Wednesday, 29 August 2012
The Muslim Brotherhood and the subversion of the West
“Jihad and preparation for Jihad are not only for the purpose of fending-off assaults and attacks against Muslims by Allah's enemies, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state, strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world..."
Jihad is the Way by Mustafa Mashhur
Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, 1996 – 2002
“The presumption is that the duty of jihad will continue … until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule.”
“The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror”
by Prof Bernard Lewis
Who could have predicted that a little-reported civil disturbance in Tunisia just before Christmas 2010 would have produced results as cataclysmic as those we have been living through?
The ousting of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 set the spark to the tinder box and then, like an uncontrollable forest fire, popular action spread with extraordinary speed across the Middle East and North Africa. Who, even with the inestimable benefit of hindsight, would claim as inevitable a self-generated revolution in Egypt, causing the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in February?
Two Arab leaders ousted, and the unprecedented revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests next swept across Libya. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown, and killed in October 2011. Then Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. allowed himself to be replaced as president of Yemen by Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi in February 2012.
Meanwhile the revolutionary torch was being flung from state to state, and popular demonstrations sprang up also in Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Oman. Minor incidents occurred in Kuwait, Lebanon. Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Western Sahara. And now we have a virtual civil war in Syria.
For decades accepted liberal Western opinion had held that the Israel-Palestine issue was the one festering sore in the Arab body politic. Solve that, nodded the wise heads, and all would be sweetness and light in the Arab world. The so-called “Arab Spring” has demonstrated that this is far from the case – that the causes of popular disaffection among the Arab masses run deep, and that the Israeli-Palestinian problem is largely irrelevant to them, concerned, as they now are, to free themselves from the shackles of repression, human rights abuses, state censorship, and the other trammels of the dictatorships or absolute monarchies under which most of them exist. For once it has not been possible for these rulers to blame the usual scapegoat, Israel, for the troubles that now beset them. Their problems are largely of their own making, and will have to be resolved without recourse to the traditional external whipping-boy.
Out of all this turmoil in the Arab world, one clear winner is emerging − the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). In both the parliamentary and the presidential elections held in Egypt following the overthrow of President Mubarak the MB won decisive victories, and President Mohamed Morsy became the first member of an Islamist party to become head-of-state of an Arab country. He was not in office long before he moved decisively to emasculate the body that had effectively ruled Egypt and was seeking to retain a degree of power – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The Brotherhood’s grip on the reins of power in Egypt is now tight. Other Middle East rulers may well be considering their own situations in relation to the MB.
For the Muslim Brotherhood spans the Middle East and – jumping on the bandwagon of the Arab Spring − includes contingents in Libya and Tunisia. It is also active in Jordan. It holds power in Gaza, and is seeking to overthrow Fatah, which rules the West Bank. It has the support of Islamist Turkey, while in Syria the MB-funded Tawhid Brigade is actively combating Assad’s military forces in Aleppo. Qatar and its world-wide media empire, Al-Jazeera, are firm supporters.
Nor do the MB’s activities and influence end in the Middle East. Political author Lorenzo Vidino has demonstrated how since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers have “moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organised network of mosques, charities and Islamic organisations”. The organisation has active branches in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and numerous other European countries.
Why should this often stealthy, but steady and sure, expansion of influence and activity by the MB concern the Western world?
The answer lies in the basic aims and purposes of the Brotherhood. Founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, he declared quite simply: “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.” As a start, Al-Banna wrote that the Islamic flag must be raised again in the territories once ruled by Islam. “Thus Andalusia (Spain), Sicily, the Balkans, the Italian coast, as well as the islands of the Mediterranean…must return to the embrace of Islam.”
Seeking to bring about this Islamic aspiration through political means, the MB’s motto is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. And death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our ambitions.”
The ambition of the Muslim Brotherhood is boundless. Its goal, stated quite openly by its leaders, is to create situations in which Sharia law can be imposed on states, which can then unite and expand. In working towards this end the organisation has demonstrated ruthlessness as well as patience, supported terrorism as well as democratic political action,.
As Vidino pointed out, the MB’s success in Europe, “their acceptance into mainstream society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been possible had European élites been more vigilant, valued substance over rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and building these Islamist organizations.”
He asks why Europeans have been so naïve.
“Bassam Tibi,” he writes, “a German professor of Syrian descent and an expert on Islam in Europe, thinks that Europeans fear the accusation of racism. Radicals in sheep's clothing have learned that they can silence almost everybody with the accusation of xenophobia. Any criticism of MB-linked organizations is followed by outcries of racism and anti-Muslim persecution.”
And so the Western world seems to be sleep-walking towards, if not positively embracing, the elimination of its own cherished freedoms and way of life. Politicians and opinion-formers seem not to care that the MB is infiltrating democratic Western countries and piggy-backing to increased power and influence in the Middle East on the back of the Arab Spring.
One organisation that seems to have realised the danger, and conceived a strategy aimed at countering this slow creep of Islamism is the "Friends of Israel Initiative" (FII), founded by former President of Spain, José María Aznar. Its members include Peru's former president Alejandro Toledo, former Italian Senate president Marcello Pera, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, British historian Andrew Roberts, Northern Ireland's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Lord Trimble, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel, among others.
The body was formed in 2010 with the purpose of ending the delegitimisation of Israel on the world stage, because its members perceived Israel to be an integral part of the West, a cornerstone of Western civilisation, and they judged that the weaker Israel is, the weaker the entire West will be perceived to be.
“Judeo-Christian values form the roots of our civilization,” said José Maria Aznar at the launch of the FII in the United States. “Delegitimising Israel undermines our identity, warps our values and put at risk what we are and who we are…. Defending Israel today means strengthening the West.”
Their message needs to be heeded. Israel is the exposed vanguard of the West. It needs to be protected and supported, not attacked and delegitimised, if the slow undermining of our values by the MB and its associates is be contained and reversed.
A shorter version of this article was published in the on-line Jeruslaem Post magazine on Monday 15 October 2012: