Ideology in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), 83; “Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/2011/02/201126101349142168.html;
Jay Winter, “The birth of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2011, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/14/opinion/la-oe-winter-muslim-brotherhood-20110314;
Tareq Abu al-Ainain, “Egypt’s Brotherhood Strives for ‘Caliphate’ at Expense of Security,” Al-Monitor, June 2, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/06/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-caliphate-national-security.html#;
“The abolition of the Caliphate,” Economist, March 18, 1924, http://www.economist.com/node/11829711.
Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna rejected the phenomenon of Western-style nationalism and espoused an ideology of “pan-Islamic nationalism” in the hopes of bringing back the caliphate.Hassan al-Banna and his political thought of Islamic Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, last modified May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065.

“Islam does not recognize geographical boundaries, nor does it acknowledge racial and blood differences, considering all Muslims as one Umma (global community of Muslims). The Muslim Brethren (Muslim Brotherhood)…. believe that the caliphate is a symbol of Islamic Union and an indication of the bonds between the nations of Islam. They see the caliphate and its re-establishment as a top priority...”“HASAN AL-BANNA AND HIS POLITICAL THOUGHT OF ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065. –Hassan al-Banna

Banna was concerned with what he considered the greatest threat to Islam: the rise of secularism and Western culture in Muslim societies. To counter this danger, Banna began dawa (proselytization) in schools, mosques, and coffee houses, spreading his pan-Islamist ideology and emphasizing the need to return to sharia.Hassan al-Banna and his political thought of Islamic Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, last modified May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood’s most notable theorist, Sayyid Qutb, promoted jihad as an offensive force to be used against secular Arab governments.Sujata Ashwarya Cheema, “Sayyid Qutb's Concept of Jahiliyya as Metaphor for Modern Society,” Islam and Muslim Societies 2, no. 2 (2006), http://www.academia.edu/3222569/Sayyid_Qutbs_Concept_of_Jahiliyya_as_Metaphor_for_Modern_Socie. Qutb argued that Muslim societies living under these governments existed in a state of jahiliyya, similar to Arabia’s pagan existence prior to the divine message of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Qutb, this affliction could only be corrected by the implementation of sharia, brought about by offensive jihad and the killing of secular state officials.Dale C. Eikmeier, “Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism,” Parameters: The US Army War College Quarterly 37, no. 1 (Spring 2007), 89, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a485995.pdf. Indeed, Qutb helped to re-popularize the Islamic concept of takfir, by which Muslims serving a secular ruler are rendered apostates and thus legitimate targets for execution.Youssef Aboul-Enein, “Learning from Adel Hammouda’s Work on Militant Islamist Movements,” Combatting Terrorism Center, September 15, 2008, https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/learning-from-adel-hammouda%E2%80%99s-work-on-militant-islamist-movements;
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 34-35;
Dale C. Eikmeier, “Qutbsim: An Ideology of Islamic-Facism,” U.S. Army War College 37, no. 1 (2007): 89, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a485995.pdf.

In the 1990s, the late Mohammad Ma’mun al-Hudaibi—who served as the Brotherhood’s supreme guide between 2002 and 2004—expounded upon the Brotherhood’s ideology in an interview with the Harvard International Review. Hudaibi stated that in a caliphate envisioned by the Brotherhood, daily life would be governed by Islamic teachings as interpreted by Islamic judges, with no need for a state’s rulers to impose man-made or “general laws.”“The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=813.

Hudaibi stressed that the holistic, Islam-centered caliphate was shattered by Western and Christian imperialism, including Britain’s rule over Egypt in the 19th and 20th centuries. While Muslim peoples eventually liberated themselves from Western rule, they were unable to reclaim the Islamic governance under which they had previously lived.“The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=813. Therefore, Hudaibi explained, in order to repair society after its purported deterioration into Western imperialism, “Movements of Islamic revival became active to spread the correct Islamic ideas and to demand the application of the rulings of the Islamic Shari’ah...”“The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=813. Among these movements was the Muslim Brotherhood. Since, according to the Brotherhood, the lack of holistic Islamic governance is the “problem,” the Brotherhood’s longstanding slogan has been that “Islam is the solution.”“A look at Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Associated Press, November 1, 2013, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/look-egypts-muslim-brotherhood-0;
“Brotherhood decides to drop 'Islam is the solution' for presidential race,” Egypt Independent (Cairo), April 24, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/brotherhood-decides-drop-islam-solution-presidential-race;
Jack Shenker and Brian Whitaker, “The Muslim Brotherhood Uncovered,” Guardian (London), February 8, 2011, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/feb/08/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-uncovered;
Bryony Jones and Susannah Cullinane, “What is the Muslim Brotherhood,” CNN, July 3, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/03/world/africa/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-explainer.

Two Pillars

The Brotherhood has two pillars articulated by Hudaibi and published on the group’s website: 1) “The introduction of the Islamic Shari‘ah as the basis controlling the affairs of state and society” and 2) “Work to achieve unification among the Islamic countries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from foreign imperialism.”“The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, accessed May 29, 2014, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=813.

