By Andrew Cochran
Steven Emerson prepared the following written statement for the record for today's Senate committee hearing on violent extremism, which features Maajid Nawaz, former senior Hizbut official (see this article about the measures taken to bring him into the country this week).
Investigative Project on Terrorism
Report on the Roots of Violent Islamist Extremism and Efforts to Counter It: The Muslim Brotherhood
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the security apparatuses of United States have dedicated themselves to combating Islamist terrorism and countering its roots. These efforts have been met with varying levels of success.
Operationally, the U.S. has been largely successful - thwarting terrorist attacks against the homeland and hardening American targets abroad. However, the primary driver of the violence - ideology - has not been successfully countered or even sufficiently understood. The roots of this ideology are diverse and diffuse, but the primary root of Sunni Islamist violence in the modern era is the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) was founded as an Islamic revivalist movement in the Egyptian town of Isma’iliyaa in March 1928 by school teacher Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949).
The vast majority of Sunni terrorist groups - including al Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad - are derived from the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood’s goal has been to promote the implementation of Shari’ah (Islamic law derived from the Quran and the Sunnah). Early in its history, the Brotherhood focused on education and charity.
It soon became heavily involved in politics and remains a major player on the Egyptian political scene, despite the fact that it is an illegal organization. The movement has grown exponentially, from only 800 members in 1936, to over 2 million in 1948, to its current position as a pervasive international Sunni Islamist movement, with covert and overt branches in over 70 countries.
“I did not want to enter into competition with the other orders,” al-Banna once said. “And I did not want it to be confined to one group of Muslims or one aspect of Islamic reform; rather I sought that it be a general message based on learning, education, and jihad.”
According to 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.”
That helps explain the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto: “Allah ghayatuna Al-rasul za'imuna. Al-Qur-'an dusturuna. Al-jihad sabiluna. Al-mawt fi sabil Allah asma amanina. Allah akbar, Allah akbar.” (“God is our goal, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes. God is great. God is great.”)
The Brotherhood has reached global status, wielding power and influence in almost every state with a Muslim population. Additionally, the Brotherhood maintains political parties in many Middle-Eastern and African countries, including Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and even Israel.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood attempted to overthrow the Syrian government in the 1980s, but the revolt was crushed.
Aside from the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel proper, the terrorist organization Hamas was founded as the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, Article II of the Hamas charter states:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.
Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterized by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgment, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.
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