IPA: [ʔælʔɪxˈwæːn ʔælmʊslɪˈmuːn]
The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Arabic: جماعة الإخوان المسلمين, often simply: الإخوان المسلمون, the Muslim Brotherhood, transliterated: al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn) is the Arab world's most influential and one of the largest Islamic movements, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. Founded in Egypt in 1928 as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, by the end of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood had an estimated two million members. Its ideas had gained supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its "model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work".
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." The organization seeks to make Muslim countries become Islamic caliphates and to isolate women and non-Muslims from public life. The movement is also known for engaging in political violence. They were responsible for creating Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist organization, who grew to infamy for its suicide bombings of Israelis during the first and second intifada. Muslim brotherhood members are suspected to have assassinated political opponents like Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha.
The Muslim Brotherhood started as a religious social organization; preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals and even launching 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 Muslim Brotherhood of violent killings during this period. After the Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organisation and arrested its members. It supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but after an attempted assassination of Egypt's president it was once again banned and repressed. The Muslim Brotherhood has been suppressed in other countries as well, most notably in Syria in 1982 during the Hama massacre.
The Muslim 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 work in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries.
|Part of the Politics series|
The Brotherhood's credo was and is, "Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations." The Brotherhood's English language website describes the principles of the Muslim Brotherhood as including firstly the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as "the basis for controlling the affairs of state and society" and secondly, work to unify "Islamic countries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from foreign imperialism".
We believe that the political reform is the true and natural gateway for all other kinds of reform. We have announced our acceptance of democracy that acknowledges political pluralism, the peaceful rotation of power and the fact that the nation is the source of all powers. As we see it, political reform includes the termination of the state of emergency, restoring public freedoms, including the right to establish political parties, whatever their tendencies may be, and the freedom of the press, freedom of criticism and thought, freedom of peaceful demonstrations, freedom of assembly, etc. It also includes the dismantling of all exceptional courts and the annulment of all exceptional laws, establishing the independence of the judiciary, enabling the judiciary to fully and truly supervise general elections so as to ensure that they authentically express people's will, removing all obstacles that restrict the functioning of civil society organizations, etc.
Its founder, Hassan Al-Banna, was influenced by Islamic reformers Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. 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 countries during the early 20th century.
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 Muslim Brotherhood 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 and the newly created Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the Muslim Brotherhood to some degree, unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir which is highly centralized.
There are breakaway groups from the movement, including the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and Al Takfir Wal Hijra. Osama bin Laden criticized the Brotherhood, and accused it of betraying jihad and the ideals of Sayyid Qutb, an influential Brother member and author of Milestones.
From the Transcripts the following hierarchical Organisation structure can be derived:
- 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 organisations. It distributes its duties to its members according to the internal bylaws.
It has the following divisions (not complete): – Executive leadership – Organizational office – Secretariat general – Educational office – Political office – Sisters office
The Muslim Brotherhood aimed to build a transnational organization, founding groups in Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), and Transjordan (1946). It also recruited among the foreign students in Cairo where its headquarters became a center and meeting place for representatives from the whole Muslim world.
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 and overtaking other Muslim organisations for the sake of uniting the Muslims to dedicate them to the general goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement. The Suez Canal Company helped Banna build the mosque in Ismailia that would serve as the Brotherhood's headquarters, according to Richard Mitchell's The Society of Muslim Brothers. According to al-Banna, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia law based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by God that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems.
Al-Banna was populist in his message of protecting workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. Al-Banna held highly conservative views on issues such as women's rights, opposing equal rights for women, but supporting the establishment of justice towards women. The Brotherhood grew rapidly going from 800 members in 1936, to 200,000 by 1938, 500,000 in 1948.
In November 1948, following several bombings and assassination attempts, the government arrested 32 leaders of the Brotherhood's "secret apparatus" and banned the Brotherhood. At this time the Brotherhood was estimated to have 2000 branches and 500,000 members or sympathizers. In succeeding months Egypt's prime minister was assassinated by a Brotherhood member, and following that Al-Banna himself was assassinated in what is thought to be a cycle of retaliation.
In 1952, members of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of taking part in the Cairo Fire that destroyed some "750 buildings" in downtown Cairo — mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners.
In 1952 Egypt's monarchy was overthrown by nationalist military officers supported by the Brotherhood. However the Brotherhood opposed the secularist constitution of the coup leaders and in 1954 some historians claim they attempted to assassinate Egypt's President (Gamal Abdel Nasser), and blame it on the "secret apparatus" of the Brotherhood (this attempt was unsuccessful). The Brotherhood was again banned and this time thousands of its members were imprisoned, many being tortured and held for years in prisons and concentration camps.
