In a stunning acknowledgment of what everyone else has known for a long time, the government has declared that “aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security”.
That is the final paragraph of the long awaited Government Report into the Muslim Brotherhood, in fact only that part of the report which the government thinks you need to see. It has been issued along with David Cameron’s Statement.
The report also informs us that:
The MB was set up to bring about the Islamisation of Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under sharia law.
From its foundation the MB organised itself into a secretive ‘cell’ structure…This clandestine, centralised and hierarchical structure persists to this day.
The key MB ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, promoted the doctrine of takfirism (declaring other Muslims to be infidel or apostate, and existing states unIslamic) and the use of extreme violence in the pursuit of the perfect Islamic society…Jihad was neither solely spiritual nor defensive.
Qutb’s views remain central to the MB’s formational curriculum and have inspired many terrorist organisations, including the assassins of Sadat, Al Qaida and its offshoots.
The MB have preferred non violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency but they are prepared to countenance violence, including terrorism, where gradualism is ineffective.
In the 1990s the MB set up national organisations in the UK to promote their views. None were openly identified with the MB and membership of the MB remained (and still remains) a secret.
MB groups have set up a complex network of charities, some of which have been linked to Hamas (which refers to itself as the Palestinian chapter of the MB} and whose military wing has been proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation.
The two most prominent MB offshoots in Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain, have consistently opposed programmes by successive Governments to prevent terrorism.
All this will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the activities of the MB and their various fronts. What is surprising is that HMG should be so frank, and diverge so markedly from the Obama administration under which the MB, in the guise of CAIR and ISNA, have ready access to the White House. The Obama administration regards the MB as “moderate Islamists” and has responded to the report with the comment that “political repression of non-violent Islamist groups has historically contributed to the radicalization of the minority of their members who would consider violence.”
Why has the government published the report? Some commentators have suggested that the primary reason (and also for the long delay in its publication) lies in the Great Game of Middle Eastern politics with Britain currently aligning itself with Saudi Arabia and the UAE which regard the MB as enemies, and with which Britain has extensive trade links.
On the domestic front, it can be seen as another incremental move towards recognising the danger which various Islamist groups represent, bringing the foremost of them within the reach of the government’s new Counter Extremism Strategy.
As to the content of the report, there is nothing in it that the authors could not have learned from any number of counter jihad authors. Nevertheless, for those who already regard the MB as the very definition of a fifth column the report represents a welcome and important step in the right direction.
At the heart of the report is the MB’s very dubious commitment to democracy. Personally I find the report decidedly understanding on that issue, as though lamenting a tiger’s difficulties in learning to eat with a knife and fork:
“…the Egyptian MB did not do enough to demonstrate political moderation or a commitment to democratic values, had failed to convince Egyptians of their competence or good intentions, and had subsequently struggled to draw lessons for what its failure in Egypt meant for its future.”
Do you know the difference between a Muslim Brother and a Salafi? A Salafi will tell you that he does not believe in democracy. A Brother will tell you that he does, but he actually means shura, the limited consultative process allowed within Islamic law. In fact the MB also venerate the Salaf, the first three generations of Mohammed’s followers. They just think they can operate more effectively in the West without the Middle-Eastern dress and the beards. Their ultimate goal is to bring us all to the theocratic utopia of 7th century Medina just like the more commonly recognised Salafis, only by a different route.
The report quite rightly states that the MB’s aim is eventual political unification of Muslim societies in a Caliphate under sharia law. Only Muslim societies though? Is that what they told the Government in the Londonistan days of the 90’s? It would fit in with what we are told, that HMG allowed them to set up headquarters as long as they did not pursue their agenda within Britain.
In fact, statements by the MB’s founders clearly show that their ambitions always went beyond existing Muslim societies. Their aim was to bring the entire world under Islam, just as with any other self respecting Islamic supremacists:
Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the MB:
“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“.
Sayyid Qutb, MB ideologue:
“We understand the true character of Islam, and that it is a universal proclamation of freedom of man from servitude to other men, the establishment of the sovereignty of God and His Lordship throughout the world, … and the implementation of the rule of the Divine shari’ah in human affairs.”
And in case you thought the MB might have mellowed over the years here is an ‘Explanatory Memorandum’ of the North American Brotherhood, as late as 1991, stating that the goal of the Brotherhood movement is to engage in:
“…a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their [own] hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
For a definitive view on the Brotherhood’s core attitudes we really need look no further than their own mission statement:
“Allah is our objective; the Qur’an is our Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our highest wish”.
Do the experts at the Foreign Office not know all this? One would like to think that they do, and that their previous indulgence of the MB was just part of some Machiavellian strategy of pitting various groups against each other in order to further our geopolitical aims in the Middle East. But this report gives the distinct impression that HMG really have been naïve about the Brotherhood and are only now slowly and painfully waking up to the awful reality.
There are two other reasons to believe this might be the case. One is the clear ignorance of Islamic teachings and attitudes shown by Theresa May and the other is David Cameron’s unfortunate forays into theology.
Theresa May the Home Secretary once said “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say they were fearful of remaining here.”
In that case she can never have thought at all about the likely consequences of the presence in Britain of millions of people whose religion teaches hatred for Jews. Perhaps she does not know that the Koran refers to Jews as the descendants of apes and pigs. More particularly, perhaps she does not know about the genocidal Charter of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the MB, which incorporates a famous hadith looking forward to the slaughter of Jews by Muslims before the last day.
On the other hand David Cameron, in declaring who or what is or is not Islamic, has strayed into areas usually considered more appropriate for imams than Prime Ministers.
The report correctly points out that the doctrine of takfir is at the heart of Qutb’s thought and therefore MB ideology. It means declaring Muslims or organisations unIslamic and therefore apostate, after which murder or waging war are justified in the mind of the takfiri.
When David Cameron says that ISIS is “nothing to do with Islam” and “a sick perversion of Islam” not only is he is denying the obvious fact that ISIS is very Islamic indeed but unwittingly he has also come to sound very like a takfiri himself. Likewise when, after the Leytonstone attack, he endorsed a passerby’s comment to the throat cutter “You ain’t no Muslim bruv”.
Cameron is not actually a takfiri of course because he is not a Muslim but he has found declaring ISIS unIslamic useful as part of his justification for waging war on them. He could hardly say we are waging war on ISIS because they are so Islamic but the reality is that we have to recognise ISIS as our enemies precisely because they follow Mohammed’s supremacist agenda so faithfully. But so do the Muslim Brotherhood, just with less blood and more subversion – for the moment.