The Quran teaches that it is allowable for Muslims to literally deny their faith in order to protect themselves. Muslims who deny their faith will be forgiven as long as their true faith was not really shaken (i.e. their denial was a lie in the purest sense) and only if their denial of faith was for the purpose of avoiding harm (primarily while living among non-Muslims): Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters unbelief, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.” -Surah 16:106
The Sunni Scholar, Ibn Kathir, elaborates on the meaning on this verse in his classic commentary on the Quran:
“This refers to a group of people who were oppressed in Mecca and whose position with their own people was weak, so they went along with them when they were tried by them … Allah tells them that after this, meaning after their giving in (to the non-Muslims by denying their faith) when put to the test, He will forgive them and show mercy to them when they are resurrected.
As long as a Muslim lives in a country where Islam exists as a minority, in “a weakened state,” then deceptiveness is allowed. When challenged by non-Muslims to blaspheme Allah, they “went along with them.” The actual story of how the above verse was “revealed” to Muhammad is told thusly:
The nonbelievers arrested `Ammar Ibn Yasir and tortured him until he uttered foul words about the Prophet (Muhammad), and praised their gods and idols; and when they released him, he went straight to the Prophet. The Prophet said: “Is there something on your mind?” `Ammar Ibn Yasir said: “Bad news! They would not release me until I defamed you and praised their gods!” The Prophet said: “How do you find your heart to be?” `Ammar answered: “Comfortable with faith.” So the Prophet said: “Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again.” Allah at that moment revealed the verse: “….except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith… Surah 16:106″
So Muhammad actually encouraged Muslims to lie and blaspheme and deny their beliefs if it was going to protect them, as long as they were “comfortable with faith.” Ibn Abbas, the most renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis confirms this notion: “Taqiyya is (merely) the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith.”
This is of course quite a contrast to the millions of Christians throughout history who have refused to renounce Christ and have accepted instead death and martyrdom.
The Al-Ikhwān, الخوان The Society of the Muslim Brothers (often simply Brotherhood or MB) is an Islamist transnational movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. The group is the world’s oldest and largest Islamic political group, and the “world’s most influential Islamist movement.” The Brotherhood has as its slogan “Islam is the solution”. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna. The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”. Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals. Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, calls it “conservative and non-violent,” and “poorly understood – especially in the West.” The Brotherhood condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks, but whether or not it has ties to terrorism is a matter of dispute. The Brotherhood’s nonviolent stance has resulted in breakaway groups from the movement, including the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya and Al Takfir Wal Hijra. Osama bin Laden has similarly criticized the Brotherhood, and accused it of betraying jihad and the ideals of Sayyid Qutb, an influential Brother member and author of Milestones. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has stated that, while it seeks the establishment of an Islamic state, it would not force women to cover up.
The Muslim brotherhood started off as a social organization, preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals, and even launched commercial enterprises. As it continued to rise in influence, starting in 1936, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt. Many Egyptian nationalists accuse the Brotherhood of violent killings during this period. After the 1948 Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organization and arrested its members; its founder was assassinated. After the Egyptian coup of 1952, which was supported by the Brotherhood, it was once again banned and repressed. Though the Brotherhood spread to other countries, it was suppressed there too: in 1982, Syria violently crushed a Brotherhood revolt (the Hama massacre). Starting in the 1980s it entered Egypt’s political arena, forming alliances with other parties, and fielding “independent” candidates. When in 2005, the Brotherhood won 20% of the seats, Hosni Mubarak cracked down on the group. As of 2011, the Brotherhood took an active part in the Egyptian protests. (N.B., This article was researched and originally written in advance of last year’s “Arab Spring” and this year’s military overthrow of the MB Presidency). The Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions are from members who live in oil-rich countries.
In the group’s belief, the Quran and Sunnah constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia. It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam. The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim nations during the early 20th century.
An important belief on the part of intellectuals who have assisted the organization is the reemergence of Islamic Civilization because Western Civilization is perceived to be in decline; in the words of a 2007 essay, “More than forty years ago the premise was made clear: The period of the Western system has come to an end primarily because it is deprived of those life-giving values, which enabled it to be the leader of mankind.” As Sayyid Qutb, an Islamic intellectual and supporter of the Brotherhood wrote in his 1963 book, Milestones, (Ma’alim fi al-Tariq).