Since the 1970s the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics. Imprisoned Brethren were released and the organization was tolerated to varying degrees with periodic arrests and crackdowns until the 2011 Revolution.
In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood's candidates, who had to run as independents because of their illegality as a political party, won 88 seats (20% of the total). (The legal opposition won only 14 seats.) This was despite electoral irregularities, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood became "in effect, the first opposition party of Egypt’s modern era."
Accounts differ over the Brotherhood's record in parliament. Initially there was widespread skepticism inside and outside Egypt towards the Muslim Brotherhood's commitment to democracy, along with fears of "severe restrictions on its freedom of opinion and belief" in both religious matters, and "social, political, economic and cultural affairs."
But by 2007 a The New York Times journalist wrote: "While many secular critics fear that the brotherhood harbors a hidden Islamist agenda, so far the organization has posed a democratic political challenge to the regime, not a theological one."; and another report praised the Muslim Brotherhood for an "unmatched record of attendance", forming a coalition to fight the extension of Egypt's emergency law, and generally attempting to transform "the Egyptian parliament into a real legislative body, as well as an institution that represents citizens and a mechanism that keeps government accountable".
However, in December 2006, a campus demonstration by Muslim Brotherhood students in uniforms, demonstrating martial arts drills betrayed "the group's intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of 'secret cells,'" according to Jameel Theyabi. Another report highlighted the Muslim Brotherhood's efforts in Parliament to combat what one member called the `current US-led war against Islamic culture and identity,' forcing the Minister of Culture (Farouk Hosny) to ban the publication of three novels on the ground they promoted blasphemy and unacceptable sexual practices. In October 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a detailed political platform. Amongst other things it called for a board of Muslim clerics to oversee the government, and limiting the office of the presidency to Muslim men. In the "Issues and Problems" chapter of the platform, it declared that a woman was not suited to be president because the post's religious and military duties "conflict with her nature, social and other humanitarian roles." While underlining "equality between men and women in terms of their human dignity," the document warned against "burdening women with duties against their nature or role in the family."
Whether or not the Brotherhood would unconditionally or conditionally dissolve Egypt's 32-year peace treaty with Israel is disputed within the Brotherhood. While the deputy leader of the Brotherhood has said the Brotherhood would seek the dissolution of Egypt's 32-year peace treaty with Israel, a Brotherhood spokesman said that the Brotherhood would respect the treaty as long as "Israel shows real progress on improving the lot of the Palestinians."
The Brotherhood remains the largest opposition group in Egypt, advocating Islamic reform, democratic system and maintaining a vast network of support through Islamic charities working among poor Egyptians. Ex-Knesset member and author Uri Avnery argued that the Muslim Brotherhood is above all 'an Arab and Egyptian party, deeply embedded in Egyptian history, more Arab and more Egyptian than fundamentalist.' They have never been fanatical, and throughout their history, the outstanding quality they exhibit is 'pragmatism' and adherence to their religious principles. They form "an old established party which has earned much respect with its steadfastness in the face of recurrent persecution, torture, mass arrests and occasional executions. Its leaders are untainted by the prevalent corruption, and admired for their commitment to social work."
2011 revolution and after
Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and fall of Hosni Mubarak, the group was legalized. The Brotherhood supported the constitutional referendum in March 2011 which was also supported by the Egyptian army and opposed by Egyptian liberals. On 30 April 2011, it launched a new party called the Freedom and Justice Party, which reportedly plans to "contest up to half the seats" in the Egyptian parliamentary election scheduled for September 2011. The party "rejects the candidacy of women or Copts for Egypt's presidency", but not for cabinet positions. Some splinter groups have appeared in the wake of the revolution.
Over 30 million people voted (over 60 percent of the eligible voters) in the elections. Over a third of these people voted for the Freedom and Justice Party put forward by the Muslim Brotherhood. The party won 127 seats through the party list and 108 individual seats for a total of 235 seats. The parliament consists of 498 elected members, 10 appointed, for a total of 508 seats.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, several former Brotherhood officials from the organization's 15-member Guidance Council assumed key roles within the new party, and used their positions in the FJP to reiterate the Brotherhood's long-standing hostility toward Zionism and support for other organizations that oppose Zionism.