According to Hudaibi, the Brotherhood seeks to re-establish Islamic governance from the bottom up by building a “popular base that believes in the Islamic system and is aware of its main ideas.”“The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, accessed May 29, 2014, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=813.

The Brotherhood has built this popular base through grassroots efforts, including not only political organizing and religious indoctrination but also, most notably in Egypt, provision of health care, education, and other social welfare goods and services that governments often fail to deliver satisfactorily. In Egypt and elsewhere, the Brotherhood has used this popular base to obtain increased political representation and power through democratic processes, despite the group’s ultimate political goal of un-democratic, Islamist rule.Abdullah al-Arian, “A State Without a State: The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Social Welfare Institutions,” Middle East Political Science, September 20, 2014, http://pomeps.org/2014/09/30/a-state-without-a-state-the-egyptian-muslim-brotherhoods-social-welfare-institutions/.

The Brotherhood seeks to implement its vision in stages. Banna promoted the gradualist construction of the Muslim individual, the Muslim family, the Muslim community, and finally the Muslim government, or Islamic State, which Banna believed would bind all Muslims to God.Larbi Sadiki, “Egypt: The triumph of Hassan Al-Banna,” Al Jazeera, July 4, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/07/20127212233901118.html. Banna stressed that the Muslim Brotherhood was uninterested in revolutionary tactics, and instead operated with a slow and steady approach. Article 4, section 2 of the Brotherhood’s 1945 basic regulations stated, “The Brethren [Brothers] will always prefer gradual advancement and development.”“Hasan al-Banna and his political thought of Islamic brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb, May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065.

According to the Brotherhood’s official English website, Ikhwanweb, Banna would warn the Brotherhood members “who were looking for fast results that they would either have to learn to be patient and persevering or leave the movement.”“Hasan al-Banna and his political thought of Islamic brotherhood,” Ikhwanweb, May 13, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17065. Today, the Brotherhood is split between the old guard that champions this strategy, and the younger generation that has voiced and demonstrated its support for a revolutionary approach using violent means.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided.

Organizational Structure:

The Brotherhood’s International Organization

The Brotherhood’s International Organization is reportedly comprised of the group’s global affiliates, which operate in at least 18 countries, including Egypt.Dr. Nathan Brown, “The Muslim Brotherhood,” Congressional Testimony, Carnegie Endowment, April 13, 2011, 10-11, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/0413_testimony_brown.pdf. Former Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Habib told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahrar in 2008 that global Brotherhood affiliates share “the same ideology, principle, and objectives” as the Egyptian branch, but operate in a “decentraliz[ed]” fashion in order to respond to the unique challenges and contexts that each entity confronts.“Interview with MB Deputy Chairman in Al Ahrar Daily,” Ikhwan Web Homepage,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, June 16, 2008, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=17267. Brotherhood scholars suggest that the International Organization is loose and often ineffective, as domestic circumstances outweigh each affiliate’s loyalty to the larger global apparatus. In addition, there is believed to be little formal coordination between global affiliates.Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62453/robert-s-leiken-and-steven-brooke/the-moderate-muslim-brotherhood;
Dr. Nathan Brown, “The Muslim Brotherhood,” Congressional Testimony, Carnegie Endowment, April 13, 2011, 10-11, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/0413_testimony_brown.pdf.

There is disagreement as to the overall leader of the International Organization. While some reports name imprisoned Egyptian Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie as the Organization’s leader,Dr. Nathan Brown, “The Muslim Brotherhood,” Congressional Testimony, Carnegie Endowment, April 13, 2011, 10-11, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/0413_testimony_brown.pdf. others indicate that it is led by the London-based Ibrahim Mounir.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided.

Organizational Structure in Egypt

The Egyptian Brotherhood’s leadership structure is hierarchical, designed to ensure each leader’s commitment and adherence to the group’s ideology, religious practice, and general beliefs. The supreme guide (murshid)—acting as the group’s primary governor—oversees the Guidance Office (maktab al-irshad), which consists of 15-20 members. Each member of the Guidance Office is responsible for overseeing an area of interest, such as education, politics, and recruitment.Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood.

The Shura Council—the next rung down in the leadership hierarchy—is reportedly comprised of 100 Brothers. It is responsible for electing the members of the Guidance Office and voting on issues such as Brotherhood participation in various facets of Egyptian life.Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood. In addition, each region operates an administrative council similar to the larger Shura Council. Regions are comprised of usras (families), which include approximately five Brothers.“The Muslim Brotherhood – Chapter 4: The structure and funding sources of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, June 19, 2011, http://www.crethiplethi.com/the-structure-and-funding-sources-of-the-muslim-brotherhood/global-islam/2011/.

