Archive for the ‘Sisi and Muslim Brotherhood’ category

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington

October 17, 2017

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington, Gatestone InstituteNonie Darwish, October 17, 2017

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

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The true threat to the US, the West, and even stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is political Islam as furthered by groups such the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al-Qaeda and their offshoots.

This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of collusion in order to silence any opposition — have now moved into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media would apparently like to regard as their new “enemies.” This the same media that defends sharia law and inaccurately insists that Muslim terrorists who shout “Allahu Akbar” have “nothing to do with Islam.”

Now that the note supposedly showing “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia has been outed by Foreign Policy as mainly an attempted Russian hit-job on William Browder, what is the true threat to the United States?

For months, the lawless FBI has snubbing subpoenas (is complying with subpoenas optional?), and avoiding transparency under Special Counsel Robert Mueller[1] and his equally lawless, crime-“challenged” “investigation.” The true threat to the United states — if not Mueller and the FBI itself — is not the president, his campaign or even the Russians. Moreover, it is not exactly a news-flash that many countries have been spying on one another for ages.

“Collusion with Russia” was just the newest dirty word in American politics created by anti-Trump political operatives and the media. It seems intended to confuse the public in order to tarnish Trump’s reputation and bring down his administration. It is an extremely old ruse.

Collusion,” or the “appearance of collusion,” has been a common fear tactic used by Arab media for centuries. Fear tactics are the only solution in cultures that refuse to deal with the truth in the open.

The major red line that no citizen of a totalitarian system can ever cross is engaging in behavior that might bring about an accusation of “collusion” — collaboration with enemies or perceived enemies. Arab citizens have learned to avoid any contacts, friendships, communication, shaking hands or even being in the same room with “undesirable” enemies of the state. Try asking any Arab diplomat on how he or she acts and feels in the presence of an Israeli official. For decades, when Israeli officials gave speeches in the United Nations, Arabs left the room.

In much of the Middle East, Christians, if they refrain from praising Islam and Muslims or blame them for their oppression, get the same treatment as Jews.

In Egypt, in the days of anti-Semitic tyranny when the mere appearance of any kind of friendship, or just being in the same room with a Jew, could mean death, Christians always had to keep their distance from the Jews: the price to pay was simply too high.

After a visit to the United Kingdom in my youth, after innocently telling a journalist college friend that I had met Jews in the UK and could not believe how nice they were, her response was: “You know what happens to those who collude with Jews? They come back to Egypt in a box.” Shortly after, when a few of us teenagers, speaking English combined with some French and Arabic — not uncommon among some Cairo residents — were stopped in a village on the way from Cairo to Alexandria, the villagers called us Jews and the police were called. It took a while to get out of that mess.

Reality, finally, has hit Egypt. Its enemies’ list had to change in the face of the constant challenge to the stability of moderate governments. The true threat to stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is not Israel; it is political Islam from groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and so on. This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

After Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Arab nations developed the courage to demand shutting down Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar. In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. In an atmosphere such as that, no moderate Muslim leader is able to bring his nation out from under the coercion of jihadist terror and sharia tyranny.

Every Arab leader knows that to bring modernity and serious reformation would be considered a violation of sharia. Islamists are not only feared because of their promotion of terror, but they are also considered the guardians of sharia. Islamic law dictates that every Muslim head of state must rule by sharia, wage jihad against non-Muslim nations and never allow himself or his citizens to collude with, or seek peace with, Islam’s enemies. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia is to be commended for finally issuing a decree that allows half the population of his country, women, to obtain the paperwork to drive — but they usually still need permission from a male guardian to leave the home alone.

As the last thing the Muslim public is ready for is the truth, convoluted games and accusations are the only way that many Arab leaders think they can preserve their legitimacy. The war between moderates, who want less sharia, and Islamists, who want full sharia, consists — regardless of “truth” — of winning over the average Arab citizen and leading him to believe that they represent the “real Islam”.

