Obama’s Brotherhood Moment

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The Brotherhood was no gathering of marginalized kooks. It grew in Egypt from 150 branches in 1936 to as many as 1,500 by 1944. In 1939 al-Banna referred to “100,000 pious youths from the Muslim Brothers from all parts of Egypt,” and although Lia believes he was exaggerating at that point, by 1944 membership was estimated as between 100,000 and 500,000.[7] By 1937 it had expanded beyond Egypt, setting up “several branches in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Morocco, and one in each of Bahrain, Hadramawt, Hyderabad, Djibouti and,” Lia adds matter-of-factly, “Paris.”[8] These many thousands, dispersed around the world, heard al-Banna’s call to “prepare for jihad and be lovers of death.”[9]

The Brotherhood’s ability to attract Muslims in all these disparate societies indicates the power of its religious appeal. It wasn’t offering Muslims a new version of Islam, but a deeply traditional one. The call to restore the purity and vitality of Islam has always struck a chord among Muslims; and the Islam the Brotherhood preached was the traditional one of a total Islamic society, one that could not abide accommodation—let colonial subjugation—to the West. Al-Banna told his followers: “Islam is faith and worship, a country and a citizenship, a religion and a state. It is spirituality and hard work. It is a Qur’an and a sword.”[10]

Al-Banna is a revered figure in the Muslim world today, and by no means only among radicals. His grandson Tariq Ramadan, the well-known European Muslim moderate, praises his grandfather for his “light-giving faith, a deep spirituality, [and] personal discipline.”[11] And many of al-Banna’s writings are still in print and circulate widely.

The Brotherhood has never rejected or renounced al-Banna’s vision or program. And now it is closer to implementing it in its homeland than it ever has been before – no little thanks to Barack Obama.


[1] Brynjar Lia, The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, Ithaca Press, 1998. P. 28.

[2] Lia, p. 33.

[3] Lia, pp. 68-9, 75-6.

[4] Lia, p. 79.

[5] Lia, p. 80.

[6] Martin Kramer, “Fundamentalist Islam at Large: The Drive for Power,” Middle East Quarterly, June 1996.

[7] Lia, pp. 153-4.

[8] Lia, p. 155.

[9] Jonathan Raban, “Truly, madly,deeply devout,” The Guardian, March 2, 2002.

[10] Shaker El-sayed, “Hassan al-Banna: The leader and the Movement,” Muslim American Society, http://www.maschicago.org/library/misc_articles/hassan_banna.htm.

[11] Tariq Ramadan, “Foreword,” in Hassan al-Banna, Al-Ma’thurat, Awakening Publications, 2001. Reprinted at http://www.tariq-ramadan.org/document.asp?fichier=foreword&d=38.

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  • SHmuel HaLevi

    Turkey, Lebanon and almost certainly Egypt.
    Not a bad harvest for Soetoro on behalf of his islamic roots.
    Is anyone in the US awake or they are still looking for more “change”?

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Any reason for my ccmments being blackballed?

  • The Pulpit

    Most of us who read Front Page Mag know this about the MB. What we need to have from Robert and others a more nuanced analysis of what's going on today with Egypt and how the MB is involved in progressing shari'a. Inferences from its past are not enough. What's actually going on with the MB and this play for power now?

  • Chezwick_Mac

    Mubarak's statement about stepping down in September changes nothing. Mark my words, he'll resign within weeks if not days.

    And though it was unlikely that anything Obama did would alter outcomes, Robert is absolutely right, it is patently absurd that he give US government imprimatur to a movement antithetical to our values and interests.

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks


    The menacing, terror-tied, Brotherhood ally Mohamad ElBaradei said of Mubarak's defiant decision to finish out his presidential term and life in Egypt that it's totally unacceptable. And just as he threatened violence earlier in the day if Mubarak refused to resign and leave the country ElBaradei now says that the dictator is a man marked for death. He's a " lame duck president and dead man walking" says the angry Nobel Peace Prize winner as his dream of replacing Mubarak turns to dust.


  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks

    !Mubarak knows the danger he is facing. He knows the intensity of the anger rising against him; but he refuses to play the coward. He is a survivor who has escaped the fate of Anwar Sadat; in thirty years he's escaped seven attempts on his life and has contempt for Elbaradei's threats. He refuses to go the way of the Shah and flee Egypt for his life. "You want me to leave the land I love then come and kill me," he is saying to Elbaradei and the Brothers. And this could happen, but by other means……….

    Click my name to continue reading article

  • davarino

    Obama may be the world's president but he's not mine. When I say that I mean he does not intend to represent me, so how can I say he is my president. How can America say he is their president. He shills for the rest of the world. You cannot be our president because you do not represent yourself truthfully. You are a wolf in sheeps clothing and only seek to harm America. You lived abroad and identify with those who live in other countries more than we Americans. Good luck with your short lived quest "mr president". Enjoy it while you can cause your out in a couple of years.

    • Dennis X

      Four more years, four more years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • kate b

    To 'The Pulpit', because of your name, I will explain, this way.

    Firstly, al Banna is the nephew of Hajj Amin Al Husseini, who worked with Hitler to eradicate the Jews, and is thought to be the mastermind behind the death camps (the blueprints of which were found in a German property, of an unnamed person, why unnamed?) So there's totally bad blood behind this; but also a bad ideology.

    You may be familiar with Esau and Jacob, well, it's the same battle. So what does it mean in real terms? It means that there is going to be an Ayatollahization of Egypt, Copts will be even more in danger now, and if you are a Jew get out.