The leadership of mankind by Western man is now on the decline, not because Western culture has become poor materially or because its economic and military power has become weak. The period of the Western system has come to an end primarily because it is deprived of those life-giving values, which enabled it to be the leader of mankind. It is necessary for the new leadership to preserve and develop the material fruits of the creative genius of Europe, and also to provide mankind with such high ideals and values as have so far remained undiscovered by mankind, and which will also acquaint humanity with a way of life which is harmonious with human nature, which is positive and constructive, and which is practicable. Islam is the only System which possesses these values and this way of life.
On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam conservatively. Its founder called for “a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior,” “segregation of male and female students,” a separate curriculum for girls, and “the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes…”
The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree, unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir which is highly centralized.
- The General Organizational Conference is the highest body of the Ikhwans stemming from the Ikhwans bases, every Usra elects one or two deputies according to its number.
- The Shura Council has the duties of planning, charting general policies and programs that achieve the goal of the Group. Its resolutions are binding to the Group and only the General Organisational Conference can modify or annul them and the Shura Office has also the right to modify or annul resolutions of the Executive Office. It follows the implementation of the Group policies and programs. It directs the Executive Office and it forms dedicated branch committees to assist in that.
- Executive Office (Guidance Office) with its leader the General Masul (General Guide) and its members, both appointed by the Shura Office, has to follow up and guide the activities of the General Organisation. It submits a periodical report to the Shura Council about its work and of the activity of the domestic bodies and the general organizations. It distributes its duties to its members according to the internal bylaws.
It has the following divisions : – Executive leadership – Organizational office – Secretariat general – Education office – Political office – Sisters office
In each country there is a Branch committee with a Masul (leader) appointed by the General Executive leadership with essentially the same Branch-divisions as the Executive office has. To the duties of every branch belong fundraising, infiltrating in and overtaking other Muslim organizations for the sake of uniting the Muslims to dedicate them to the general goals of the MB.
The general goals and strategic plans of the MB are only found in Arabic documents. One for Europe called “The Project” was found in 2001 in Switzerland, another for North America was found in 2005 called the “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” An evaluation of this Memorandum was made for the US-Congress and for the Pentagon. Their influence is fast growing, especially in Europe, but not easy to trace while the active members have to keep their membership secret.
One citation from the document “General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” makes the objectives of the MB clear: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan 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.”
1.Strengthening the internal structure
3.Recruitment and settlement of the Dawa’a (lectures and speeches about Islam)
4.Energizing the organization’s work
5.Energizing political work fronts (e.g. in civil political organizations)
- Finance and Investment
- Foreign relations
- Reviving women’s activity
- Political awareness to the members of the group
- “Securing the group” (to find out if they are being monitored, and if, how they can get rid of them)
- Dawa’ah (the lecture/speech of religion)
- Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
- Taking advantage of human potential (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organizations)
Underground links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, Jewish immigration to Palestine, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and secular Western societies generally. (Is is thus any wonder that the so-called “Palestinians” regularly fly the Nazi Swastika flag?)
The Muslim Brotherhood has been active in the US since the 1960s. Its stated goals have included propagating Islam and creating havens for Muslims in the US, and integrating Muslims. A main strategy has been dawah or Islamic renewal and outreach. In the 1960s, groups such as U.S. military personnel, prison inmates and African-Americans were specifically targeted for dawah. According to a report done by the NEFA Foundation which cites evidence from the United States v. Holy Land Foundation trial, the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the USA is Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic state wherever it is.
The NEFA Foundation report further explains that in the same document where the goal is stated, considerable time is spent explaining the concept of settlement which is central to the Muslim Brotherhood-led efforts in North America. Settlement is defined as follows: The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a “Civilization-Jihadist” process with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their 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 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, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.
Organizations in the US started by activists involved with the Muslim Brotherhood include the Muslim Students Association in 1963, North American Islamic Trust in 1971, the Islamic Society of North America in 1981, the American Muslim Council in 1990, the Muslim American Society in 1992, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought in the 1980s. According to the Washington Post, Muslim activists say MSA’s members represent “all schools of Islam and political leanings – many are moderates, while others express anti-U.S. views or support resistance against Israelis.”