All sides thereby play the game of “collusion”. When Islamists accuse moderate leaders of collusion with the West, moderates respond by accusing Islamists of being the creation of the West. On many Arab media outlets, ISIS is the creation of the West (as was Al-Qaeda before it).

As a moderate Arab leader, it is therefore not easy to survive without the constant threat of an Islamist uprising. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan are considered moderate leaders, and many want them to stay that way, but the pressure from Islamists is immense. Recently Sisi said that he wants to promote a new form of fear, a “phobia against bringing down the State.” One can sympathize with his attempt to put into words the obstacles to governing in a majority Muslim nation. Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. What he seems to be telling Egyptians is that revolutions, coups d’état and assassinations are not the solution to every problem but rather, it is — or should be — the ballot box.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

Because the views of the critics of sharia and jihad resonate with average Arabs, radical Arab media outlets have no choice but to counter the enthusiasm for modernity and freedom of the public with false accusations: that critics of jihad and sharia are in fact colluding with terrorist groups. The Arab media evidently see such wildly false accusations against critics of jihad as the only way, in their minds, to save radical Islam.

Today, a segment of Egyptian society, especially the vulnerable and uneducated, have been lulled into believing the propaganda that moderates and critics of jihad and sharia are colluding not only with infidel enemies of Islam, but also with radical Muslim groups such as the unpopular Muslim Brotherhood.

A prominent Egyptian magazine, Rose El Youssef, in 2007, falsely portrayed Dr. Wafa Sultan and this author in their front-page as “alt-jihadists” — collaborators with the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, a close friend in Egypt sent a warning of rumors in the Egyptian media, after the assassination of a journalist by the Muslim Brotherhood, that the Muslim Brotherhood has apostate “collaborators” in the West such as me. This shameless and reckless propaganda is intended to confuse the Egyptian public about who their true enemies and friends really are.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of “collusion” in order to silence any opposition — are now moving into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media regard as their new “enemies” — the same media that defends sharia law, Islam and Islamic terrorism in the West.

Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of “Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values”

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[1] Like the false investigation that wrongly accused Scooter Libby of a leaking the name of then CIA agent Valerie Plame, that they knew all the while had been leaked by Richard Armitage.

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor

October 5, 2017

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, October 5, 2017

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

MB Groups Increasingly Open in Endorsing Anti-Sisi Violence

August 16, 2017

MB Groups Increasingly Open in Endorsing Anti-Sisi Violence, Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, August 16, 2017

 

A group of exiled Morsi-era Muslim Brotherhood politicians based in Istanbul has posted on Facebook a blueprint for overthrowing Egypt’s military regime. The Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) reposted several videos on July 31 that it had released on Facebook over the past month offering strategies for violently toppling the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Sisi rose to power in 2013, after the military ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.

Until now the ERC, which met with Obama administration officials and liberal think tanks in 2015, has largely been involved in lobbying against Sisi’s government. An Arabic hashtag saying, “Preparing for the Revolution#,” appeared on the ERC’s Facebook page. The attached videos contain PowerPoint-type presentations with recommendations for Muslim Brotherhood revolutionaries in Egypt.

A July 1 ERC video asks, “How do we prepare for the revolution?” Egypt’s military holds all of the tools of power, so the video calls for Brotherhood supporters to block military movement to hinder it from suppressing any revolt.

“What do we do with the Army?? Like the Turks did,” the video says. “Determine the sites of all military units and the roads they use, and the locations of gates to hinder and cripple their movement when they think they are going out to confront the revolution.

“Like the Turks did using huge vehicles and deflating their tires to block the roads. We can use heavy oil on the roads to prevent the passage of [armored personnel] carriers like they did in Venezuela.”

Another video recommends targeting regime military airfields, ground defense units, pilot barracks, spare part warehouses, radar sites, and air defense installations. It emphasizes getting soldiers who either secretly belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or are sympathetic to the group to collect intelligence on pilots and navigators to keep them away from their aircraft. It also suggests gaining intelligence on the types of aircraft used by the Egyptian military and getting information about their takeoff schedules.

