In an April 11 Brookings Institution report titled “Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization?” senior fellow Shadi Hamid states that the Trump administration’s proposed designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group “could have significant consequences for the U.S., the Middle East, and the world.”
Among many astounding claims in the report, the three most misleading among them begin with his statement that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “non-violent Islamist Group,” that “there is not a single American expert on the Muslim Brotherhood who supports designating them as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” and that President Trump’s advisors were enlisting Americans in what Mr. Hamid’s calls, “civilization struggle.”
First, there is overwhelming evidence that Muslim Brotherhood is indeed a violent terrorist organization. The Brotherhood’s slogan is “‘Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nearly every Sunni terrorist group in the world was either fully or partially founded by active or former Brotherhood operatives. Brotherhood-linked terrorist organizations include, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya. Moreover, the Brotherhood also has active militias such as, “95 Brigade,” a Brotherhood terrorist group founded in 1995, which is currently operating under the direction of the Brotherhood Guidance office. The Brotherhood also has a well-funded transnational multi-lingual propaganda machine, which makes it more dangerous.
In a series of interviews with al-Jazeera TV, Osama Yassin, a minister in former President Mohammed Morsi’s cabinet, revealed that 95 Brigade engaged in the abduction, beating, and torture of “thugs” and threw Molotov cocktails at their opponents. The brigade operatives were also implicated in the killing of anti-Brotherhood protestors. In March 2014, for example, two Brotherhood operatives were sentenced to death after an online video clip showed them killing a teenager by throwing him from a building.
Under Mr. Morsi’s leadership, current Brotherhood leaders were personally involved in torture. During an interview with al-Jazeera TV, in 2011, Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy, bragged about his involvement in torturing a man whom he suspected was a police officer.
Egyptian Ambassador to Venezuela, Yehyia Najm, is among the numerous victims of what is known in Egypt as the “Brotherhood’s Slaughterhouses.” Ambassador Najm stated that the room where he was held captive and tortured with 49 other people, was “like a Nazi camp.” This is Mr. Shadi Hamid’s idea of a “non-violent group.”
Second, Mr. Hamid’s claim that there are no American experts on the Muslim Brotherhood who support its designation as a terror group, is wrong. The Middle East Forum, one of the America’s most renowned think tanks that specializes in Middle East and Islamic terrorism studies, supports the Brotherhood’s terror designation. Also, Mr. Trump’s advisor, Walid Phares, one of America’s most respected experts on Islamic terrorism and the Middle East, supports the Brotherhood’s terror designation. Andrew C. McCarthy III, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others, also supports the Brotherhood terror designation. Yet, Mr. Hamid chooses to ignore them, as he also chooses to ignore other facts.
Third, Mr. Hamid claimed that, “This language works to enlist Americans to join the “civilizational struggle” — an idea once reserved for those from the farthest fringes of the far right in the United States, now held by people in the very center of American power: the White House.”
Mr. Hamid may have borrowed the term, “civilization struggle,” or “A’mali Jihadia Hadaria,” (civilization jihad operation) from the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Apparatus. The nihilistic term first appeared in a 1991 document titled “The Explanatory Memorandum,” which outlined the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic goals for North America. This memorandum was entered as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial in 2008, the largest terror financing case in U.S. history.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Brookings Institution engaged in misleading disinformation on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, a Brookings Institution article stated that the fourth of the Muslim Brotherhood’s 10 Thawabet (precepts) in their bylaws, specified that “during the process of establishing democracy and relative political freedom, the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to abide by the rules of democracy and its institutions.”
This is a bold misrepresentation of the fourth precept. According to the Brotherhood’s own standards and internal bylaws, the fourth precept is violent jihad and martyrdom, which the Brotherhood states is an obligation of every individual Muslim, as well as the collective obligation of their organization.
There is a civilization jihad or struggle as Mr. Hamid called it, but it’s waged against America and the western world by the very people he is defending. To answer Mr. Hamid’s question if the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, the answer is yes, indeed they are a terrorist organization.
Mr. Trump’s administration needs to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group. Congress should also require think tanks to disclose any foreign funding received, while lobbying Congress. These financial disclosures will help combat disinformation campaigns targeting lawmakers, including reports like Mr. Hamid’s.
• Cynthia Farahat is an author and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.