The Holy Land Foundation trial has led to the release as evidence of  several documents on the Muslim Brotherhood. One of these documents, dated in 1991, explains that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is “settlement”, defined by the author as a form of jihad aimed at destroying Western civilization from within and allowing for the victory of Islam over other religions. In another one of these documents, “Ikhwan in America”, the author alleges that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as Special Work by the Muslim Brotherhood), as well as engaging in counter-espionage against US government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group). In November 2008 the Holy Land Foundation was found guilty of illegally funding Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group.
Footnotes and Suggested Reading:
1. The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine
2. The Muslim Brotherhood in flux 21 Nov 2010 aljazeera
3. “Egypt opposition wary after talks”. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12313405.
4. “Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood”. http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Home.asp? zPage=Systems&System=PressR&Press=Show&Lang=E&ID=4584.
5. “Egyptian Regime Resasserts Its Absolute Disrespect of Law”. February 6, 2007. http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Article.asp?ID=2496&SectionID=77.
6. History of Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage.
7. “Egypt unrest: What if Mubarak goes?”. BBC News. 2011-01-31. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12325128.
8. “Egypt unrest: Possible scenarios”. BBC News. 2011-01-31. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12326297.
9. “Muslim Brother Hood Condemns 9/11 attack”. http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm.
10. “Muslim Brother Hood Condemns 9/11 attack and calls U.S the world leader in terrorism”. http://ztruth.typepad.com/ztruth/2008/08/top-leader-of-themuslim-brotherhood-calls-america-as-the-worlds-terrorism-leader.html.
11. Crane, Mary. “Does the Muslim Brotherhood Have Ties to Terrorism”. Council on Foreign Relations. http://www.cfr.org/publication/9248/.
12. The Salafist Movement, Frontline (PBS)
13. “Muslim Brotherhood vs Al Qaeda” January 19, 2010
14. “MB Chief Criticism” Dec. 30 2007
15. “Obama: Muslim Brotherhood Lacks Major Support”. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/06/world/main7324320.shtml.
16. Delanoue, G., “al-Ik€h€wānal-Muslimūn”, Brill
17. Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, 1994?, p.140
18. “Syria cracks down on ‘Islamists’”. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4557543.stm.
19. Egyptian Brotherhood mass arrests
20. In Search Of Friends Among The Foes U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group
21. Davidson, Lawrence (1998) Islamic Fundamentalism Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., ISBN 0-313-29978-1 pp. 97–98;
23. In his tract, “Toward the Light” in Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna, trans. by Charles Wendell (Berkeley, 1978), ISBN 0-520-09584-7 pp.126f., al-Banna writes: Following are the principal goals of reform grounded on the spirit of genuine Islam… Treatment of the problem of women in a way which combines the progressive and the protective, in accordance with Islamic teaching, so that this problem – one of the most important social problems – will not be abandoned to the biased pens and deviant notions of those who err in the directions of deficiency and excess… a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behaviour; the instruction of women in what is proper, with particular strictness as regards female instructors, pupils, physicians, and students, and all those in similar categories… a review of the curricula offered to girls and the necessity of making them distinct from the boys’ curricula in many stages of education… segregation of male and female students; private meetings between men and women, unless within the permitted degrees of relationship, to be counted as a crime for which both will be censured… the encouragement of marriage and procreation, by all possible means; promulgation of legislation to protect and give moral support to the family, and to solve the problems of marriage… the closure of morally undesirable ballrooms and dance-halls, and the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes…”
24. The Future of Political Islam, Graham E. Fuller, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p.138
25. Zeid al-Noman, “Ikhwan in America”, p. 15-16
26. “The West and Islam”, By Mishal Fahm Sulami
27. “General Strategic goal for North America”, original with translated memorandum
28. “Analyses of Muslim Brotherhood’s General Strategic Goals for North America Memorandum”, by Stephen Coughlin September 7, 2007
29. “General Strategic goal for North America”, original with translated memorandum, page 21(7/18) par.”4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:”
30. Zeid al-Noman, Ikhwan in America (PDF), page 8
31. “FAS Intelligence Resource Program”. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/mb.htm.
32. “Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage”. http://www.ummah.net/ikhwan/.
33. Küntzel, 2002. Pg. 17–19
34. A History of the Modern Middle East, William Cleveland, p.200
35. Hallett, Robin. Africa Since 1875. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press (1974), pg. 138.
36. See Ian Johnson, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA and Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010); Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (New York: Telos Press, 2007); Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das ‘Dritte Reich’, die Araber und Palästina (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006), and Klaus Gensicke, Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die Nationalsocialisten: Eine politische Biographie Amin el-Husseinis (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007).