Power Balance in Egypt

During Mohammed Morsi’s presidency from June 2012 to July 2013,David D. Kirkpatrick, “Named Egypt’s Winner, Islamist Makes History,” New York Times, June 24, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/world/middleeast/mohamed-morsi-of-muslim-brotherhood-declared-as-egypts-president.html;
David. D Kirkpatrick, “Army Ousts Egypt’s President; Morsi Is Taken Into Military Custody,” New York Times, July 3, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/world/middleeast/egypt.html?_r=0.
Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el-Shater and Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie—now both imprisoned—were believed to largely oversee Morsi’s political maneuvers and strategic decisions.Matthias Gebauer, Daniel Steinvorth, and Volkhard Windfuhr, “Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood: Who Really Holds the Reigns in Egypt?,” Der Spiegel (Hamburg), December 12, 2012, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/president-mohammed-morsi-and-his-ties-to-the-muslim-brotherhood-a-872214.html. For example, every proposal made by Morsi—down to every word—had to reportedly be approved by Shater. In addition, Morsi regularly greeted Badie by kissing his hand, a gesture common among Brotherhood members to show obedience to a more powerful leader.Matthias Gebauer, Daniel Steinvorth, and Volkhard Windfuhr, “Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood: Who Really Holds the Reigns in Egypt?,” Der Spiegel (Hamburg), December 12, 2012, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/president-mohammed-morsi-and-his-ties-to-the-muslim-brotherhood-a-872214.html.

Following Morsi’s July 2013 ouster, Sisi’s crackdown on the Brotherhood resulted in the imprisonment or execution of many of the group’s leaders and members. Those who managed to escape fled to Turkey and Qatar.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided;
Tulin Daloglu, “Exiled Brotherhood officials may find home in Turkey,” Al Monitor, September 17, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/turkey-egypt-qatar-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-interpol.html.

Without coherent leadership, the Brotherhood has grown increasingly factionalized. In particular, ideological and tactical rifts have widened between the movement’s older and younger generations.Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Gets a Facelift,” Foreign Affairs, May 20, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2015-05-20/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-gets-facelift; Abdelrahman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016 Scenarios and Recommendations,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762. The Brotherhood’s youth have reportedly grown impatient with the old guard’s gradualist approach, and have called for revolutionary and violent tactics against Egyptian authorities.Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Gets a Facelift,” Foreign Affairs, May 20, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2015-05-20/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-gets-facelift. Younger members have carried out such violence, targeting authorities and infrastructure in small scale attacks including the use of Molotov cocktails, for example.Eric Trager, “Egypt's Invisible Insurgency,” New Republic, March 19, 2014, https://newrepublic.com/article/117072/egypts-young-islamists-use-facebook-organize-violence.

In February of 2014, the Egyptian Brotherhood held internal elections, replacing 65 percent of its older leaders overwhelmingly with younger, more revolutionary individuals. The elections led to the formation of the Crisis Management Committee—headed by Brotherhood member Mohamed Taha Wahdan—tasked with managing events on the ground in Egypt. Wahdan, loyal to the younger revolutionaries, is believed to have overseen the Brotherhood’s rank and file in Egypt before his May 2015 arrest.Abdelrahman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016 Scenarios and Recommendations,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, 2, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762;
Mohamed Montaser, “Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman: Referral of Members to Military Courts Won't Stop Us,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, June 21, 2015, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32188.
In April of 2015, Brotherhood members exiled in Istanbul created the Office for Egyptians Abroad—under the chairmanship of Brotherhood member Ahmed Abdel-Rahman—to organize the Brotherhood’s leaders in exile and strengthen the struggle against President Sisi’s military government. Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Gets a Facelift,” Foreign Affairs, May 20, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2015-05-20/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-gets-facelift;
“أول ظهور إعلامي لرئيس مكتب اخوان مصر بالخارج,” YouTube video, 49:27, Posted by “مكتب اخوان مصر بالخارج,” April 22, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrCXjh8GoSM;
Abdelrahman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016 Scenarios and Recommendations,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, 2, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762.

As of 2016, the Brotherhood remains split between the old guard and the younger revolutionaries. The acting supreme guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, is a member of the old guard, though his leadership role is disputed by members of the younger generation. These members are also believed to hold important leadership positions.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided;
Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “The Brotherhood Breaks Down,” Foreign Affairs, January 17, 2016, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2016-01-17/brotherhood-breaks-down.

Financing

During Morsi’s year-long presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood is believed to have received large sums of money from the Qatari government. Qatar reportedly loaned Morsi’s government approximately $2.5 billion, and aided Morsi’s regime with grants and so-called “energy supplies,” according to Reuters.“Egypt to repay $2.5 bln Qatari deposit at end-Nov-Cbank source,” Reuters, November 6, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/06/egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSL6N0SW1U420141106. Also during Morsi’s presidency, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al Thani reportedly secretly transferred funds as high as $850,000 to the Brotherhood.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/. Numerous transfers of money between Al Thani and top Brotherhood leaders reportedly occurred in early-mid 2013.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/; Al-Shahed newspaper, “Milyarat wa-sharakat al-jama’a tad’am al-khilafa al-islamiyya”, http://alshahed.net/pdf/2009/19.pdf.