“The airfields must cease operating in the time of the revolution,” a slide says. “Blockading the pilots and preventing them form reaching the airfields is half the victory in the battle.”

The ERC enjoys little influence or name recognition within Egypt, but its turn toward endorsing violence puts egg on the faces of the Obama administration officials and the liberal intellectuals who embraced them, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“Even the fronts created to talk to the West are now using the language of violence,” Tadros said. “The mask has fallen; there’s no need to pretend any longer.”

ERC members used talking points about democracy and the rule of law while speaking in English during their 2015 visit, Tadros said, but those points were noticeably absent when they spoke in Arabic.

Other exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders also have called for violence recently on social media.

Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ashraf Abdelghaffar called on Brotherhood members to return to the jihadist traditions of the movement’s founder, Hasan al-Banna. A “Mujahid Brother” – a Muslim Brotherhood member who wages violent jihad – held the highest place of honor in the movement, Abdelghaffar argued in an Aug. 5 Facebook post.

“The only weakness that shall humiliate us is the love of this world and hating death,” Abdelghaffar wrote. “Therefore we have prepared your souls for great action. Strive for death – and life will be given to you. Know that there is no escaping death, and it will happen only once, and if you carry it out for the sake of God, there will be profit in this world and reward in the Afterlife, and nothing will harm you except what Allah has decreed. Work for an honorable death, you will be thus granted full happiness. May God provide us and you, the honor of achieving the martyrdom.”

This thinking, he wrote, reflected Al-Banna’s instructions.

“Imam Al-Banna talks about elevating the word of Allah and liberating the homelands,” Abdelghaffar wrote. “The summit of Islam is Jihad in the Way of Allah.”

Muslim Brotherhood-linked terrorist groups, such as the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM), Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) and the Hassm Movement, have carried out attacks across Egypt since 2014 – sometimes in conjunction with ISIS Sinai Province. RPM and PRM were founded by Mohamed Kamal, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau who was killed last October in a gun battle with Egyptian police.

Kamal’s faction of the Muslim Brotherhood executive committee, also known as the “new guard,” decided to back away from the group’s prior public policy of endorsing peaceful resistance to the Sisi regime, George Washington University Muslim Brotherhood expert Mokhtar Awad noted in a July 26 Hudson Institute article.

The Brotherhood’s Shariah Committee published a book on a file sharing website in January 2015, The Jurisprudence of the Popular Resistance to the Coup, that offered a religious justification for a campaign of violence against the Sisi regime. The book acknowledged that the Muslim Brotherhood’s touted public support for non-violence was tactical rather than a matter of principle, Awad said, citing this passage:

“Peacefulness is not a fundamental of Islam or the group [Muslim Brotherhood], and special operations work does not mean total confrontation,” the book’s authors wrote. “‘May God grant us and you the honor of martyrdom’ … the Jihadi tendency settled as a doctrine in the foundation of Imam al-Banna’s methodology and the acculturation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Until it became a slogan they repeat day and night and on every occasion: ‘God is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of God is our greatest hope.”

The Jurisprudence of the Popular Resistance to the Coup appeared around the same time as the Brotherhood’s official Arabic website, Ikhwanonline, posted a communiqué calling for “a long, unrelenting jihad.”

Peacefulness isn’t a fundamental tenet of Islam or the Brotherhood and that things can change. Magdy Shalash, one of Kamal’s top Muslim Brotherhood deputies, told the Turkish-based pro-Brotherhood channel Mekameleen TV. The Brotherhood leadership’s espousal of a non-violent slogan after the military toppled President Morsi did not apply to self-defense, he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s old guard, headed by Acting Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat, still talks about peace, but the proliferation of violence and violent rhetoric shows it is losing control of the movement.

Muslim Brotherhood in Desperate Campaign in US

May 4, 2017

Muslim Brotherhood in Desperate Campaign in US, Clarion ProjectRan Meir, May 4, 2017

U.S. Capitol building (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Lectures, discussions and events are being held in prominent American universities, including Harvard and Georgetown, about the “constructive contribution” the Brotherhood has made to Egypt since the Arab Spring began.