The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for Egypt's 2012 presidential election was Mohamed Morsi. The Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi spoke at the announcement rally for the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Morsi and expressed his hope and belief that Morsi would liberate Gaza, restore the Caliphate of the "United States of the Arabs" with Jerusalem as its capital, and that "our cry shall be: 'Millions of martyrs march towards Jerusalem.'" Morsi himself did not echo these statements, and later promised to stand for peaceful relations with Israel.
In the First Egyptian elections after Mubarak, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, won the election with 51.73% of the vote - over his competitor Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak's rule.
On the verdict that was announced for the former president Hosni Mubarak on 2 June 2012, a life sentence for complicity in the killings of protesters, the party made outspoken comments about it being too light, and actively engaged in action as a response. The sentences announced that Mubarak and his interior minister, as well as the latter's six assistants would be acquitted of similar charges. In a separate corruption case, however, the former president and his two sons, as well as Egypt's tycoon for business Hussein Selem were all found free of charges-non guilty. With the announcement followed mass scale of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square, questioning the integrity of the Judge Ahmed Refaat, to the trial that seemed crucial and meaningful to the history of people of Egypt. The demonstrations also denounced the presence of one presidential elections runoff Ahmed Shafiq. Shafiq was one of the high-profile governmental member during the period of President Mubarak, positioning himself as counter force to the spirit of the revolution that operates as a driving force in current Egyptian society. The result of trials and roaring response from the public have motivated actions from the party as well. Muslim Brotherhood's presidential finalist Mohamed Morsi met Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Khaled Ali-who are the former presidential candidates- on Monday to discuss the verdict and the upcoming presidential election runoff. As the event is regarded as a major event for Egypt, one of the initiating countries of the Arab Revolution in the region, the party finds itself deeply involved and set to be ready. A spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Muhammad Morsi expressed concern by saying that "The punishment is mild considering the crimes he committed against his homeland for over 30 years". Such announcement is made, also to note the affect of the verdict on the elections. Also he mentioned that "The Egyptians will insist on electing a president that would renew the trial and avenge the blood of the martyrs,", warning that another revolution can happen in Egypt following the sentence.
In late November 2012, offices of the Muslim Brotherhood were burned in response to Mohamed Morsi's move to outlaw challenges to his presidential authority.
(المرشد العام لجماعة الإخوان المسلمون)
- Founder & First G. leader: (1928–1949) Hassan al Banna
- 2nd G.L. : (1949–1972) Hassan al-Hudaybi
- 3rd G.L. : (1972–1986) Umar al-Tilmisani
- 4th G.L. : (1986–1996) Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr
- 5th G.L. : (1996–2002) Mustafa Mashhur
- 6th G.L. : (2002–2004) Ma'mun al-Hudaybi
- 7th G.L. : (2004–2010) Mohammed Mahdi Akef
- 8th G.L. : (16 January 2010 – present) Mohammed Badie
In West Asia
In Bahrain, the Muslim Brotherhood is represented by the Al Eslah Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. Following parliamentary elections in 2002, Al Menbar became the largest joint party with eight seats in the forty seat Chamber of Deputies. Prominent members of Al Menbar include Dr Salah Abdulrahman, Dr. Salah Al Jowder, and outspoken MP Mohammed Khalid. The party has generally backed government sponsored legislation on economic issues, but has sought a clampdown on pop concerts, sorcery and soothsayers. It has strongly opposed the government's accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party's view they should be "beheaded".
In March 2009, the Shi'a group The Islamic Enlightenment Society held its annual conference with the announced aim of diffusing tension between Muslim branches. The society invited national Sunni and Shi'a scholars to participate. Bahraini independent Salafi religious scholars Sheikh Salah Al Jowder and Sheikh Rashid Al Muraikhi, and Shi'a clerics Sheikh Isa Qasim and Abdulla Al Ghoraifi spoke about the importance of sectarian cooperation. Additional seminars were held throughout the year.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria was founded in the 1930s (according to lexicorient.com) or in 1945, a year before independence from France, (according to journalist Robin Wright). In the first decade or so of independence it was part of the legal opposition, and in the 1961 parliamentary elections it won ten seats (5.8% of the house). But after the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power it was banned. It played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based movement that opposed the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath party. This conflict developed into an armed struggle that continued until culminating in the Hama uprising of 1982, when the rebellion was crushed by the military.