In addition to relying on outside funding, the Brotherhood owns valuable assets and sources of income in the countries in which it operates. In Egypt, the group collects taxes and fees from approximately 600,000 members,Scott Atran, “Egypt’s bumbling brotherhood,” New York Times, February 2, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/opinion/03atran.html?_r=0. and many Brotherhood leaders own commercial enterprises such as supermarkets and furniture stores which largely profit the Brotherhood.“Government Seizes Seoudi Supermarkets, Among Other Muslim Brotherhood Assets,” Daily News Egypt (Giza), June 15, 2014, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/06/15/government-seizes-seoudi-supermarkets-among-muslim-brotherhood-assets/; Zeinab Abul-Magd, “The Brotherhood's businessmen,” Egypt Independent, February 13, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com//opinion/brotherhoods-businessmen.

Western groups affiliated with the Brotherhood are believed to set up vast ‘charity’ and fundraising operations within their local Muslim communities, sending all collected money back to larger Brotherhood operations in Egypt and Syria.Lorenzo Vidino, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe,” Middle East Quarterly, 12 (2005): 25-34, http://www.meforum.org/687/the-muslim-brotherhoods-conquest-of-europe. Other reports suggest that Muslim Brotherhood members living in Europe are often involved in money-laundering schemes launched to finance Brotherhood activities.Lorenzo Vidino, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe,” Middle East Quarterly, 12 (Winter 2005): 25-34, http://www.meforum.org/687/the-muslim-brotherhoods-conquest-of-europe.

The government of Saudi Arabia financially supported the Brotherhood for decades but reduced its funding after the Brotherhood supported Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.John Mintz and Douglas Farah, “In Search of Friends Among the Foes: U.S. Hopes to Work with Diverse Group,” Washington Post, September 11, 2004, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12823-2004Sep10.html.

Throughout its nearly nine-decade history, the Brotherhood has at times imposed jizya (a tax for non-Muslims) on Christians and other religious minorities.Jessica Chasmar, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians: Convert to Islam, or pay ‘jizya’ tax,” Washington Times, September 10, 2013, accessed September 21, 2014, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/10/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-convert-islam-or-pay-jiz/.

Recruitment:

The Egyptian Brotherhood’s recruitment process is tailored to prevent security officials from penetrating the group. According to Eric Trager in Foreign Affairs, local Brotherhood leaders scout potential members “at virtually every Egyptian University.”Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood. The members approach potential recruits in a non-political context and engage in activities such as tutoring or soccer. Recruiters do not initially reveal themselves as Brotherhood members. According to Khaled Hamza, an editor of the Brotherhood’s English-language website, the recruitment process can last up to a year. Hamza notes, “We are an ideological grass-roots group, and we use our faith to pick members.” In some cases, children as young as nine are targeted as recruits. The children of Brotherhood members are often exposed to Brotherhood activities at an early age.Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood expanded its recruitment activities amidst the chaos of the Syrian civil war, setting up recruitment offices and urging members living in large Syrian cities to return to local communities and reconnect with the people there. A Syrian Brotherhood member familiar with recruitment told the Carnegie Endowment in 2013, “[there is a] real thirst for the Muslim Brotherhood inside Syria.” The Syrian Brotherhood found success in recruiting members from rebel-held areas of Syria, especially in and near Aleppo.Raphael Lefevre, “The Muslim Brotherhood Prepares for a Comeback in Syria,” The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 2013, 6, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/muslim_bro_comback.pdf.

Training:

Physical Training

Because the Muslim Brotherhood does not have a military arm, the group does not carry out military training. However, a 2012 piece in Der Spiegel quoted a former Brotherhood member as saying that there are training camps in Egypt that train Brotherhood members in “hand-to-hand combat,” a claim that the Brotherhood reportedly denies.Matthias Gebauer, Daniel Steinvorth, and Volkhard Windfuhr, “Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood: Who Really Holds the Reigns in Egypt?,” Der Spiegel (Hamburg), December 12, 2012, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/president-mohammed-morsi-and-his-ties-to-the-muslim-brotherhood-a-872214.html.

In 1940, the Egyptian Brotherhood launched Nizam al-Khass, or the “secret apparatus,” largely in response to the failure of the Arab uprising in Palestine (1936-1939). The military wing was composed of civilians with varying degrees of paramilitary training.Omar Ashour, “Myths and realities: The Muslim Brothers and armed activism,” Al Jazeera, August 12, 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/myths-realities-muslim-brothers--20148129319751298.html. It carried out numerous assassinations and bombings that concluded in the 1948 murder of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nuqrashi Pasha, who had recently banned the Brotherhood.“Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/2011/02/201126101349142168.html; “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Official Claims Group Has Revived Paramilitary Wing,” The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, August 21, 2008, http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2008/08/21/egyptian-muslim-brotherhood-official-claims-group-has-revived-its-paramilitary-wing/. During the 1952 Egyptian revolution that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power, members of the secret apparatus blocked the infiltration of British troops into the Suez Canal zone and secured the highway between Cairo and Ismailia.“Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/2011/02/201126101349142168.html.