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CLICK HERE to Tell Your Members of Congress to Designate the Brotherhood as a Terror Organization

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is mounting a desperate campaign in the U.S. to avoid being designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, according to The Seventh Day, one of Egypt’s largest news outlets.

The political winds have changed in Washington and the Brotherhood is running scared. U.S. President Donald Trump has made clear his support of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, announcing he stands with the Egyptian president in his fight against terror and extremist groups that are threatening one of American’s key allies in the Middle East.

After tens of millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest the abuse and power grabs of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi (a member of the Brotherhood’s political party) in the summer of 2013, El-Sisi and the military took control of Egypt. He was elected president in 2014.

El-Sisi’s recently successful meeting with Trump in Washington set a Brotherhood plan in motion to gain support of members of Congress and academia to block a move to designate the organization as terrorists.

See Clarion Project’s Fact Sheet about the Muslim Brotherhood and its links to terrorism.

Lectures, discussions and events are being held in prominent American universities, including Harvard and Georgetown, about the “constructive contribution” the Brotherhood has made to Egypt since the Arab Spring began.

For example, speaking under the title “The Nobility in Justice,” Mahmoud a-Sharkawi, a Brotherhood official in Washington, lectured about the “positive” role the Brotherhood has played in Egypt since January 25, 2011 (the date marking the beginning of the Arab Spring in Egypt) in a conference at St. John’s University in New York.

The group is also reaching out to members of Congress, trying to re-brand the way it is perceived in Washington after al-Sisi’s successful visit.

Testifying in Congress, Tarek a-Zimer, head of the Building and Development Party, the political party of the Egyptian Brotherhood, urged Americans to change their views about the organization. Other officials of the Brotherhood who attended the hearing used their presence to incite against el-Sisi and the current Egyptian government.

Writing in a blog, A-Zimer asked, “Have the Americans internalized the lesson and fully understood the danger of the current situation to their interests?”

Sources close to the Brotherhood say the purpose of the campaign being waged on American university campuses is to put pressure on Trump in light of the negative opinions about the Brotherhood that are now prevalent in Washington due to the change in administrations.

What they fear most is a decision by the administration to designate the Brotherhood as a terror organization.

Hisham a-Naggar, an Islamic scholar, agreed. He said the purpose of the Brotherhood campaign is to confront the new negative shift in American opinions toward the Brotherhood. These opinions include support for el-Sisi and allying with him against terror – positions that include a crackdown on Brotherhood activities.

Formerly, having the support of the West (and the American president) was the Brotherhood’s “ace in the hole” – the most important card the group could play in its multi-faceted moves to take over Arab countries and their current regimes. Now that support has been taken away, and the group is reeling.

Tarek al-Bashabishi, a former Brotherhhood official who now works against the organization, commented that ever since the Brotherhood lost power in June 2013, it’s been been inciting various Arab countries and international institutions against Egypt to weaken el-Sisi so the Brotherhood can return to power.

Al-Bashabishi added that after Trump was elected, a huge political shift occurred. The U.S. administration is now against the Brotherhood and in support of el-Sisi’s fight against them. Now, he says, the Brotherhood’s only option is to try to bribe Trump’s rivals in Congress so they can be used as mouthpieces for the Brotherhood.

He said the Brotherhood is engaged in a fight for its life, playing all its cards – including using financial support from Turkey and Qatar and the Brotherhood lobby in America – to avoid being designated as a terror organization.

Al-Bashabishi also noted the same phenomenon in the UK, where he said the Brotherhood is trying to bribe members of the House of Commons to support the anti-Egypt opinions of the Brotherhood.

Sisi, Trump, and the Politics of Designating the Muslim Brotherhood

April 6, 2017

Sisi, Trump, and the Politics of Designating the Muslim Brotherhood, National Review, Clifford Smith, April 6, 2017

President Trump welcomes Egyptian President El-Sisi to the White House, April 3, 2017. (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

Hopes that the Trump administration will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have hit rough waters, with anonymous officials citing concerns about diplomatic blowback and frayed relationships with Muslims at home and abroad. The leaks come on the eve of a historic visit to Washington by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a key Arab ally and devoted Muslim who is locked in a life-or-death struggle with the Brotherhood.