Membership in the Syrian Brotherhood became a capital offence in Syria in 1980 (under Emergency Law 49, which was revoked in 2011), but the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Palestinian group, Hamas, was located in the Syria's capital Damascus, where it was given Syrian government support. This has been cited as an example of the lack of international centralisation or even coordination of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1942, and is a strong factor in Jordanian politics. While most political parties and movements were banned for a long time in Jordan such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Brotherhood was exempted and allowed to operate by the Jordanian monarchy. The Jordanian Brotherhood has formed its own political party, the Islamic Action Front, which has the largest number of seats of any party in the Jordanian parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood is playing an active role in the unrest in several Arab countries in January 2011. For example, at a rally held outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman on Saturday, 29 January 2011 with some 100 participants, Hammam Saeed, head of the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan and a close ally of the Hamas's Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal, said: "Egypt's unrest will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States." However, he did not specifically name Jordanian King Abdullah II. The Muslim brotherhood is rightfully or wrongfully feared by several commentators in the west, however it is not known how many seats in a democratic government the brotherhood will gain in any of the aforementioned countries.
Although Iran is a predominately Shia Muslim country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. Navab Safavi, who founded Fada'iyan-e Islam, (also Fedayeen of Islam, or Fadayan-e Islam), an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, "was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood. From 1945 to 1951 the Fadain assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They included anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj Ali Razmara, former Premier Abdolhossein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh.
At that time Navab Safavi now based in the UK where associates and allies of Ayatollah Khomeini who went on to become a figure in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Khomeini and other religious figures in Iran worked to establish Islamic unity and downplay Shia-Sunni differences.
The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood, but was banned from 1961 during the nationalist rule of Abd al-Karim Qasim. As government repression hardened under the Baath Party from February 1963, the group was forced to continue underground. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, the Islamic Party has reemerged as one of the main advocates of the country's Sunni community. The Islamic Party has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but participates in the political process. Its leader is Iraqi Vice-President Tariq Al-Hashimi.
Also, in the north of Iraq there are several Islamic movements inspired by or part of the Muslim Brotherhood network. The Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) holds seats in the Kurdish parliament, and is the main political force outside the dominance of the two main secularist parties, the PUK and KDP.
Israel and Palestinian Territories
'Abd al-Rahman al-Banna, the brother of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, went to the British Mandate for Palestine and established the Muslim Brotherhood there in 1935. Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, eventually appointed by the British as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in hopes of accommodating him, was the leader of the group in Palestine. Another important leader associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine was 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam, an inspiration to Islamists because he had been the first to lead an armed resistance in the name of Palestine against the British in 1935. In 1945, the group established a branch in Jerusalem, and by 1947 twenty-five more branches had sprung up, in towns such as Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Nablus, and Tulkarm, which total membership between 12,000 to 20,000.
Brotherhood members fought alongside the Arab armies during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and, after Israel's creation, the ensuing Palestinian refugee crisis encouraged more Palestinian Muslims to join the group. After the war, in the West Bank, the group's activity was mainly social and religious, not political, so it had relatively good relations with Jordan, which was in control of the West Bank after 1950. In contrast, the group frequently clashed with the Egyptian regime that controlled the Gaza Strip until 1967.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood's goal was "the upbringing of an Islamic generation" through the restructuring of society and religious education, rather than opposition to Israel, and so it lost popularity to insurgent movements and the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Eventually, however, the Brotherhood was strengthened by several factors:
- The creation of al-Mujamma' al-Islami, the Islamic Center in 1973 by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin had a centralizing effect that encapsulated all religious organizations.
- The Muslim Brotherhood Society in Jordan and Palestine was created from a merger of the branches in the West Bank and Gaza and Jordan.
- Palestinian disillusion with the Palestinian militant groups caused them to become more open to alternatives.
- The Islamic Revolution in Iran offered inspiration to Palestinians. The Brotherhood was able to increase its efforts in Palestine and avoid being dismantled like militant groups because it did not focus on the occupation. While millitant groups were being dismantled, the Brotherhood filled the void.
After the 1967 Six Day War, Israel may have looked to cultivate political Islam as a counterweight to Fatah, the main secular Palestinian nationalist political organization. Between 1967 and 1987, the year Hamas was founded, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600, and the Muslim Brotherhood named the period between 1975 and 1987 a phase of 'social institution building.' During that time, the Brotherhood established associations, used zakat (alms giving) for aid to poor Palestinians, promoted schools, provided students with loans, used waqf (religious endowments) to lease property and employ people, and established mosques. Likewise, antagonistic and sometimes violent opposition to Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and other secular nationalist groups increased dramatically in the streets and on university campuses.