Ideological Training

The Egyptian Brotherhood’s ideological training process consists of a series of stages during which members’ philosophical beliefs are monitored, shaped, and tested. In the preliminary stage, which can last from six months to four years, Brotherhood members closely observe the new recruit’s ideology. The recruit is referred to as a muhibb, or “lover.”Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood.

If the muhibb’s ideology proves developed and sturdy, the muhibb enters an usra, or “family” of approximately four or five Brotherhood members. The usra meets once a week and serves to educate and strengthen the ideology of the muhibb. After graduating from the usra, the muhibb becomes a mu’ayyad, or “supporter,” a stage that lasts from one to three years. Although the mu’ayyad cannot yet vote within the Brotherhood structure, he can preach, teach in mosques, and recruit new muhibb-level candidates. A mu’ayyad also has the responsibility of studying Hassan al-Banna’s texts.Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood.

After graduating from the mu’ayyad stage, the member become a muntasib, or “affiliated” individual. After one year at muntasib status, the Brother graduates to become a muntazim, or “organizer.” The muntazim stage generally lasts one year, and the individual is responsible for forming usra groups as well as memorizing of the Quran. A muntazim is regularly presented with false accusations and information to test his loyalty under pressure. In the final stage, the muntazim becomes an akh-‘amil, “working brother,” and has the right to vote in Brotherhood elections and compete within the leadership hierarchy.Eric Trager, “The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt,” Foreign Affairs, 90 (2011): 114, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68211/eric-trager/the-unbreakable-muslim-brotherhood.

Key Leaders

  • Mahmoud Ezzat

    Mahmoud Ezzat

    Acting supreme guide
  • Mahmoud Hussein

    Mahmoud Hussein

    Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Member of the Shura Council
  • Yusuf al-Qaradawi

    Yusuf al-Qaradawi

    Egyptian Qatar-based intellectual and spiritual leader, condemned to death in absentia in Egypt
  • Ibrahim Mounir

    Ibrahim Mounir

    Guidance Bureau Member; Secretary general of the Brotherhood’s International Organization
  • Mohamed Montasser

    Mohamed Montasser

    Spokesman for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
  • Talaat Fahmi

    Talaat Fahmi

    Spokesman for the Egyptian Brotherhood
  • Ahmed Abdel Rahman

    Ahmed Abdel Rahman

    Head of the Egyptian Brotherhood’s Office for Egyptians Abroad
  • Amr Darrag

    Senior Muslim Brotherhood member, former Freedom and Justice Party minister, former secretary-general of Egypt’s Constituent Assembly
  • Mohamed Abdel Rahman

    Head of the Higher Administrative Committee
  • Mohammed Morsi

    Imprisoned former president of Egypt and member of the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Mohammed Badie

    Imprisoned supreme guide of Egyptian chapter
  • Khairat el-Shater

    Imprisoned deputy supreme guide
  • Mohamed Taha Wahdan

    Mohamed Taha Wahdan

    Imprisoned head of the Crisis Management Committee in Egypt, Chief of Education, Member of the Guidance Office

History

 

Violent Activities

The Brotherhood and Brotherhood affiliates have engaged in violence against the ruling governments in Egypt, Syria, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Since its inception, the Brotherhood’s ideology has authorized violent resistance against unjust and secular rulers.Sujata Ashwarya Cheema, “Sayyid Qutb's Concept of Jahiliyya as Metaphor for Modern Society,” Islam and Muslim Societies 2, no. 2 (2006), http://www.academia.edu/3222569/Sayyid_Qutbs_Concept_of_Jahiliyya_as_Metaphor_for_Modern_Society.

Designations

Designations by Foreign Governments and International Organizations:


Bahrain designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on March 21, 2013.“Bahrain backs Saudi Arabia, UAE, Foreign Minister says,” Bahrain News Agency, March 21, 2014, http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/609752; Habib Toumi, “Bahrain Confirms Full Support to Saudi Arabia, UAE,” Gulf News (Dubai), March 22, 2014, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-confirms-full-support-to-saudi-arabia-uae-1.1307223.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on December 25, 2013.Kareem Fahim, “Egypt, Dealing a Blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, Deems It a Terrorist Group,” New York Times, December 25, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/world/middleeast/egypt-calls-muslim-brotherhood-a-terrorist-group.html.

Russia banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating inside Russia in 2003.Gabriela Baczynska, “Russia may ease Muslim Brotherhood ban to boost Egypt ties,” Reuters, December 28, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/18/us-egypt-politics-russia-idUSBRE8BH0VD20121218. Russia designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on July 28, 2006.“Russia names ‘terrorist’ groups,” BBC News, July 28, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5223458.stm.

Saudi Arabia designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on March 7, 2014.Rania el Gamal, “Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group,” Reuters, March 7, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/us-saudi-security-idUSBREA260SM20140307.

Syria designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in 1980.“The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48370.

