Enduring Links: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood

(New York, NY) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today published a new resource detailing the historical and contemporary ties between the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and al-Qaeda. Before ascending to the highest positions of ISIS and al-Qaeda, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, which served as a bridge, as it does today, between young Islamists and more violent jihadist groups.

As the progenitor of the modern Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood underpins the belief system that fuels al-Qaeda and ISIS. The groups share ideological roots in the writings of the late Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb, and while their public-facing strategies differ, their similarities far outweigh their differences.

CEP has further outlined various levels of cooperation existing between the three groups—such as between ISIS’s Sinai branch and the Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas. Ultimately, these groups are bound together by their shared ideology and their vision for a global caliphate governed by Islamic law.

To explore the full CEP report: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Ties to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, please click here.


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