Backgrounder: Muslim American Society
Ties to Muslim Brotherhood
Posted: December 23, 2009
While leaders of the Muslim American Society (MAS) have stated that MAS was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization remains vague about their formal relationship. Also known as the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic extremist movement founded in Egypt that has spawned and inspired several terrorist groups, including Hamas.
In several instances, MAS leaders, including the former President of MAS, Esam Omeish have openly acknowledged the Brotherhood's ideological influence on their organization. In September 2004, Omeish submitted a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which he stated, "The moderate school of thought prevalent in the Muslim Brotherhood represents a significant trend in Islamic activism…and we in MAS accordingly have been influenced by that moderate Islamic school of thought [the Muslim Brotherhood] as it applies to our American identity…"
MAS's former Secretary General, Shaker El Sayed, said in an interview in 2004 with the Chicago Tribune that "Ikhwan members founded MAS, but MAS went way beyond that point of conception."
MAS's ties with the Muslim Brotherhood go beyond ideological inspiration. Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, a leading Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar, is the chairman (in absentia) of a Michigan-based MAS subsidiary, the Islamic American University (IAU), according to information on the MAS Website. He is also listed by IAU as a faculty member. Qaradawi, barred from entering the U.S., is known for his support for terrorism, and most notably in his edicts condoning suicide bombings. Qaradawi was also listed as a board member of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), the mosque currently managed by MAS.
MAS has released several statements mourning the deaths of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, including Mohammad Mamoun al-Hodaibi, the sixth General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2004, and Sheikh Mustafa Mashhour, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2002. In fact, MAS released a statement mourning the "grave loss" of Mashhour a year after he wrote, in an open letter to then-President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks, that Jews had deformed the image of Islam in the West, and that he hoped the President would "understand the reality of Islam and its enemies, particularly the Jews."
Several MAS chapters have included links on their websites to the works of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al Banna, and the group's leading intellectual, Syed Qutb. These and other writings endorsed by MAS advocate the concepts of jihad and martyrdom, total obedience to "the Islamic Movement," and support for a global multi-front war against non-Muslims.
For example, Al Banna's compilation of letters, available on the Web sites of MAS' Minnesota and Tampa chapters at least until 2004, describe jihad as: "an obligation from Allah on every Muslim [that] cannot be ignored nor evaded. Allah has ascribed great important to jihad and has made the reward of the martyrs and the fighters in His way a splendid one…Furthermore, Allah has specifically honored the mujahideen…"
Also available through the Web sites listed above was Sheikh Qaradawi's work, Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, in which he calls for violent jihad and hails Hamas as "the steadfast, brave, aware Islamic resistance movement." In the same book, Qaradawi wrote this of the Jews: "…Jewish capitalists who, despite the known Jewish miserliness and money worship, have given generously to the Jewish cause before and after the establishment of Israel."