This past week, Breitbart News interviewed a well-known Egyptian author and political analyst, Cynthia Farahat. Her book, The Secret Apparatus: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Industry of Death, comes out this week and reveals a fountain of knowledge about the Muslim Brotherhood. According to her, “The Industry of Death” is what the inside circle of the Brotherhood calls their operation. To quote Ms. Farahat, “Their end game is to murder every single non-Muslim on the planet and also kill all Muslims who are not members of a jihadist group and destroy Western civilization.” They “believe in their radical eschatology that they can bring about the end of times after they accomplish these goals.” While this may sound like "Spectre" out of the James Bond movies, the Muslim Brotherhood is real.
Common Knowledge About the Muslim Brotherhood
Much of what Ms. Farahat covers in her book is common knowledge, which is also corroborated in my upcoming release, Muslim Mechanics. So, let’s review what we know about the Muslim Brotherhood, and then we will return to the new facts that Ms. Farahat presents in her book.
In my text, I break down the different categories of Muslims and refer to them as players. From the diagram below, there are five players.
The Muslim Brotherhood falls into the category of Islamists. An Islamist is an Islamic political or social activist who wants Islamic law and Sharia to be the primary source of governance and cultural identity in a state. Mostly, these players are more liberal than traditional Muslims working for social and political reform in Muslim countries. Each Islamist group promotes Islam, and Islamic values differ widely from group to group, given their local circumstances. Many of these adherents belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or Brotherhood-inspired organizations willing to embrace new ideas such as technology to enhance the religion’s traditional values. The main difference between a mainstream Muslim and an Islamist is the degree of passivity. Mainstream Muslims are occupationally focused and become passive to the ever-present needs of Islam. Islamists are activists or active in their religion, helping organizations that meet the community’s needs.
Two forces have strained Islam: 1) the fundamental imams believe the mainstream believers are straying from Islam’s core principles; 2) the introduction of Western ideas and concepts in law, politics, civics, and government. First, Islamists feel the need to modernize the educational and religious practices and challenge the puritan strand of Islam that dominates the Middle East. The political reformer Islamist prioritizes such issues as popular participation, institution-building, constitutionalism, and elections. The general theme that most Islamists follow is as follows:
The rejection of terrorist activities in Muslim countries and the West, except for Israel.
The advocation of peaceful political participation.
Rejecting the use of takfir or ex-communication from the religion as a strategic lever.
Accepting plurality and tolerance with other nonreligious groups to achieve group goals.
Establishing an Islamic state governed by Sharia, using proselytization on the local level and legislation on the national level.
Using hierarchical organizations to project power and conduct face-to-face interactions nationally.
The manipulation of social networks such as mosques, charities, and organizational systems to generate public recognition and, ultimately, voter turnout.
While Islamists portray themselves as nonviolent, non-confrontational, and willing to work within the system, there should be no illusions about their ideological commitments. The crux of the debate between Jihadists and Islamists is not over the ends but how to realize the greater goal of Islamic governance worldwide.
A Few Points made by Ms. Farahat
The Muslim Brotherhood originated in 1928 in Egypt. Many of the founding members were Shia, so the organization works to achieve Sunni and Shia objectives.
As a result of WWI, Ataturk’s role in Turkey in 1924 was to remove the Ottoman caliphate from its ruling position and reinstate a secular government. After four years without a Muslim caliphate, the Brotherhood planned to make Egypt the next caliphate. The plan failed.
The Brotherhood will work with any alliances to achieve its goals. For example, communists and socialists were indispensable to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and afterward, they were all killed. In other instances, they aligned with Nazi Germany in WWII and covertly with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
The Brotherhood is a global organization that uses violence as one of their tactics. They can and do instigate terrorist events in one country and have their organizations in another country accuse the attackers of terrorism. This action implies the Brotherhood is nonviolent when in reality they are not.
The MB is banned in numerous Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. Those countries fear a coup, and rightly so, as the Brotherhood has resources and contacts that can pull the right strings if given a chance. Countries like the Russian Federation and Austria have designated the MB a terrorist organization.
In the U.S., the FBI, Justice Department, Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense, at the senior levels, do not consider the Brotherhood a problem. Where else can they find expertise to deal with ISIS and al Qaeda? The U.S. government does not have the means to vet Muslim experts properly. So, for now, the MB is aligned with the U.S. government. The good news is that this alignment has not gone unnoticed. Senators Cruz (R-TX) and Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep DeSantis (R-FL), before he was Governor, have called on the State Department to designate the group as a terrorist group. Of course, under Biden, nothing has happened.
One claim I disagree with is her assertion that the Brotherhood is “the command and control for Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS),” and others. I agree that there are lines of communication between the organizations. Still, fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State are Salafi driven, and they don’t buy into the progressive tactics used by the Brotherhood. The strategic goals are the same, but not the tactics.
In any case, Ms. Farahat’s book is an essential source of information about the Muslim Brotherhood, and I would recommend anyone interested in the War on Terror to buy it.
Credit to Wikipedia Commons for providing the emblem of the Muslim Brotherhood.