Ibrahim Mounir

Ibrahim Mounir was the London-based former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. He previously served as the secretary-general of the Brotherhood’s international organization, comprising the group’s global affiliates, which officially exist in 18 countries including Egypt.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, April 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided; Dr. Nathan Brown, “The Muslim Brotherhood,” Congressional Testimony, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 13, 2011, 10-11, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/0413_testimony_brown.pdf. Mounir ascended to the role of acting general guide in September 2020, following the arrest of the previous acting guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, in August 2020.“Egypt: Wanted Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat arrested,” Gulf News, August 28, 2020, https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/egypt-wanted-brotherhood-leader-mahmoud-ezzat-arrested-1.73483156; “Muslim Brotherhood Statement on the Arrest of Acting Chairman Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat,” Ikhwanweb, September 3, 2020, https://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32966. He was dismissed from the role in November 2021, sparking an internal row over the group’s leadership.“Former Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein dismissing Mounir from the position of Brotherhood guide,” Arab Observer, November 26, 2021, https://www.arabobserver.com/former-secretary-general-mahmoud-hussein-dismissing-mounir-from-the-position-of-brotherhood-guide/. Mounir died in November 2022 at the age of 85.“Acting leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood dies at 85 – statement,” Reuters, November 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/acting-leader-egypts-muslim-brotherhood-dies-85-statement-2022-11-04/.

Mounir, who was born in Egypt, had been living in exile in the United Kingdom since the 1990s.Al-Masry Al-Youm, “Political refugee to return to Egypt, oversee MB development,” Egyptian Independent, July 23, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/political-refugee-return-egypt-oversee-mb-development. In August 2015, Mounir claimed he had not returned to Egypt since 1987.“A talk with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ibrahim Munir,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), http://english.aawsat.com/2011/01/article55247947/a-talk-with-the-muslim-brotherhoods-ibrahim-munir. A longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mounir had been in and out of Egyptian prison since his first arrest in the 1950s under President Gamal Abdel Nasser.Ian Black, “Muslim Brotherhood leader hits out at Britain after Sisi sworn in,” Guardian (London), June 8, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/08/muslim-brotherhood-hits-out-britain-sisi-egypt. Nasser imprisoned Mounir in 1955 when he was 17 years old. Mounir was sentenced to five years of hard labor but served seven years before he was released. In 1965, Egyptian authorities arrested Mounir for reviving the Muslim Brotherhood. He was released after nine years, after which he left Egypt.“Meshaal describes late Brotherhood Guide as ‘great supporter of Palestine,’” Middle East Monitor, November 8, 2022, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221108-meshaal-describes-late-brotherhood-guide-as-great-supporter-of-palestine/. In the 1990s, Mounir was granted political asylum by the British government after reportedly receiving death threats from Egyptian security forces.Al-Masry Al-Youm, “Political refugee to return to Egypt, oversee MB development,” Egyptian Independent, July 23, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/political-refugee-return-egypt-oversee-mb-development. In January 2011, he was charged in absentia by the pre-revolution Egyptian government’s director of public prosecution with money laundering and fundraising for the Muslim Brotherhood abroad.“A talk with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ibrahim Munir,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), http://english.aawsat.com/2011/01/article55247947/a-talk-with-the-muslim-brotherhoods-ibrahim-munir.

Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, then-Deputy Supreme Guide of the Egyptian Brotherhood Khairat el-Shater reportedly tasked Mounir with overseeing the Brotherhood’s development, including improving its image and infrastructure.Al-Masry Al-Youm, “Political refugee to return to Egypt, oversee MB development,” Egyptian Independent, July 23, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/political-refugee-return-egypt-oversee-mb-development. Mounir was allegedly responsible for running IkhwanWeb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English-language website, and its weekly journal Risalat al-Ikhwan.Hany Ghoraba, “Ibrahim Munir, the Man Who Keeps the Muslim Brotherhood Alive,” Algemeiner, December 26, 2017, https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/12/26/ibrahim-munir-the-man-who-keeps-the-muslim-brotherhood-alive/. In 2014, Mounir was allegedly instrumental in convincing former British Prime Minister David Cameron not to ban the Muslim Brotherhood from the United Kingdom.Hany Ghoraba, “Ibrahim Munir, the Man Who Keeps the Muslim Brotherhood Alive,” Algemeiner, December 26, 2017, https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/12/26/ibrahim-munir-the-man-who-keeps-the-muslim-brotherhood-alive/. In August 2015, Mounir denied reports from Egyptian and Arab newspapers that he had become the Brotherhood’s supreme guide. In his statement, Mounir confirmed that Mahmoud Ezzat—who had taken over from Mohammed Badie in August 2013 after the latter was imprisoned—remained the acting supreme guide.“Ibrahim Munir denies reports he is now Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide,” Middle East Monitor, August 10, 2015, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20150810-ibrahim-munir-denies-reports-he-is-now-brotherhoods-supreme-guide-2/;
“Mahmoud Ezzat named Muslim Brotherhood’s new leader,” Al Arabiya, August 20, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/08/21/Mahmoud-Ezzat-named-Muslim-Brotherhood-s-new-leader.html.

In December 2015, the British government under Prime Minister David Cameron published a review of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its suspected affiliated groups operating inside the United Kingdom.Alan Travis and Randeep Ramesh, “Muslim Brotherhood are possible extremists, David Cameron says,” Guardian (London), December 17, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/uk-will-not-ban-muslim-brotherhood-david-cameron-says. British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir John Jenkins met with Mounir to consult on the review. Mounir reportedly threatened to take legal measures if the review casted a negative light on the Brotherhood. Ian Black, “Muslim Brotherhood leader hits out at Britain after Sisi sworn in,” Guardian (London), June 8, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/08/muslim-brotherhood-hits-out-britain-sisi-egypt. Mounir further warned that if the review resulted in the ban of the group, Muslim communities would feel marginalized and it would open doors for “all options,” possibly violence.Tom Coghlan, “Ban on Muslim Brotherhood ‘will increase terrorism risk’,” Times (London), April 5 2014, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4055311.ece.

On July 24, 2017, a Cairo criminal court added Mounir, along with 295 other individuals, to the state terror list and accused him of plotting attacks from abroad.“A talk with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ibrahim Munir,” Asharq Al-Awsat (London), January 12, 2011, http://english.aawsat.com/2011/01/article55247947/a-talk-with-the-muslim-brotherhoods-ibrahim-munir;
Al-Masry Al-Youm, “Political refugee to return to Egypt, oversee MB development,” Egypt Independent (Cairo), July 23, 2012, http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/political-refugee-return-egypt-oversee-mb-development.

Egyptian authorities arrested Ezzat in August 2020. The following month, the Brotherhood named Mounir as the new acting general guide, also referred to as the deputy general guide, making him the leader of both the Brotherhood abroad and in Egypt. Mounir then announced the dissolution of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office and its reorganization into a new managing committee operating from abroad.“Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Ibrahim Mounir is the new acting general guide,’” Middle East Monitor, last updated September 21, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200916-muslim-brotherhood-ibrahim-mounir-is-the-new-acting-supreme-guide/; “Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood forms managing committee,” Anadolu Agency, September 17, 2021, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-forms-managing-committee/1976780. The international Brotherhood and the Brotherhood in Egypt reportedly rallied behind Mounir’s leadership.“Egypt Muslim Brotherhood align with new acting supreme guide,” Middle East Monitor, September 17, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200917-egypt-muslim-brotherhood-align-with-new-acting-supreme-guide/, but cracks emerged the following year.

