Brotherhood of Hate: Muslim Brotherhood's Hatred for Jews and Israel Flourishes in "New" Egypt
Posted: September 19, 2011
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan al Banna, the son of a pious Imam, in 1928. As a child, al Banna was heavily influenced by the religious teachings of his father and later became involved in politics as an adolescent during Egypt's colonial rule by the British. Al Banna became disenchanted with what he perceived as a weakened state of Muslims while he was studying at Dar al-Ulum College. It was at Dar al-Ulum when he began forging relationships with prominent Islamic scholars that would go on to shape his political and religious philosophy. In 1928, while working as a school teacher in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, al Banna founded the Society of Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood was also intended to be an alternative to the Wafd Party, a secular nationalist political party formed in 1919 as an opposition group uniting Egypt's Christian and Muslim population against the British occupation. The difference with the Brotherhood was that it offered an Islamic approach to the struggle against colonialism, and it would subscribe to violence in pursuit of establishing its vision for Egypt. A key figure in synthesizing the Brotherhood's philosophy and charter was Seyyed Qutb, an Islamist theorist whose radical anti-Western ideas would go on to influence the ideological foundation of groups like Al Qaeda. In fact, most of the Muslim Brotherhood's guiding principles and philosophy come from Qutb's 1964 book, Milestones, where he laid out a plan and made a call to action for the recreation of a Muslim world based solely on the Qur'an.
The Muslim Brotherhood's objectives and ideology are summed up in its adopted motto:
"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."
After a failed assassination attempt against Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nassar, the group was banned in 1954 and driven underground. New laws were passed during the Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak regimes that marked police harassment and severe punishment for anyone openly associated with the Brotherhood. Although driven underground, the Brotherhood continued to provide social services to many poor Egyptians, a traditionally rural and religious sector that readily identified with the Brotherhood's Islamist message. Politically, while virtually non-existent in Egypt's political arena, the Muslim Brotherhood began to emerge in politics after suffering deadly suppression by the Mubarak regime. After senior leaders formally renounced and abandoned the use of terror, the Brotherhood began fielding parliamentary candidates as Independents during elections.
The increased participation in political life did not result in the abandonment of the Brotherhood's hostility toward Israel, which remained unchanged under the Mubarak regime. For example, in an article that appeared on IkhwanWeb in October 2009, the Brotherhood's then chairman Mohamed Mahdy Akef stated, "Concerning the group's views and stance on the issues of internal reform or any other developments… Our stance on the issues of Copts, women, Zionist enemy and all other issues at stake is clear for all."
Akef reiterated this position in a post-revolution interview:
We believe that Zionism, the United States, and England are gangs that kill children and women and men and destroy houses and fields…Zionism is a gang, not a country. So we will resist them until they do not have a country.
Similarly, in a Friday sermon given at a fundraising event in September 2010, Mohammed Badie, the Brotherthood's eighth General Guide, urged followers to reject negotiations with Israel and called for an end to normalization:
It is your obligation to stop the absurd negotiations, whether direct or indirect, and to support all forms of resistance for the sake of liberating every occupied piece of land in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all [other] parts of our Muslim world. The sources of your authority, as all religious scholars have agreed, are the Koran and the Sunna, and not U.N. resolutions or the dictates of the Zionists or Americans. This can be achieved if you declare the Palestine cause and the causes of the [other] occupied Islamic nations your primary concern. You must stand behind your free peoples and their various institutions in their repeated calls for boycotts, an end to normalization, and support for the resistance and its representatives... You must revoke all the agreements of capitulation.... especially the Camp David Accords... which go against the Egyptian constitution and U.N. resolutions, and do not therefore obligate Egyptian senior officials.
In another September 2010 statement, Badie expressed the Brotherhood's support for terrorist groups fighting Israel.
Resistance is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny…The peoples know well who is [carrying out] resistance and who has sold out the [Palestinian] cause and bargained over it. We say to our brothers the mujahideen in Gaza: be patient, persist in [your jihad], and know that Allah is with you...
