There has been a lot of debate lately in U.S. political circles as to whether the administration of President Donald J. Trump should go ahead with its plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a foreign terrorist organization.
Opponents to the proposal claim that by doing so, the United States would actually be encouraging more jihadist terrorist activity around the globe.
Their argument is that, decades ago, the MB officially renounced violence as a means to achieving their Islamic political objectives (although what a group says and what a group does are not always the same thing, and many modern-day MB proponents have since once again taken up the goblet of terror as a valid tool in achieving their objectives).
The opponents to the designation also note that the Brotherhood is too extensive and diverse to merit such a label, given that it also includes Islamic moderates who might be offended by their club being lobbed in with more extremist groups, such as the Islamic State (I.S.) and al-Qaida.
Moreover, they argue, two previous U.S. administrations, along with the British government, have opted to exclude the Brotherhood from the terrorist list (and we all know how status quo politics work).
Following that same logic, they maintain, by listing the MB as a terror organization, the U.S. government would essentially be deeming anyone associated with the Brotherhood — including charity organizations that might have direct or indirect ties to MB-sponsored groups around the globe — as complicit supporters of terrorism.
And, of course, there is that alt-liberal ultimate anti-Muslim trump card that contends that designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist group would be demoralizing for the overall Muslim population of the United States, the majority of whom are law-abiding citizens who would never knowingly support terrorism.
But the fact of the matter is that the Muslim Brotherhood is and always has been a terrorist organization.
Ever since it was first conceived in Egypt back in 1928, it has espoused its own brand of political Islam backed up through acts of violence.
Over the years, this transnational Sunni movement has imbedded itself in dozens of other Islamic countries, finding grassroots support among radicals and extremists.
And while the MB has occasionally shifted tactics and changed its rhetoric to accommodate current political trends and regional sentiments, it has never abandoned its original manifesto to exploit revolutionary violence to overthrow legitimate governments, particularly in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal, plain and simple, is to install a global Islamic caliphate, through whatever means necessary, and that objective has never deviated.
Even when the MB came briefly to power through an exploitative wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing political campaign in Egypt after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in the so-called Arab Spring of 2011, the organization’s duly-elected dictatorial autocrat Mohamed Morsi wasted no time in imposing sharia-like laws against Christians, women and even less-observant Sunnis.
All of that led to Morsi’s own fall from political grace through a second coup and the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2013.
Other countries — including Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia — concur with Cairo that the group’s main objective is to inflict harm on civilians through terrorist acts and have consequently labeled it as a terror organization.
To truly understand the horrific nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is important to review its nefarious roots.
Its founder, Hassan al-Banna, was an Adolf Hitler acolyte, who appealed to his followers to strive to model their hatred of Judaism on the Nazi prototype.
Flattered by Al-Banna’s admiration, Hitler helped finance the budding Brotherhood movement, which he considered a close political ally in the Middle East.
Thanks to the Nazi endorsement, by 1938, Muslim Brotherhood membership topped 200,000.
And al-Banna made no qualms about his own imperialist ambitions.
“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,” he wrote in a 1940 MB thesis.
He also encouraged his followers to become martyrs in the war against the infidel disbelievers.
“Degradation and dishonor are the results of the love of this world,” he said.
“Therefore, prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death … Death is an art, and the most exquisite of arts when practiced by the skillful artist.”
That MB mantra of jihadi terror, hatred of Jews and fascination with Hitler is still at the core of Brotherhood doctrine today.
And, should there still be any doubts about the organization’s key objectives; the Muslim Brotherhood’s official motto says it all: “The Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish.”
Throughout its history, the Muslim Brotherhood has been linked to violence, and it has sponsored terrorism time and time again.
It was Brotherhood militants who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, shortly after he had sought peace with Israel.
And perhaps the organization’s most notorious member, Sayyid Qutb, who was convicted in 1966 for plotting the assassination of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, has been credited with being the fundamental author of modern-day jihadist ideology, as expressed in his “Ma’alim fi’l-tareeq” (“Milestones”), where he incited his followers to destroy Western values and traditions in favor of strict Quranic sharia law. (“Ma’alim fi’l-tareeq” is a must-read textbook for all budding jihadists.)
Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood has been a breeding ground for numerous terror-based offshoots, including the Palestinian group Hamas, whose militias have carried out suicide attacks and mass killings of hundreds of civilians, including U.S. citizens, and which already is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was once a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and it was inside the organization that he first cut his terror baby teeth.
Both Osama bin Laden, and current al-Qaida head Ayman al-Zawahiri were Muslim Brotherhood members, as was Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In Nigeria, the group has openly endorsed and supported Boko Haram, which kidnapped hundreds of school girls in Chibok in 2014 and auctioned them off as child brides, displaced more than 2.3 million civilans from their homes, and was recently ranked the world’s deadliest terror group on the international watchdog Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index.
Leading cleric MB spiritual and intellectual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi has as recently as 2010 publicly endorsed the use of suicide bombs as a “legitimate means for obtaining political goals,” suggested that homosexuals be put to death, and praised Hitler for his skill in putting the Jews “in their place.”
Even moderate Muslim groups inside the United States believe the brotherhood is a terror organization.
“Since its inception, the Muslim Brotherhood has practiced killing crimes and terror attacks in the Arab World,” Sheikh Mohammed el-Hajj Hassan, founder of the American-Muslim Alliance, said during a recent Fox News interview.
“In Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and other countries, their clerics call for violence. President Trump must go ahead with his listing of the Brotherhood as a terror group.”
The debate over whether to categorize the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization should be a nonstarter.
The MB does and always has encouraged and sponsored unspeakable acts of terror, and no matter how it may try to sugarcoat its recent political rhetoric, or misrepresent itself as a humanitarian organization, its bloody history of violence has left irrefutable evidence of what this organization really is.
Thérèse Margolis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.