37. In addition to the studies listed in the previous note, see the detailed and richly documented analysis by Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2009).
80. Rod Dreher: What the Muslim Brotherhood means for the U.S.
81. “United States v. Holy Land Foundation”. The NEFA Foundation. http://www.nefafoundation.org/hlfdocs.html. Retrieved 2010-08-27. [dead link]
83. Zeid al-Noman, “Ikhwan in America”, pp. 13 and 16
84. Zeid al-Noman, “Ikhwan in America”, p. 13
85. “Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty on all counts | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News”. Dallasnews.com 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Abdullahi, Abdurahman (Baadiyow) (October 2008) “The Islah Movement: Islamic moderation in war-torn Somalia” Hiiraan Online Mogadishu, Somalia
- Baer, Robert (2002). See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1-4000-4684-3.
- Cohen, Amnon (1982). Political Parties in the West Bank under the Jordanian Regime, 1949–1967. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-08014-1321-6.
- Cohen, Nick (9 July 2006) “The Foreign Office ought to be serving Britain, not radical Islam” The Observer London
- Dreyfuss, Robert (2006). Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. Owl Books. ISBN 978-0-8050-7652-3.
- Grundmann, Johannes (2005) Islamische Internationalisten – Strukturen und Aktivitäten der Muslimbruderschaft und der Islamischen Weltliga. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden. ISBN 3-89500-447-2; (Review by I. Küpeli)
- Küntzel, Matthias (2002) Djihad und Judenhaß: Über den neuen antijüdischen Krieg Ça-Ira-Verlag, Freiburg, ISBN 978-3-924627-07-2 Also available in English translation as:
- Küntzel, Matthias (2007) Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 Telos Press, New York, ISBN 978-0-914386-36-0
- Mallmann, Klaus-Michael and Martin Cüppers (2006) Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das ‘Dritte Reich’, die Araber und Palästina Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt. ISBN 978-3-534-19729-3
- Mayer, Thomas (1982) “The Military Force of Islam: The Society of the Muslim Brethren and the Palestine Question, 1945–1948″ In Kedourie, Elie and Haim, Sylvia G. (1982) Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel Frank Cass, London, pp. 100–117, ISBN 0-7146-3169-8
- Core to Commonplace: The evolution of Egypt’s blogosphere
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- Traub, James. “Islamic Democrats?.” The New York Times 29 April 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2009
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- Shehata, Samer and Joshua Stacher. “The Brotherhood Goes to Parliament.” Middle East Report. Fall 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2009
- Arab Insight
- Lynch, Marc (2007-03-05). “Brotherhood of the blog”. The Guardian (London).
- “Muslim Brotherhood seeks end to Israel treaty”. The Washington Times.
- “Live Blog: Egypt in Crisis, Day 8″. CBS News.
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- Roee Nahmias (Roee Nahmias). “Assad: Iran won’t attack Israel with nukes”. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
- Klaus Gensicke, Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die Nationalsocialisten: Eine politische Biographie Amin el-Husseinis (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007)
- Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Martin Cüppers, and Krista Smith, Nazi Palestine: The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews of Palestine (New York: Enigma Books, 2010).
- Ziad Abu-Amr (Summer, 1993), “Hamas: A Historical and Political Background”, Journal of Palestine Studies 22 (4): 5-19,
- How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas, by Andrew Higgins Wall Street Journal January 24, 2009
- How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe, by Avi Shlaim Guardian UK January 7, 2009
- “Hamas Charter”. Mideastweb.org. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- The Talibanization of Gaza: A Liability for the Muslim Brotherhood. by Jonathan Schanzer. August 19, 2009. Current Trends in Islamist Ideology vol. 9
- Commentator (2011-01-30). “Jordan’s opposition: Arabs will topple tyrants”. timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- Alan Godlas (1968-07-17). “The Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq”. Uga.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- John Pike (2010-05-13). “Iraqi Islamic Party”. Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- The Future of Political Islam, by Graham E. Fuller, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003)
- 76. “Charting the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
- “Al-Jazeera Interviews – Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Sudan”.
- 78. International Religious Freedom Report 2004. Somalia