After the Intifada, Hamas was established. The Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, founded in 1987 in Gaza, is a wing of the Brotherhood, formed out of Brotherhood-affiliated charities and social institutions that had gained a strong foothold among the local population. During the First Intifada (1987–93), Hamas militarized and transformed into one of the strongest Palestinian militant groups.
The Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 was the first time since the Sudanese coup of 1989 that brought Omar al-Bashir to power, that a Muslim Brotherhood group ruled a significant geographic territory.
The Muslim Brotherhood's brand of Islam and Islamic politics differs from the strict Salafi creed, Wahhabiyya, officially held by the state of Saudi Arabia. Despite this, the Brotherhood has been tolerated by the Saudi government, and maintains a presence in the country. Aside from tolerating the Brotherhood organization, and according to Washington Post report, the then Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef denounced the Brotherhood, saying it was guilty of "betrayal of pledges and ingratitude" and was "the source of all problems in the Islamic world".
The Muslim Brotherhood is the political arm of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, commonly known as Islah. President Ali Abdullah Saleh accused them of being in league with Al Qaida and stirring up the 2011 Yemen protests against his rule.
Elsewhere in Africa
The Muslim Brotherhood reached Algeria during the later years of the French colonial presence in the country (1830–1962). Sheikh Ahmad Sahnoun led the organization in Algeria between 1953 and 1954 during the French colonialism. Brotherhood members and sympathizers took part in the uprising against France in 1954–1962, but the movement was marginalized during the largely secular FLN one-party rule which was installed at independence in 1962. It remained unofficially active, sometimes protesting the government and calling for increased Islamization and Arabization of the country's politics.
When a multi-party system was introduced in Algeria in the early 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood formed the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP, previously known as Hamas), led by Mahfoud Nahnah until his death in 2003 (he was succeeded by present party leader Boudjerra Soltani). The Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria did not join the Front islamique du salut (FIS), which emerged as the leading Islamist group, winning the 1991 elections and which was banned in 1992 following a military coup d'état, although some Brotherhood sympathizers did. The Brotherhood subsequently also refused to join the violent post-coup uprising by FIS sympathizers and the Armed Islamic Groups (GIA) against the Algerian state and military which followed, and urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a return to democracy. It has thus remained a legal political organization and enjoyed parliamentary and government representation. In 1995, Sheikh Nahnah ran for President of Algeria finishing second with 25.38% of the popular vote. During the 2000s (decade), the party—led by Nahnah's successor Boudjerra Soltani—has been a member of a three-party coalition backing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Until the election of Hamas in Gaza, Sudan was the one country were the Brotherhood was most successful in gaining power, its members making up a large part of the government officialdom following the 1989 coup d'état by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Always close to Egyptian politics, Sudan has had a Muslim Brotherhood presence since 1949. In 1945, a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt visited Sudan and held various meetings inside the country advocating and explaining their ideology. Sudan has a long and deep history with the Muslim Brotherhood compared to many other countries. By April 1949, the first branch of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood organization emerged. However, simultaneously, many Sudanese students studying in Egypt were introduced to the ideology of the Brotherhood. The Muslim student groups also began organizing in the universities during the 1940s, and the Brotherhood's main support base has remained to be college educated. In order to unite them, in 1954, a conference was held, attended by various representatives from different groups that appeared to have the same ideology. The conference voted to establish a Unified Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood Organization based on the teachings of Imam Hassan Al-banna.
An offshoot of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Charter Front grew during the 1960, with Islamic scholar Hasan al-Turabi becoming its Secretary general in 1964. The Islamic Charter Front (ICM) was renamed several times most recently being called the National Islamic Front (NIF). Turabi has been the prime architect of the NIF as a modern Islamist party. He worked within the Institutions of the government, which led to a prominent position of his organization in the country. NIF supported women's right to vote and ran women candidates. The Muslim Brotherhood/NIF's main objective in Sudan was to Islamize the society "from above" and to institutionalize the Islamic law throughout the country where they succeeded.
The Brotherhood penetrated into the ruling political organizations, the state army and security personal, the national and regional assemblies of Sudan. They also launched their own mass organizations among the youth and women such as the shabab al-binna, and raidat al-nahda, and launched educational campaigns to Islamize the communities throughout the country. At the same time, they gained control of several newly founded Islamic missionary and relief organizations to spread their ideology. The Brotherhood members took control of the newly established Islamic Banks as directors, administrators, employees and legal advisors, which became a source of power for the Brotherhood.
The Sudanese government has come under considerable criticism for its human rights policies, links to terrorist groups, and war in southern Sudan and Darfur.
