White House officials held talks with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington this week, as the Islamist group threw itself into the fray in Egypt’s presidential election.
The meeting on Tuesday with low-level National Security Council staff was part of a series of US efforts to broaden engagement with new and emerging political parties following Egypt’s revolution last year, a US official said.
The White House pointed out that Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and other US lawmakers and officials had also met with Brotherhood representatives in Egypt and elsewhere in recent months.
“We believe that it is in the interest of the United States to engage with all parties that are committed to democratic principles, especially nonviolence,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
“In all our conversations with these groups, we emphasize the importance of respect for minority rights, the full inclusion of women, and our regional security concerns.”
The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said on Saturday it would nominate Khairat al-Shater, a professor of engineering and business tycoon, to contest Egypt’s first presidential election since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak last year.
The Islamists, who control parliament, had repeatedly said they would not put forward a member for the election in order to mitigate fears that they were trying to monopolize power.
So…just who are these welcomed representatives of the “religion of peace”?
Founded in 1928 by the Egyptian schoolteacher/activist Hasan al-Banna (a devout admirer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis), the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) — a Sunni entity — is one of the oldest, largest and most influential Islamist organizations in the world. While Egypt historically has been the center of the Brotherhood’s operations, the group today is active in more than 70 countries (some estimates range as high as 100+). Islam expert Robert Spencer has called MB “the parent organization of Hamas and al Qaeda.” In 2003, Richard Clarke – the chief counterterrorism advisor on the U.S. National Security Council during both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations – told a Senate committee that Hamas, al Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were all “descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers.”
MB was established in accordance with al-Banna’s proclamation that Islam should be “given hegemony over all matters of life.” Toward that end, the Brotherhood seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate, or kingdom — first spanning all of the present-day Muslim world, and eventually the entire globe. The organization further aspires to dismantle all non-Islamic governments wherever they currently exist, and to make Islamic Law (Shari’a) the sole basis of jurisprudence everywhere on earth. This purpose is encapsulated in the Brotherhood’s militant credo: “God is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”
Consistent with the foregoing credo, MB since its founding has supported the use of armed struggle, or jihad, against non-Muslim “infidels.” As al-Banna himself wrote: “Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded.” Added al-Banna: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
Embracing Hasan al-Banna’s belief that Islam is destined to eventually dominate all the world, MB today is global in its reach, wielding influence in almost every country with a Muslim population. Moreover, it maintains political parties in many Middle-Eastern and African countries, including Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and even Israel. Not only does the Brotherhood exist in Israel proper, but its Palestinian chapter created the terrorist organization Hamas, through which MB has supported terrorism against Israel ever since. Article II of the Hamas charter explicitly identifies Hamas as “one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.” In January 2006 Hamas defeated the rival Fatah party to win the Palestinian legislative elections, thereby becoming the first branch of MB to control an official government.
Outside of the Middle East, MB exercises a strong influence in Muslim communities throughout Europe. Among the more prominent Brotherhood organizations in the region are: the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations, the Muslim Association of Britain, the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD), and the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF).
…In early February 2011, Muhammad Ghannem, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, told the Iranian news network Al-Alam that “the people [of Egypt] should be prepared for war against Israel,” emphasizing that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.” That objective was entirely consistent with former MB Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi Othman Akef’s 2007 assertion that his organization had never recognized Israel and never would: “Our lexicon does not include anything called ‘Israel.’ The [only thing] we acknowledge is the existence of Zionist gangs that have occupied Arab lands and deported the residents. If they want to live among us, it will have to be as [residents of] Palestine.”
And these are the people that President Barack Hussein Obama and his administration have chosen to support.