The United Arab Emirates designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on November 15, 2014.Adam Schreck, “Emirates brands Muslim Brotherhood terrorists,” Associated Press, November 15, 2014, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d2e355128c2f46158798f7230050bafb/emirates-brands-muslim-brotherhood-terrorists. On the same day, the United Arab Emirates designated several Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the West, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the International Islamic Relief Organization, the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France.“UAE blacklists 82 groups as ‘terrorist’,” Al Arabiya, November 15, 2014,http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/15/UAE-formally-blacklists-82-groups-as-terrorist-.html.

Associations

Ties to Extremist Entities:

As one of the oldest and broadest-reaching Islamist organizations in modern times, the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned Sunni Islamist entities which are now largely recognized as terrorist organizations.

Al-Qaeda

Muslim Brotherhood philosophy is believed to have spurred the creation of al-Qaeda. Sayyid Qutb’s ideology, expressed in his work Milestones, inspired Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and others to found al-Qaeda.“Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” BBC News, December 25, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-12313405. The current emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, joined the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a teenager.“Profile: Ayman al-Zawahiri,” BBC News, August 13, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13789286.

Hamas

Hamas, the political Islamist organization in the Palestinian territories, is a nationalist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.Andrew Higgins, “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas,” Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2009, http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB123275572295011847. Founded in 1988, article two of Hamas’s charter defines itself as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine.” It continues, “The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era.”Andrew C. McCarthy, “Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood,” National Review Online, January 29, 2011, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/258381/hamas-muslim-brotherhood-andrew-c-mccarthy.

However, political realities on the ground have often dictated the strength of Hamas’s desired relationship to the Brotherhood. In March 2014, Hamas was banned by the Egyptian government as part of a larger crackdown on the Brotherhood.Hazem Balousha and Patrick Kingsley, “Egyptian court bans Hamas amid crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood,” Guardian (London), March 4, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/04/egyptian-court-bans-hamas-activities. In response, Hamas weakened ties with the Brotherhood in the interest of strengthening its relationship with Egyptian authorities responsible for the Rafah border into Gaza, a lifeline upon which Gazans rely heavily.Adnan Abu Amer, “Hamas tones down Brotherhood links to improve Egypt ties,” Al-Monitor, May 13, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/gaza-egypt-hamas-brotherhood-elections.html#/.

Holy Land Foundation

In December 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, then the largest Muslim charity based in the U.S., as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” group. U.S. authorities raided the group’s headquarters and seized its assets.“Statement of Secretary Paul O'Neill on the Blocking of Hamas Financiers’ Assets,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 4, 2001, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/po837.aspx.

In November 2008, five former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a Muslim charity based in the U.S., were found guilty by a U.S. court for facilitating the transfer of more than $12 million to Hamas.“No Cash for Terror: Convictions Returned in Holy Land Case,” Federal Bureau of Investigation, November 25, 2008, http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/november/hlf112508.

The U.S. government presented testimony during the trial. According to the FBI, “[I]n the early 1990’s, Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas. The HLF became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas.”“Federal Judge Hands Down Sentences in Holy Land Foundation Case,” Federal Bureau of Investigation, May 27, 2009, http://www.fbi.gov/dallas/press-releases/2009/dl052709.htm. Among the seized evidence presented by the U.S. government was an internal Brotherhood “Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” addressed to the members of the Brotherhood’s Shura Council, and dated May 22, 1991.“Exhibit Elbarasse Search - 3,” USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, September 25, 2008, http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2/09-25-08/Elbarasse%20Search%203. The document articulated the Brotherhood’s goals for North America as, among others, “present[ing] Islam as a civilization alternative, and support[ing] the global Islamic State wherever it is.”“Exhibit Elbarasse Search - 3,” USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, September 25, 2008, http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2/09-25-08/Elbarasse%20Search%203. The document also emphasized that to achieve these and other multi-stage goals, “the Movement must… carry out this grand mission as a ‘Civilization Jihadist’ responsibility which lies on the shoulders of Muslims and—on top of them—the Muslim Brotherhood in this country.”“Exhibit Elbarasse Search - 3,” USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, September 25, 2008, http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2/09-25-08/Elbarasse%20Search%203. This meant that the Brotherhood’s “work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”“Exhibit Elbarasse Search - 3,” USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, September 25, 2008, http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2/09-25-08/Elbarasse%20Search%203.

The document emphasized the importance of establishing an “Islamic Center” in each city as a base for the Brotherhood’s multifaceted work, as well as many other institutions that would serve as the foundation of the group’s jihad efforts in North America. The document also included a list of Brotherhood organizations and “the organizations of our friends,” which included prominent Muslim organizations in America, including the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Students Association, North American Islamic Trust, and Islamic Circle of North America.“Exhibit Elbarasse Search - 3,” USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, September 25, 2008, http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2/09-25-08/Elbarasse%20Search%203.

 

Ties to Other Entities:

Qatar

Qatar has long supported the Brotherhood through financial, public diplomacy and media-based pathways, with Qatar’s backing largely based on the entities’ similar interpretations of political Islam. The Qatar-owned satellite network Al Jazeera is often perceived as biased towards the Brotherhood.Christia Case Bryant, “Behind Qatar’s bet on the Muslim Brotherhood,” Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2014, accessed May 30, 2014, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0418/Behind-Qatar-s-bet-on-the-Muslim-Brotherhood.

