Monday, October 26, 2009

Is the Muslim Brotherhood a religious or political movement?

Muslim Brotherhood a religious or political movement? Morris Sadek

26 October 2009 in Featured Blogumnist, Morris Sadek
It is a Sunni transnational movement. Soon after the biggest calamity happened in 1924, with the collapse of the “Khalifa,” and the declaration of war against all shapes of Islam in most of the Muslim countries, the Islamic “revival” entered into the movement phase in the Middle East by establishing “Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon” (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, 1928, by Hasan al-Banna, a 22-year-old elementary school teacher, as an Islamic revivalist movement following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent ban of the Caliphate system of government that had united Muslims for hundreds of years.
Al-Banna based his ideas upon Islam, not only as religious observance, but as a comprehensive way of life; on the tenets of Wahhabism, better known today as “Islamism,” and he supplemented the traditional Islamic education for the Society’s male students with jihadist training. Al-Banna also instructs that Muslims should “completely boycott non-Islamic courts and judicial systems. Also, dissociate yourself from organizations, newspapers, committees, schools and institutions that oppose your Islamic ideology.” Al-Banna also condones in this book the spreading of Islam through violence: “Always intend to go for Jihad and desire martyrdom. Prepare for it as much as you can.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is working to spread its concepts and gain more followers. They work on a number levels: school students, university students, inside mosques and at work. The tools they use are cassette tapes, booklets, camps for youth in schools and universities, and recently the Internet.
The Brotherhood grew as a popular movement over the past 20 years, encompassing not only religion and education, but also politics, through the Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon. It blamed the Egyptian government for being passive against “Zionists” and joined the Palestinian side in the war against Israel; and started performing terrorist acts inside of Egypt, which led to a ban on the movement by the Egyptian government. A Muslim Brother assassinated the Prime Minister of Egypt, Mahmoud Fahmi Nokrashi, on December 28, 1948. Al-Banna himself was killed by government agents in Cairo, in February, 1949.
The Egyptian government legalized the Brotherhood again in 1948, but only as a religious organization; it was banned again in 1954 because it insisted that Egypt be governed by Sharia (Islamic law).
1954: February: Due to differences about the appropriate governmental system, whether Sharia or secular law, the Brotherhood is banned again.
1970: With the death of Nasser, the new president, Anwar as-Sadat, promises the brothers that Sharia shall be implemented as the law of Egypt. All Brotherhood prisoners are released.
1997: Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt’s Coptic Christians should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims (in exchange for protection from the state, due to the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service, while it is compulsory for Muslims). He went on to say that while `we do not mind having Christians members in the People’s Assembly … the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims, since we are a Muslim country. This is necessary, Mashhur explained because when a Christian country attacks a Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy.
2005: The Muslim Brotherhood is prevented from running for Parliamentary elections as a political party. But their candidates, running as independents, manage to win 88 seats out of a total 454, making them by far the largest opposition group (other parties win 14 seats). This revived the debate within the Egyptian political elite about whether the Muslim Brotherhood should remain banned.
Western governments, including the government of the United States, are considering the MB and other “moderate Islamist” groups as potential partners in helping to advance democracy in their countries, and perhaps also in eradicating Islamist terrorism. Could the Egyptian MB fill that role? Could it follow the track of the Turkish Justice and Development Party?
After years of internal debate, the MB has more or less accepted the wisdom of setting itself up as a political party. To overcome the legal prohibition against religious parties, the MB leadership has accepted the idea that it should present the MB as a civil party with an Islamic source of authority. But unlike [Abdel Moneim] Aboul Foutoh’s vision of the MB party as a substitute for the present movement, [Supreme Guide Mahdy] Akef accepts its formation only as an addition to the movement. He insists that the MB should remain a general Islamic society and that the party should serve only as the movement’s political organ. He holds that a political party can never perform all the movement’s missionary, educational and social tasks. Only by maintaining its non-party structure can the MB continue the international aspect of its missionary work and its alliance with the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.
On March 27, 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood organized a street demonstration in Cairo to call for political reforms.
Dr. Ahmed Saad, who is a member of Al Waref Advisory Board, said if the Muslim Brotherhood or a fanatic Islamist group gains power, even through the democratic process, one could look to the model of the recent war in Gaza.
The sort of behavior of a fanatic Islamist regime, or any religion based system for that matter, is not and was not unexpected. This behavior is consistent with the behavior of those who think that they are the only ones who understand God’s instructions and have the exclusive authority to carryout God’s will on this earth. The actions of such people are only normal by the standards of those who convince themselves that anyone who does not agree with them is the enemy of Allah and should be punished by them as the rightful representatives of God on earth. What is also typical of religious fanatics is their mixing of the physical world we live in with the metaphysical unknown. They confuse the “absolute” of God’s domain with the “relative” of His creation. They enter in their planning, calculations and equations “forces” we have never seen and the influences of “beings” of which we cannot even imagine and rely on to realize their goals. The result of such behavior, actions and calculations would inevitably be a failure of mammoth dimensions.
Their vision of reality is totally distorted and their ability to deal with this life is essentially impaired.
Daniel Pipes said by Islamic government “I mean a government whose officers are Muslims who perform the obligatory duties of Islam, who do not make public their disobedience, and who enforce the rules and teachings of Islam.”
The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing “global networks.” The Muslim Brotherhood opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants return to the precepts of the Qur’an, and the rejection of Western influences. They also reject extreme Sufism. They organize events from prayer meetings to sports clubs for socializing.
The organization’s motto is as follows: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
However, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad, that is, holy war against the
Organization’s ideology, as it appears on its official website, regards “the prophet Muhammad as its leader and ruler, and jihad as its path.” Jihad has a global strategy beyond self-defense, it is the unceasing attack on every infidel, intended to widen the borders of the Islamic state until all mankind lives under the Islamic flag. An important aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is the sanctioning of Jihad, such as the 2004 fatwa issued by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi making it a religious obligation of Muslims to abduct and kill U.S. citizens in Iraq.
In conclusion, the Muslim brotherhood is a religious movement and its ideology is not the proper ideology for our time. It grows in the societies where poverty and ignorance are so high, so the members of this movement brainwash and spend money to change people’s ideas to support their strategy. Also, the Muslim brotherhood members carry very old ideas from during the first and second centuries and force these old ideas on the Egyptian society. In response to the Muslim brotherhood efforts to change Egyptian society to an Islamic society, the Egyptian government bans this organization and its activities and arrests some of its members, but never acts strongly against the leaders of the organization or the president of the organization and his Cabinet. In result of this weak strategy from the Egyptian government, the Muslim brotherhood has become so popular in different fields of Egyptian society and also the strongest opposition to the government.

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