The irony is hard to miss, particularly given that Egypt and several other Arab countries have already designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Whatever the truth behind the leaks, they underscore that the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom — that the Brotherhood is “moderate” and so popular that designation would be seen as “a declaration of war against . . . Islam itself” — will not die as easily as many hoped.

This thinking is rooted in a failure to understand the difference between Islamists — a sizable but distinct minority of Muslims who adhere to a totalitarian religious ideology — and the moderate majority of Muslims, who are our friends and allies. President el-Sisi, who has publicly called out extremism to clerics in Egypt, understands this. After all, Egypt is not the only state in which the Brotherhood engaged in attempts to kill its way to power. It did the same in Syria in the early 1980s.

Despite the Brotherhood’s long history of bloodshed, claims that it is “moderate,” or opposes violence, are still prominent. While above-ground Brotherhood organizations use peaceful means when effective, they are “prepared to countenance violence . . . where gradualism is ineffective,” as a 2015 report by the British government noted with significant understatement.

Claims that designation will complicate U.S. relationships with certain Arab allies are overblown. While it is true that some allies, such as Jordan, have Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated parties represented in their parliaments, this is easy enough to finesse. Members of Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, have long served in Lebanon’s parliament, but American diplomats manage to avoid contact with them and still do business with the Lebanese.

Moreover, failure to designate the Brotherhood complicates some alliances. The Egyptian public has grown deeply suspicious of the U.S. government precisely because under Obama the U.S. came to be seen as overly sympathetic to the Brotherhood. When Senator Ted Cruz introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terror Designation Act, many Egyptians saw it as a sign the U.S. may be waking from its long slumber. A tweet introducing the bill was the subject of a segment by popular Egyptian talk-show host Amr Adib and was retweeted 17,000+ times.

Domestically, in the wake of Trump’s admittedly troubling comments suggesting a “Muslim ban” during his presidential campaign last year, some fear that designation will fuel anti-Muslim bigotry and pave the way for “a legal assault on the institutions of American Muslim life.” After all, several organizations claiming to represent U.S. Muslims, particularly the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), have deep Muslim Brotherhood ties.

But groups such as CAIR are hardly “institutions of American Muslim life” — they’re just pretending to be. A 2011 Gallup poll found support for CAIR among U.S. Muslims to be just under 12 percent. Britain’s inquiry into the Brotherhood found that its activists in the U.K. “appear to be unable to generate any grassroots support.”

Frankly, however, if public support for CAIR were higher, that would be all the more reason to be concerned. Notwithstanding its carefully crafted public image, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007–09 Holy Land Foundation terror-finance case, and was blacklisted by the FBI as a result. Unfortunately, the Obama administration failed to aggressively continue an FBI investigation into CAIR after it conspired to fund terrorist-designated organization Hamas, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, the United Arab Emirates has declared CAIR itself a terrorist organization.

Trump’s rhetorical excesses cannot be understood without recalling the Obama administration’s refusal to name the problem. Using euphemisms such as “violent extremism” and feigning puzzlement as to the motives of obvious jihadists made the administration’s rhetoric concerning terrorism a national joke. In both the U.S. and Europe, when elites insist that voters must believe them, rather than their own “lying eyes,” the voters turn sharply in the opposite direction. The cure for Trump’s rhetorical excesses is increased security, not denial.

Trump laid out a number of smart proposals on radical Islam during his campaign. His administration should now use President el-Sisi’s visit to move forward with these ideas. In particular, it should follow up designation of the Brotherhood with the formation of a congressionally authorized commission on radical Islam tasked with developing a strategy for winning the war against Islamic extremists and explaining the threat of Islamism to the American people. Both are badly needed. Wrongheaded conventional wisdom won’t keep Americans, or our Muslim allies, safe.