The British government has issued a blistering report on the secretive Muslim Brotherhood, with findings that contradict some favorable U.S. views — including the Obama administration’s — of the Islamic fundamentalist fraternity.
The investigative paper says the Brotherhood promotes (and sometimes takes a role in) violence; seeks world domination of Shariah, or Islamic, law; and views other religions as illegitimate. Its senior leaders “routinely use virulent anti-Semitic language” and have justified the killings of American and other coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To this day, Brotherhood leaders say the U.S. government fabricated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that the war on groups such as al Qaeda “is a pretext to attack Muslims,” the British report says.
The report, simply titled the “Muslim Brotherhood Review,” appears to be unprecedented in these politically correct times in that a Western government is confronting a Muslim group that is an ideological organizing force but not overtly a transnational terrorist organization.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the investigation was conducted to determine whether the Brotherhood is contributing to violence in his country and elsewhere by creating an environment for extremists to act.
“The movement is deliberately opaque and habitually secretive,” Mr. Cameron said.
He said the Brotherhood “promotes values which appear intolerant of equality and freedom of faith and belief.”
Mr. Cameron said the report’s major findings will help his government set policy, such as whether to ban the group altogether in Britain or greatly reduce visas to members wanting to enter the country.
Like France and Belgium, Britain is home to disruptive groups of Muslims. The government recently adopted a plan to combat extremism, and its options include closing mosques and deporting radical clerics.
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a caliphate under Shariah law,” the prime minister said. “To this day, the Muslim Brotherhood characterizes Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral.”
The Brotherhood’s English-language website condemned the report Dec. 17, the day Mr. Cameron delivered the findings to Parliament.
Amr Darrag, a member of the executive board of Egypt’s Brotherhood-created Freedom and Justice Party, stated: “The Prime Minister’s statement that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered a possible indicator of extremism unfairly condemns millions of Muslims and non-Muslims across the world, many of whom are British citizens. This is to fundamentally misinterpret the Middle East’s largest democratic organization and misunderstand what is needed to bring democratic, peaceful and stable governance to the Middle East.”
The White House has defended outreach to Brotherhood-linked leaders as part of a broader effort to stem extremism and bring Muslims into mainstream America.
The White House press office did not respond to a query seeking comment.
Steven Emerson, who directs the Investigative Project on Terrorism, hailed the British report as confirmation of what he and other watchdogs have been saying about the Brotherhood.
“I have never seen any Western government issue such an intellectually and politically honest and candid report about the Muslim Brotherhood,” Mr. Emerson said. “The political ‘incorrectness’ of issuing such a report — by exhaustively investigating and concluding beyond a shadow of a doubt that the MB and its front groups were anti-democratic, conduits for terrorism, pro-violence, and who used democracy as only a means of gaining power to impose a fascistic Islamist regime upon everyone else — was extraordinary in the annals of Western history.”
At the center of the Brotherhood’s teachings, says the report, is Sayyid Qutb, considered one of the founders of today’s radical and violent jihadi movements.
Qutb pushed a doctrine known as “takfiri,” which permits the stigmatizing of Muslims who do not adhere to a vision of a perfect Islamic society, and he encouraged “extreme violence” to achieve this goal.
“Qutb argued that a self-appointed vanguard of true believers was essential to create an authentically Islamic community and state,” the British report states. “Jihad was neither solely spiritual nor defensive.”
His writings inspired generations of terrorists, such as the cell that assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and al Qaeda. Egypt executed Qutb in 1966.
Though not in the report, the Islamic State preaches a form of takfiri to justify its mass killings of Shiite Muslims as well as Christians and others.
The report singled out the Muslim Brotherhood’s overt support for the Palestinian group Hamas, whose military wing is officially deemed a terrorist organization by London. Hamas, whose entire organization is deemed terrorist by the U.S., is a Brotherhood chapter.
The Muslim Brotherhood at all levels repeatedly has defended Hamas attacks against Israel, including the use of suicide bombers and the killings of civilians. The Brotherhood also facilitates funding for Hamas, the report says.