Badie, who took over leadership of the Brotherhood in January 2010, has stated that the organization will "continue to view the Jews and Zionists as their first and foremost enemies" and that "Jihad means making sacrifices in order to restore what has been stolen [Palestine]."
An example of this seen in an article by contributing writer Ismail Ali Muhammad, a Brotherhood member and professor at Al Azhar University:
An educational series ran for one week between October 20-25, 2010, titled "The Manners of the Jews as Outlined in the Teaching of the Old Testament and Talmud." This series, containing six parts, promotes rabid anti-Semitism and conspiracies under the guise of education. The first article in the series, "Authenticity of Perversion and Corruption in Jewish Personality," claims that is it in the inherent nature of the Jews to "never give up trying to spread corruption on Earth… [they are] unable to live peacefully and have good relations with anyone that encounters them… it is a personality that has always been a source of evil and harm to all societies." Furthermore, the article mentions the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a forgery suggesting Jewish plans for world domination, as an example of "the bodies of work they [the Old Testament and Talmud] have produced…" The fourth article of the series, "Hostility, Savagery and the Desire to Spread Death and Destruction," demonizes Jews by claiming that "In the veins of the Jews, in their blood, there is an ugly, horrible savagery that is entrenched deep in their being and conscious." The article further uses the classic blood libel accusing Jews of engaging in ritual murders as part of their holiday preparations, "Jewish rabbis consider it permissible to kill or slaughter people to drain them of their blood and use it to make Matzo to be eaten for the Passover holiday."
The movement's ideology has produced sister organizations in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Libya. The most notable of these is Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and an extremist Islamic terrorist organization that calls for the eradication of the Israeli state. Although Hamas's origins are from within the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's leadership refutes any organizational link between the two, maintaining that Hamas only shares an ideological bond with its Egyptian counterpart. However, there has been an increase in communication and cooperation between the leadership of the Brotherhood and Hamas. For example, Hamas announced in December 2011, that the Palestinian organization has joined the "global Muslim Brotherhood" movement and added "Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine" to its official name.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Jordanian arm, also known as the Islamic Action Front (IAF), is the Hashemite Kingdom's largest and best organized mainstream opposition group. Most notably, in recent years the IAF has repeatedly called for the Jordanian monarch to cancel the kingdom's peace treaty with Israel. In the wake of the Israeli embassy attack in Cairo on September 9, 2011, Murad al Adhaylah from the IAF's executive office urged the Jordanian government to "clean out the Zionist spy den" from Amman, adding that "It is a disgrace that the Israeli embassy remains in Amman under the continuing Zionist attacks on the sovereignty and interests of Jordan." Al Aghaylah concluded that "the compass of the revolutions is pointing toward the liberation of Palestine."
The Muslim Brotherhood's Syrian arm has largely suffered brutal suppression under the Baathist Assad regime. That has continued in the wake of widespread anti-regime protests sweeping Syria. Relatively small and unorganized in comparison to its counterparts in Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood nonetheless adheres to its core anti-Zionist and Islamists ideology. In light of the political turmoil facing Syria, the Syrian Brotherhood has taken a stand against the Assad regime and what its leadership claims is support from Israel, Europe and America for Damascus.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood also enjoys political support from the Egyptian arm, where the leadership has organized protests outside the Syrian Embassy in Cairo against the Assad regime's brutal crackdown and suppression efforts. During a Brotherhood-led protest against the Syrian crackdown on Hama in August 2011 supporters chanted "O coward Bashar, send your army to the Golan," calling on the Syrian leader to direct his army's deadly assault against Israel instead of his people.
With the fall of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, the long dormant Libyan Muslim Brotherhood held its first conference in Benghazi in early November 2011. The conference outlined the movement's political agenda, elected new leadership, expanded the number of members to the Shura Council and drafted its social and political platform. Although this was the 9th conference for the Libyan Brotherhood, it was the first conference to be held in Libya. Internal elections resulted in the selection of Bashir Al Kaity as the movement's General Observer, a title that denotes recognition of the authority of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Similar to the Egyptian branch of the movement, the Libyan Brotherhood announced that it will participate in Libya's new political process by establishing an independent political party.