In October 2021, Mounir suspended six senior members of the Brotherhood who allegedly rejected the results of the Brotherhood’s internal elections. Also, that month, members of the General Shura Council of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Abroad renewed their “pledge of allegiance” to Mounir as acting director and the deputy of the Brotherhood’s general guide. Talaat Fahmi was also dismissed as the Brotherhood’s spokesman and Mounir was named the only spokesman for the group, though a replacement for Fahmi was planned.“Muslim Brotherhood suspends 6 senior members,” Middle East Monitor, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211011-muslim-brotherhood-suspends-6-senior-members/; October 11, 2021, “Muslim Brotherhood renews confidence in deputy head Mounir,” Middle East Monitor, October 14, 2021, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211014-muslim-brotherhood-renews-confidence-in-deputy-head-mounir/. On November 25, 2021, former Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein announced the Brotherhood’s General Shura Council had met and decided to dismiss Mounir. The council invalidated Mounir’s suspension of Brotherhood leaders in October. Hussein announced a temporary committee to carry out the responsibilities of the Brotherhood’s acting guide.“Former Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein dismissing Mounir from the position of Brotherhood guide,” Arab Observer, November 26, 2021, https://www.arabobserver.com/former-secretary-general-mahmoud-hussein-dismissing-mounir-from-the-position-of-brotherhood-guide/. In December, the Scholars Committee of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood called for support and cooperation with acting supreme guide Mounir in order to overcome the obstacles facing the group.“Muslim Brotherhood scholars call to support Deputy Supreme Guide Mounir,” Middle East Monitor, December 4, 2021, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211204-muslim-brotherhood-scholars-call-to-support-deputy-supreme-guide-mounir/. On January 30, 2022, the Brotherhood rejected the creation of a committee to carry out the role of the supreme guide. The Brotherhood accused “some members” of “violating its regulations and rejecting all attempts to unite the ranks.”“Muslim Brotherhood slams ‘members’ who bring division to group,” Middle East Monitor, January 31, 2022, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220131-muslim-brotherhood-slams-members-who-bring-division-to-group/. The Brotherhood announced all members seeking to divide the group would be “disowned.”“Muslim Brotherhood slams ‘members’ who bring division to group,” Middle East Monitor, January 31, 2022, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220131-muslim-brotherhood-slams-members-who-bring-division-to-group/.

In a July 2022 interview with Reuters, Mounir declared the Brotherhood did not seek to topple Egypt’s current government, which had previously outlawed the Brotherhood. Mounir emphasized the Brotherhood’s total rejection of violence. In the interview, published on July 29, Mounir also claimed the Brotherhood also “rejected the struggle for power” in Egypt, “even if between political parties through elections…”Dominic Evans, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rejects ‘struggle for power’, exiled leader says,” Reuters, July 29, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-rejects-struggle-power-exiled-leader-says-2022-07-29/. That month, Mounir also reportedly announced his full withdrawal from political life.“Muslim Brotherhood Announces ‘Overcoming Power Struggle,’ Denies Concluding Deal with Cairo,” Asharq al-Awsat (London), October 16, 2022, https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3934081/muslim-brotherhood-announces-%E2%80%98overcoming-power-struggle%E2%80%99-denies-concluding-deal. On November 4, 2022, he died in London at the age of 85.“Deputy supreme guide of Muslim Brotherhood dies in London,” Middle East Monitor, November 4, 2022, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221104-deputy-supreme-guide-of-muslim-brotherhood-dies-in-london/; “Acting leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood dies at 85 – statement,” Reuters, November 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/acting-leader-egypts-muslim-brotherhood-dies-85-statement-2022-11-04/; “Leading figure in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood dies at 85,” Associated Press, November 4, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/europe-middle-east-africa-religion-egypt-adedc1541095344cd7580b033232fcc0. Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal described Mounir as a great supporter of Hamas and Palestine.“Meshaal describes late Brotherhood Guide as ‘great supporter of Palestine,’” Middle East Monitor, November 8, 2022, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221108-meshaal-describes-late-brotherhood-guide-as-great-supporter-of-palestine/.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Muslim Brotherhood
Type(s) of Organization:
Non-state actor, political, religious, social service provider, transnational
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Qutbist, Sunni, takfirist
Position(s):
Former acting general guide (deceased)

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 the country’s oldest Islamist organization and has branches throughout the world.

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Egypt

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