John Jenkins, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia who wrote the report’s international section, said he rejected Brotherhood testimony to him that it is a peaceful organization.
He drew this profile of the 87-year-old Brotherhood: “From its foundation the Muslim Brotherhood organized itself into a secretive ‘cell’ structure, with an elaborate induction and education program for new members. It relied heavily on group solidarity and peer pressure to maintain discipline. This clandestine, centralized and hierarchical structure persists to this day.”
Freedom and Justice Party
President Obama and senior White House officials have sought out Muslim Brotherhood members for dialogue and consultation.
Numerous Middle East press reports said Mr. Obama met with Brotherhood officials when he visited Egypt in 2009. During the visit, he addressed a group of Sunni religious scholars in Cairo. The White House billed it as building a bridge to Islam. Some Republicans labeled it the “Apologize for America” tour because the president spoke of what he saw as American shortcomings.
In February, Mr. Obama met at the White House with Islamic leaders, some of whom have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The White House released the names of attendees only after persistent questions from the press.
In June, a Muslim Brotherhood delegation visited Washington but did not meet with White House officials. Press secretary Josh Earnest was asked whether this represented a change in policy toward the group.
He responded: “No there has been no change in our policy with respect to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama administration and the United States routinely engage with representatives from across the political spectrum in all countries around the world. And members of the Obama administration have in the past met with Muslim Brotherhood representatives including as recently as earlier this year. So it is true that no one from the White House or from the administration met with the current delegation, but that does not reflect any change in our policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood.”
After the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood announced the creation of the Freedom and Justice Party, which went on to win Egypt’s first democratic national election and elevated Mohammed Morsi to the presidency.
Egypt banned the group last year after a military coup ousted Mr. Morsi, whose attempt to end the country’s secular government prompted wide protest known as the June 30 Revolution. Scores of Christian sites, churches and monasteries were destroyed in attacks encouraged by the Muslim Brotherhood, critics said.
In January, some ex-Freedom and Justice members visited Washington and were hosted at the State Department.
Jen Psaki, then a State Department spokeswoman, when asked by reporters about meeting with a group that Egypt and other Arab nations consider a terrorist organization, disputed that they had anything to do with the Muslim Brotherhood. She said the delegation “included some former members of the Freedom and Justice Party” and was, as such, “a group of former parliamentarians.”
At the time, the Brotherhood was calling for a long jihad against the military-imposed government led by President Abel el-Sisi.
When a similar delegation arrived in Washington in June, State officials did not meet with its members.
CAIR and the Brotherhood
Activist groups, such as the Investigative Project, say the mask came off the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the United States with the Justice Department’s successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas.
Five leaders of the now-defunct operation were convicted of using the foundation as a front for funneling money to Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group. A federal judge in 2009 sentenced the five to prison terms of 15 to 60 years.
Prosecutors released a list of unindicted co-conspirators. It included the Council on Islamic-American Relations, which is often quoted in news media as speaking for Muslim Americans. The court document says CAIR was or is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last year, the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally in the war on the Islamic State, declared CAIR a terrorist organization because of its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the country had banned.
CAIR petitioned to have its name removed from the unindicted co-conspirator list, but a federal judge and the Justice Department under Mr. Obama declined.
The FBI sent an April 2009 letter to Congress stating that it had ended all formal contracts with CAIR the previous year. The FBI said evidence showed CAIR officials had a relationship with the Palestine Committee set up by the Muslim Brotherhood in America to aid the terrorist group Hamas.
A CAIR spokesman did not respond to a query about the British government report. CAIR has denied it is a Brotherhood front.
Also on the Holy Land list is the Islamic Society of North America, whose current president and a former president met with Mr. Obama in February at the White House.
The government introduced a document written by Brotherhood activists in America and seized by the FBI in a raid on a home in Northern Virginia.
The document is a Brotherhood game plan for one day replacing secular law in the United States with Islamic rule.
One passage states: “The Ikhwan [members] must understand that their 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. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes.”
During the 2011 Arab Spring, former President Jimmy Carter told an audience in Austin, Texas: “I’ve known members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They’re not anything to be afraid of.”