|“||Islam is the solution.||„|
|~ The motto of the Muslim Brotherhood.|
The Society of the Muslim Brothers, better known simply as the Muslim Brotherhood, is a radical Sunni Islamist terrorist organization founded in Egypt in 1928.
They have cells all across the Middle East as well as in portions of Africa, including Egypt, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, and Qatar, among others.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.
The movement officially rejects the use of violent means to secure its goals. However, offshoots of the group have been linked to attacks in the past, and critics blame the Brotherhood for sparking troubles elsewhere in the Middle East. Many consider it the forerunner of modern militant Islamism.
Initially, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, and social movement, it preached Islam in Egypt, taught the illiterate, and set up hospitals and business enterprises. It later advanced into the political arena, aiming to end British colonial control of Egypt. The movement self-stated aim is the establishment of a state ruled by Sharia law–its most famous slogan worldwide being: "Islam is the solution". Charity is a major propellant to its work.
The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt despite a succession of government crackdowns starting in 1948 up until today, with accusations of planning assassinations and plots. For many years remained a fringe group in politics of the Arab World until the 1967 Six-Day War, when Islamism managed to replace popular secular Arab nationalism after a resounding Arab defeat against Israel. The movement was also supported by Saudi Arabia, with which it shared mutual enemies like communism.
The Arab Spring brought it legalization and substantial political power at first, but as of 2013 it has suffered severe reversals. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was legalized in 2011 after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak and won several elections, including the 2012 presidential election when its candidate Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first president to gain power through an election, though one year later, following massive demonstrations and unrest, he was overthrown by the military and placed under house arrest. The group was then banned in Egypt and declared as a terrorist organization by new president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates followed suit, driven by the perception that the Brotherhood is a threat to their authoritarian rule.
The Brotherhood itself claims to be a peaceful, democratic organization, and that its leader "condemns violence and violent acts".
Today, the primary state backers of the Muslim Brotherhood are Qatar and Turkey (particularly Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party.) As of 2015, it is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Associations with other individuals and organizations
The Muslim Brotherhood has a multitude of connections to other Militant Islam organizations and individuals to adhere to Militant Islam or jihad:
- Hamas, the organization that currently administers the Gaza Strip, originated as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood during the First Intifada.
- Yasser Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
- The Taliban drew its inspiration for its own ideologies from the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Multiple high-ranking members of Al-Qaeda have been members of the Muslim Brotherhood at one point, including both co-founders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri (who even lead his own cell at one point, which eventually became the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization.) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the September 11 attacks attacks, was also formerly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and fought on their behalf during the Bosnian War.
- The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria allied itself with Saddam Hussein and Ba'athist Iraq in 1980 in an attempt to overthrow Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.
- The Muslim Brotherhood supported Omar al-Bashir in his takeover of Sudan in 1989. Also, the National Congress Party, founded by Bashir in 1998 and serving as the ruling party of Sudan until Bashir's removal from power in 2019, originated as the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and maintained close links with the Brotherhood until it was banned.
- The Muslim Brotherhood were formerly longtime allies of the House of Saud, but the two became estranged during the Gulf War, and enemies after the election of Mohamed Morsi. Inside the kingdom, before the crushing of the Egyptian MB, the Brotherhood was called a group whose "many quiet supporters" made it "one of the few potential threats" to the royal family's control.