The conservatism of at least some elements of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood was highlighted in an 3 August 2007 Al-Jazeera television interview of Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed. As translated by the Israeli-based MEMRI, Bin Al-Majed told his interviewer that "the West, and the Americans in particular ... are behind all the tragedies that are taking place in Darfur", as they "realized that it Darfur is full of treasures"; that "Islam does not permit a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims;" and that he had issued a fatwa prohibiting the vaccination of children, on the grounds that the vaccinations were "a conspiracy of the Jews and Freemasons".
Somalia's wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is known by the name Harakat Al-Islah or "Reform Movement". Nonetheless, the Brotherhood, as mentioned earlier, has inspired many Islamist organizations in Somalia. Muslim Brotherhood ideology reached Somalia in the early 1960s, but Al-Islah movement was formed in 1978 and slowly grew in the 1980s. Al-Islah has been described as "a generally nonviolent and modernizing Islamic movement that emphasizes the reformation and revival of Islam to meet the challenges of the modern world", whose "goal is the establishment of an Islamic state" and which "operates primarily in Mogadishu".
The founders of the Islah Movement are: Sh. Mohamed Ahmed Nur, Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Abdi, Sh. Ahmed Rashid Hanafi, and Sh. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. The organization structured itself loosely and was not openly visible on the political scene of Somali society.
They chose to remain a secret movement fearing the repressive regime of Siad Barre but are considered the first ever opposition to the dictatorship. However, they emerged from secrecy when the regime collapsed in 1991 and started working openly thereafter. Most Somalis were surprised to see the new group they had never heard of, which was in the country since the 1970s in secrecy.
According to the Islah by-law, every five years the organization has to elect its Consultative (Shura) Council which elects the Chairman and the two Vice-chairman. During the last 30 years, four chairmen were elected. These are Sheikh Mohamed Geryare (1978–1990), Dr. Mohamed Ali Ibrahim (1990–1999), Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed (1999–2008) and Dr. Ali Bashi Omar Roraye (2008–2013).
Dr. Ali Bashi is a medical doctor, a former university professor and a member of the transitional parliament (2000–2008). During the 1990s, Al-Islah devoted much effort to humanitarian efforts and providing free basic social services.
The leaders of Al-Islah played a key role in the educational network and establishing Mogadishu University. Through their network, they educate more than 120,000 students in the city of Mogadishu. Many other secondary schools such as the University of East Africa in Bosasso, Puntland, are externally funded and administered through organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic organization Al-Islah. In Somalia, they are known to be a peaceful organization that does not participate in any factional fighting and rejects the use of violence.
Today the group's membership includes urban professionals and students. According to a Crisis Group Report, Somalia's Islamists, "Al-Islah organization is dominated by a highly educated urban elite whose professional, middle class status and extensive expatriate experiences are alien to most Somalis."
Although Al-Islah have been criticized by some hardcore Islamists who considered them to be influenced by imperialist western values, Al-Islah speaks of democratic peaceful Somalia. They promote women's rights, human rights, and other ideas, which they argue that these concepts originate from Islamic concepts. Al-Islah is gaining momentum in the Somali societies for their humanitarian work and moderate view of Islam, which is compatible to modernisation and respect of human rights. Currently, Islah initiated to establish political party under the name of Justice and Unity Party which is open for all citizens of Somalia.
Like their counterparts elsewhere in the Islamic world in general, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has influenced the Tunisia's Islamists. One of the notable organization that was influenced and inspired by the Brotherhood is Ennahda (The Revival or Renaissance Party), which is Tunisia's major Islamist political grouping. An Islamist founded the organization in 1981. While studying in Damascus and Paris, Rashid Ghannouchi embraced the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he disseminated on his return to Tunisia.
The Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1949, but it was not able to operate openly until after the 2011 Libyan civil war. It held its first public press conference on 17 November 2011, and on 24 December the Brotherhood announced that it would form the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) and contest the General National Congress elections the following year.
Despite predictions based on fellow post-Arab Spring nations Tunisia and Egypt that the Brotherhood's party would easily win the elections, it instead came a distant second to the National Forces Alliance, receiving just 10% of the vote and 17 out of 80 party-list seats. Their candidate for Prime Minister, Awad al-Baraasi was also defeated in the first round of voting in September, although he was later made a Deputy Prime Minister under Ali Zeidan. A JCP Congressman, Saleh Essaleh is also the vice speaker of the General National Congress.