Qatar loaned Morsi’s government approximately $7.5 billion during the Brotherhood’s year in power.“Egypt has paid back $500 million to Qatar: central bank governor,” Reuters, October 11, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/11/us-egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSKCN0I009A20141011. Qatar also reportedly aided Morsi’s regime with grants and “energy supplies,” according to Reuters.“Egypt to repay $2.5 bln Qatari deposit at end-Nov-Cbank source,” Reuters, November 6, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/06/egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSL6N0SW1U420141106. During Morsi’s presidency, funds as high as $850,000 were reportedly secretly transferred to the Brotherhood from Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/.

Qatar refused to join suit as its Gulf neighbors labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization in 2013 and 2014. However, in mid-September 2014, top Muslim Brotherhood members claimed that they had been “asked to leave Qatar” as the small Arab country came under pressure from its neighbors to cut off support for the Brotherhood.David D. Kirkpatrick, “Muslim Brotherhood Says Qatar Ousted Its Members,” New York Times, September 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world/middleeast/bowing-to-pressure-qatar-asks-some-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-to-leave.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article.

Turkey

Turkey has long been a hub for the Brotherhood’s international organization. Especially following President Morsi’s ouster, regrouping and logistical efforts to strengthen the international Brotherhood community were reportedly hosted by Istanbul.Mohammad Abdel Kader, “Turkey’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Arabiya, October 14, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/alarabiya-studies/2013/10/14/Turkey-s-relationship-with-the-Muslim-Brotherhood.html. Turkey has also reportedly provided the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood with weaponry and intelligence.Mohammad Abdel Kader, “Turkey’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Arabiya, October 14, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/alarabiya-studies/2013/10/14/Turkey-s-relationship-with-the-Muslim-Brotherhood.html.

According to Mohammed Abdel Kader of the Saudi-based Al Arabiya Institute for Studies, Turkey’s support has highlighted “Erdogan’s ties with the Muslim Brotherhood…. and their mutual interest in restoring ‘the era of Islamic rule,’ seen by the Brotherhood as the basis for protecting ‘the Islamic nation.’”Mohammad Abdel Kader, “Turkey’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Arabiya, October 14, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/alarabiya-studies/2013/10/14/Turkey-s-relationship-with-the-Muslim-Brotherhood.html. However, when Egyptian President el-Sisi took office, relations between Turkey and the Brotherhood weakened due to Turkey’s fear of alienation and reprisal from Egypt and the Gulf states.Senem Aydın-Düzgit, “The Seesaw Friendship Between Turkey’s AKP and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 24, 2014, http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/07/24/seesaw-friendship-between-turkey-s-akp-and-egypt-s-muslim-brotherhood.

In May 2010, the Turkish humanitarian NGO the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) crewed a Turkish flotilla through international waters, edging the ships toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade and supply what it claims was humanitarian aid. The Israeli navy raided one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, resulting in the death of nine IHH members onboard. A detailed report on the incident, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, asserts that the IHH networked with and received financial support from the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. According to the report, IHH and the Turkish Brotherhood were provided passengers for the flotilla from the global Muslim Brotherhood organization.Steven G. Merley, “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, accessed June 17, 2015, 8, http://www.jcpa.org/text/Turkey_Muslim_Brotherhood.pdf; Robert Booth, “Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla sparks international outrage,” Guardian, May 31, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/may/31/israeli-attacks-gaza-flotilla-activists.

Ties to Extremist Individuals:

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a longtime supporter of the international Muslim Brotherhood and a close ally of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.Ayhan Simsek, “Support for Muslim Brotherhood isolates Turkey,” Deutsche Welles, August 21, 2013, http://www.dw.de/support-for-muslim-brotherhood-isolates-turkey/a-17037906.

Erdogan was a vocal opponent of Morsi’s removal from office and the Egyptian military regime that took his place, and has vouched for Morsi’s democratic intentions.Sebnem Arsu, “Turkey Open to Bids for Refuge by Muslim Brotherhood Exiles,” September 15, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/world/europe/turkey-open-to-bids-for-refuge-by-muslim-brotherhood-exiles.html?_r=0. In response to the military crackdown on Morsi supporters in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in August 2013, Erdogan blamed the international community for Morsi’s removal, saying, “It is clear that the international community, by supporting the military coup and remaining silent over previous massacres instead of protecting democracy and constitutional legitimacy in Egypt, has encouraged the current administration to carry out [the crackdown on Rabaa al-Adawiya Square].”“U.S. condemns killings of Egypt protesters, Turkey wants U.N. action,” Reuters, August 14, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/14/us-egypt-protests-reaction-idUSBRE97D11920130814. In public speeches, Erdogan has flashed the four-fingered “Rabia” hand salute, a Brotherhood symbol signifying resistance against the Egyptian security forces.Thomas Seibert, “Turkey Takes in ‘Terrorists’ from the Muslim Brotherhood,” Daily Beast, September 19, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/19/turkey-takes-in-terrorists-from-the-muslim-brotherhood.html.