    The Sharia embraces all aspects of life, and despite sura 3:3 it doesn't confirm the scriptures before it as there is no mercy or love; zero tolerance means they don't have to think and terror rules e.g is there adultery, no, why because they're all dead. Isalm has nothing to do with Life.

    Despite the coming devastation to Egypt and the Egyptian people, there is hope, read Yeshayah 19, as G*d remembers Egypt's kindness to Joseph and Iran too will be remembered because of Cyrus' kindness and his allowing Israel to rebuild the temple.

    Hope this helps, Pulpit – it is a spiritual battle. Love, life and forgiveness against what Egypt has chosen: hate, death and hardheartedness from a religion which steals, kills and destroys.

  • Theo Prinse

    The German minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle said that Egypt has to move to more secularism – freedom of speech – and wants no fundamentalists.
    But it was A.Hitler who incited more hatred against jews into the muslims, sorry, the mohamedans, sorry, the abdullah's … via the grand-Mufti of Jerusalem back in the late thirties … than mohamedanism has ever known before …
    Than he lost the war, lots of SS fled with Odessa into the ministries of Nasser where the nazi's helped incite the '67 war against Israel. They lost that one too.
    So, today, the post WWII Germans like Gerhard Schröder, Joska Fischer, Otto Schilly, the French-German Bendith Cohn etc. and an ecologist party the Grüne, think they have morally overcome what there dad's did in WOII … but they didn't.
    The German green party is idealistically extremely against Nuclear Power – the answer against islam-oil – and these "Germans" invited the islamization into Europe with a European Union resolution islamization-for-oil.
    So the current generation Germans are trying to win the 2nd W.W with the Hitler incited islamization of Europe after all ! Euh, Egypt ?

  • USMCSniper

    What else would you expect out of Obama? Barack Hussein Obama was a practicing Muslim throughout his entire youth through high school, as an undergraduate at Occidental and Columbia where he studied under his selected Marxist professors, at Harvard law school, after graduating Harvard Law School and even after passing the bar, and only converted for political reasons to the Marxist based Black Liberation Christian crackpot sect under the anti American, openly racist, anti semitic Reverend Jerimiah Wright when in his 30's. He is a clandestine Muslim and a radical Marxist, a racist, and the worst President in the history of the United States.



  • Verna


  • P. A. Helvenston

    British Newspapers have reported that a violent activist from Egypt was supported by the US State Department, came to the US to study revolution and returned to foment it in Egypt and is involved in the revolution there now. This information was from leaked wikileaks papers. Obama met alone with leaders of the Muslim brotherhood in 2009 and God only knows what he promised them. The Mubarak administration says the Obama Administration has been in constant contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group outlawed in Egypt. How is that for betraying an ally? Now Obama has come out publicly and stated his goal to have the Muslim Brotherhood form a substantial role in a new Egyptian government. This entire affair demands a congressional investigation. This president needs to be impeached before the Islamists nuke the entire world. Let's get him out of office now. Impeachment Now.

  • Nobama

    +1 to impeachment our our President Fraud. There are already more than a dozen reasons to do so.

  • Connie

    This article is a very narrow and one-dimensional view of the events. The reason Obama did not publicly support the Iran protests is not because he is a supporter of the Islamic Republic, but because he correctly understood that such support would simply play into the ruling party's hand.

    One of the reasons there is so much antagonism towards the US in the Arab world is the support for dictators that kept people oppressed. The sooner that changes the sooner people will stop disliking the US.

    The author is a little full of himself. He keeps mentioning how he is a leading scholar of Islamic history and theology, but he neither studied them in any university nor teaches about them anywhere. His Wiki entry says he is "self-taught". Maybe that's why all the Muslim Brotherhood activities that he mentions in the article date from the 30's and 40's, to try to show how "scholarly" and cultured he is. Real scholars don't need to prove anything.

    • kid bertha

      Connie you are deceived and misinformed. Replacing Muburak with an MB influenced leader is no different than what happened in 1979 Iran. It is ALL about the expansion of the CALIPHATE. Islamic World Domination!!!

      El-B is a wolf in sheep's clothing and time will tell the truth.

  • http://www.gatwickmeetandgreetparking.info leesaphir

    I happen to think that Obama does great things!

    • kafir4life

      So you've been included in the liberal evaluation of his bowel movements, then? I've heard some great things about them. Is it true that they smell like fresh baked cinnamon buns?

  • Puzzled

    kafir4life: Comments like yours make discussions an impossibility. Can't you keep your tone at the same level of those before you? Don't you have arguments, or are you just as arrogant as the members of the present administration, who consider the common folk slow and unprepared to deal with complex issues? Are you so immature that your comments have to be laced with bodily functions which reflect your lack of respect for others as well as for yourself.

  • tanarg

    The look on the face of Obama has changed. It is now the look of a guilty man who knows that he has been found out.

  • http://westforwestwing2012.com westforwestwing

    Robert, very good point about the Muslim Brotherhood not presenting a radical new version of Islam, but rather, they're all about "returning" to the "pure" Islam of its early days.

    It occurred to me that all the various renewal movements in Christianity have proposed to do the same thing: return to the "original," "pure" Christianity. The difference, of course, is that the original, pure Christianity was a completely non-violent, non-coercive, love-centered thing. Whereas the original, pure Islam was violent and bloodthirsty and conquest-centered.