Changes to the demographic and political makeup of Mauritania in the 1970s heavily contributed to the growth of Islamism within Mauritanian society. Periods of severe drought resulted in urbanization, as large numbers of Mauritanians moved from the countryside to the cities, particularly Nouakchott, to escape the drought. This sharp increase in urbanization resulted in new civil associations being formed, and Mauritania's first Islamist organisation, known as Jemaa Islamiyya (Islamic Association) was formed by Mauritanians sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.
There was increased activism relating to the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s, partially driven by members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2007 the National Rally for Reform and Development, better known as Tewassoul, was legalized as a political party. The party is associated with the Mauritanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
As affirmed on 14 February 2003 by the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia, the Muslim Brotherhood coordinated the creation of an Islamic organisation called The Supreme Military Majlis ul-Shura of the United Forces of Caucasian Mujahedeen (Russian: Высший военный маджлисуль шура объединённых сил моджахедов Кавказа), led by Ibn Al-Khattab and Basaev; an organisation that committed multiple terror-attack acts in Russia and was allegedly financed by drug trafficking, counterfeiting of coins and racketeering.
According to the above-mention decision of the Supreme Court:
Muslim Brotherhood is an organisation, basing its activities on the ideas of its theorists and leaders Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb with an aim of destruction of non-Islamic governments and the establishment of the worldwide Islamic government by the reconstruction of the "Great Islamic Caliphate"; firstly, in regions with majority of Muslim population, including those in Russia and CIS countries. The organisation is illegal in some Middle East countries (Syria, Jordan). The main forms of activities are warlike Islamism propaganda with intolerance to other religions, recruitment in mosques, armed Jihad without territorial boundaries. The Supreme Court of Russia
According to the Washington Post, U.S. Muslim Brotherhood supporters "make up the U.S. Islamic community's most organized force" by running hundreds of mosques, businesses ventures, promoting civic activities and setting up American Islamic organizations to defend and promote Islam. In 1963, the U.S. chapter of Muslim Brotherhood was started by activists involved with the Muslim Students Association (MSA). U.S. supporters of the Brotherhood also started other organizations including: 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.
In 1996, the first representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, Kamal el-Helbawy, an Egyptian, was able to say that "there are not many members here, but many Muslims in Britain intellectually support the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood." He added that at that time, the object of the MB in Britain was only to disseminate information on Islam, Islamic issues and movements, and to rectify the distortions and misunderstandings created by "different forces against Islam".
In September 1999, the Muslim Brotherhood opened a "global information centre" in London. A press notice published in Muslim News stated that it would "specialize in promoting the perspectives and stances of the Muslim Brotherhood, and [communicate] between Islamic movements and the global mass media."
Several Party and organizations in Indonesia are linked or at least inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, although none has a formal relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the Muslim Brotherhood linked Parties is PKS (Prosperous Justice Party) with 10% seats in the parliament based on the Indonesian legislative election, 2009. The PKS relationship with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was confirmed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader . PKS is a member of current government coalition under President SBY with 3 ministers in the cabinet.
The Jamaat-e-Islami (Urdu: جماعتِ اسلامی;, lit. "Islamic Party" abbreviation, JI) is a political party founded on 26 August 1941 in Lahore by Muslim theologian Abul Ala Maududi. Jamaat-e-Islami is said to be the Muslim Brotherhood in the Indian subcontinent and Muslim Brotherhood is called the Jamaat-e-Islami of the Arab world.
The Brotherhood was criticised by Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2007 for its refusal to advocate the violent overthrow of the Mubarak regime. Issam al-Aryan, a top Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood figure, denounced the al-Qaeda leader: "Zawahiri's policy and preaching bore dangerous fruit and had a negative impact on Islam and Islamic movements across the world."
Dubai police chief, Dhahi Khalfan, accused Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood of an alleged plot to overthrow the UAE government. He referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as "dictators" who want "Islamist rule in all the Gulf States".
Numerous officials and reporters question the sincerity of the Muslim Brotherhood's pronouncements. These critics include, but are not limited to:
- According to FrontPage Magazine, a conservative publication, former U.S. White House counterterrorism chief Juan Zarate said: "The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians."
- Miles Axe Copeland, Jr. -a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan- divulges the confessions of numerous members of the Muslim brotherhood that resulted from the harsh interrogations done against them by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, for their alleged involvement in the assassination attempt made against Nasser (an assassination attempt that many believe was staged by Nasser himself), which revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood was merely a "guild" that fulfilled the goals of western interests: "Nor was that all. Sound beatings of the Moslem Brotherhood organizers who had been arrested revealed that the organization had been thoroughly penetrated, at the top, by the British, American, French and Soviet intelligence services, any one of which could either make active use of it or blow it up, whichever best suited its purposes. Important lesson: fanaticism is no insurance against corruption; indeed, the two are highly compatible."
- Former U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross, who told Asharq Alawsat newspaper that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global, not a local organization, governed by a Shura (Consultative) Council, which rejects cessation of violence in Israel, and supports violence to achieve its political objectives elsewhere too.
- The Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz has stated that the Muslim Brotherhood organization was the cause of most problems in the Arab world. 'The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia,' he said. Prince Naif accused the foremost Islamist group in the Arab world of harming the interests of Muslims. 'All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood. We have given too much support to this group..." "The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world,' he said. 'Whenever they got into difficulty or found their freedom restricted in their own countries, Brotherhood activists found refuge in the Kingdom which protected their lives... But they later turned against the Kingdom...' The Muslim Brotherhood has links to groups across the Arab world, including Jordan's main parliamentary opposition, the 'Islamic Action Front,' and the 'Palestinian resistance movement, 'Hamas." The Interior Minister's outburst against the Brotherhood came amid mounting criticism in the United States of Saudi Arabia's longstanding support for Islamist groups around the world..."
Status of non-Muslims
- In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt's Coptic Christians and Orthodox Jews should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, "we do not mind having Christian members in the People's Assembly... [T]he top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country... This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy." According to The Guardian newspaper, the proposal caused an "uproar" among Egypt's six million Coptic Christians and "the movement later backtracked."
Response to criticisms
According to authors writing in the Council on Foreign Relations magazine Foreign Affairs: "At various times in its history, the group has used or supported violence and has been repeatedly banned in Egypt for attempting to overthrow Cairo's secular government. Since the 1970s, however, the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics." Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, calls it "conservative and non-violent"; The Brotherhood has condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks.
The Brotherhood itself denounces the "catchy and effective terms and phrases" like "fundamentalist" and "political Islam" which it claims are used by "Western Media" to pigeonhole the group, and points to its "15 Principles" for an Egyptian National Charter, including "freedom of personal conviction... opinion... forming political parties... public gatherings... free and fair elections..."
Similarly, some analysts maintain that whatever the source of modern Jihadi terrorism and the actions and words of some rogue members, the Brotherhood now has little in common with radical Islamists and modern jihadists who often condemn the Brotherhood as too moderate. They also deny the existence of any centralized and secretive global Muslim Brotherhood leadership. Some claim that the origins of modern Muslim terrorism are found in Wahhabi ideology, not that of the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to anthropologist Scott Atran, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood even in Egypt has been overstated by Western commentators. He estimates that it can count on only 100,000 militants (out of some 600,000 dues paying members) in a population of more than 80 million, and that such support as it does have among Egyptians—an often cited figure is 20 percent to 30 percent—is less a matter of true attachment than an accident of circumstance: secular opposition groups that might have countered it were suppressed for many decades, but in driving the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a more youthful constellation of secular movements has emerged to threaten the Muslim Brotherhood's dominance of the political opposition. This has not yet been the case, however, as evidenced by the Brotherhood's strong showing in national elections. Poll also indicate that majority of Egyptian and other Arab nation endorse law base on "Sharia". 
On 29 June 2011, as the Brotherhood's political power became more apparent and solidified following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the United States announced that it would reopen formal diplomatic channels with the group, with whom it had suspended communication as a result of suspected terrorist activity. The next day, the Brotherhood's leadership announced that they welcomed the diplomatic overture.
- The Muslim Brotherhood in flux 21 November 2010 aljazeera
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- 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 ....
- The Future of Political Islam, Graham E. Fuller, Palgrave MacMillan, (2003), p. 138.
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- MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute posted this at their website,  introducing it with the following: "On November 29, 'Ain-Al-Yaqeen, a weekly news magazine published online by the Saudi royal family, released an English translation of an interview with Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Nayef Ibn Abd Al-Aziz; the interview originally appeared in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Siyasa. The following are excerpts from the translation as it appeared in the Saudi weekly."
- article printed in Al Ahram Weekly July 5–9, 1997, quoted in Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience by Caryle Murphy, pp. 241, 330.
- Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, by Caryle Murphy, Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 241, 330.
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- Media related to Muslim Brotherhood at Wikimedia Commons
- Ikhwan Web official site
- "Revolution in Cairo: Interview with Shadi Hamid". Frontline (PBS). Feb., 2011.
- "Egyptian democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood" European Union Institute for Security Studies