In September 2014, amid the reported expulsion of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders from Qatar, Erdogan appeared ready to grant Brotherhood leaders asylum. He told reporters, “If they file a request to move to Turkey we will assess their situation and they can move to Turkey if there is no reason to prevent their entry.”Paul Aster, “Turkey may welcome Muslim Brotherhood brass after ouster from Qatar,” Fox News, September 21, 2014, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/21/turkey-may-welcome-muslim-brotherhood-brass-after-ouster-from-qatar/. Erdogan’s government has close ideological ties to the Brotherhood. It has maintained warm relations with the Islamist group in hopes of sustaining and strengthening its influence in the regionAyhan Simsek, “Support for Muslim Brotherhood isolates Turkey,” Deutsche Welles, August 21, 2013, http://www.dw.de/support-for-muslim-brotherhood-isolates-turkey/a-17037906.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani has reportedly secretly transferred funds as high as $850,000 to Muslim Brotherhood leaders during Mohammed Morsi’s presidency.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/; Sam Bollier, “Can Qatar replace its renaissance man?,” Al Jazeera, June 26, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/06/201362613431469150.html. A document dated March 28, 2013 detailed the allocation of funds from Hamad bin Jassim to a “long list” of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/.

Media Coverage

Rhetoric

View All

Mohammed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Jan. 10, 2010

Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them. They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue.

Message left by pro-Brotherhood hackers on Cairo International Airport’s website, August 11, 2015

“In revenge for the martyrs who have died by the bullets of the military gang and criminal Sisi since the coup, you will drown in the blood of those you have killed. We will follow you everywhere… the revolution continues and the land does not absorb blood.”“Muslim Brotherhood hackers briefly take over Cairo Airport website,” Cairo Post, August 14, 2015, http://www.thecairopost.com/news/163991/news/muslim-brotherhood-hackers-briefly-take-over-cairo-airport-website.

Muhammad Muntasir, spokesman, June 30, 2015

In reference to the murder of Egypt’s top prosecutor Hisham Baraket that the Brotherhood has blamed on Sisi’s regime:

“The current Egyptian situation has exceeded everyone’s capacity. There is no way to stop the bloodshed except by breaking the military coup and reviving the revolution.”“Muslim Brotherhood holds Sisi regime responsible for assassination,” Middle East Monitor, June 30, 2015, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/19548-muslim-brotherhood-holds-sisi-regime-responsible-for-assassination.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Brotherhood spiritual and intellectual leader, May 17, 2015

In reference to an Egyptian court handing ex-President Morsi and himself the death sentence:

“These rulings have no value and cannot be implemented because they are against the rules of God, against the people’s law...no one will accept it.”Ben Tufft, “Senior Muslim cleric Qaradawi denounces death sentences against Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders as ‘nonsense’,” Independent (London), May 17, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/senior-muslim-cleric-qaradawi-denounces-death-sentences-against-mohamed-morsi-and-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-as-nonsense-10256086.html.

Hammam Saeed, supreme guide of the Jordanian Brotherhood, July 20, 2014

“These Arab regimes have made us accustomed to taste the bitterness of defeat and now the day has come that someone (Hamas) has ended this humiliation and weakness by their heroic resistance.”Suleiman Al-Khalidi, “Jordanian stage pro-Gaza rally near Israeli embassy,” Al-Monitor, July 20, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/20/us-palestinian-israel-jordan-idUSKBN0FP0UY20140720.

Mohammed Badie, Brotherhood supreme guide, May 18, 2014

“We have fought only against the Jews, and Kamel Al-Sharif may testify about the conduct of the Muslim Brotherhood in the [1948] war in Palestine. We fought against the Jews.“Muslim Brotherhood Leader Muhammad Badi's Day In Court: We Fought Only Against The Jews, Not Against The Egyptian People,” MEMRI, May 21, 2014, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/7996.htm.

Hammam Saeed, supreme guide of the Jordanian Brotherhood, March 14, 2014

“We will not accept less than the annulment of the peace treaty and deportation the Israeli ambassador and to announce that Jews are enemies for our nation [sic].”Omar Akour, “Thousands protest Israel in Jordan over killing,” Associated Press, March 14, 2014, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/thousands-protest-israel-jordan-over-killing.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Brotherhood spiritual and intellectual leader, May 9, 2013

“Our whole ambition is to die on the path to Allah, and for long life to Palestine… I am sure we will conquer. Nobody thought that the people would triumph and oust the tyrants who ruled Egypt and Tunisia. And Syria will also emerge victorious, as well as Islam… Our wish should be that we carry out Jihad to death… We should seek to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, inch by inch.”“Influential Muslim cleric Qaradawi visits Gaza,” Al Arabiya, May 9, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/09/Influential-Muslim-cleric-Qaradawi-visits-Gaza.html; Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Influential Muslim cleric visits Hamas-controlled Gaza,” Reuters, May 9, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/08/us-palestinians-gaza-cleric-idUSBRE94714Y20130508.

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