The Muslim Brotherhood’s American Defenders

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Dalia Mogahed, Muslim affairs adviser

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

On Wednesday, John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, made a quick trip to Israel to discuss Hezbollah’s massacre of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria last week.

Hopefully it was an instructive meeting for the senior US official, although his Israeli interlocutors were undoubtedly dumbstruck by how difficult it was to communicate with him. Unlike previous US counterterror officials, Brennan does not share Israel’s understanding of Middle Eastern terrorism.

Brennan’s outlook on this subject was revealed in a speech he gave two years ago in Washington. In that talk, Brennan spoke dreamily about Hezbollah. As he put it, “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization.”

He claimed it had evolved from a “purely terrorist organization” to a militia and then into an organization with members in Lebanon’s parliament and serving in Lebanon’s cabinet.

Brennan continued, “There are certainly elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern for us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.”

Perhaps in a bid to build up those “moderate elements,” in the same address, Brennan referred to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem as “al Quds,” the name preferred by Hezbollah and its Iranian overlords.

Brennan’s amazing characterization of Hezbollah’s hostile takeover of the Lebanese government as proof that the terrorist group was moderating was of a piece with the Obama administration’s view of Islamic jihadists generally.

If there are “moderate elements,” in Hezbollah, from the perspective of the Obama administration, Hezbollah’s Sunni jihadist counterpart – the Muslim Brotherhood – is downright friendly.

On February 10, 2011, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made this position clear in testimony before the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Clapper’s testimony was given the day before then Egyptian president and longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign from office. Mubarak’s coerced resignation owed largely to the Obama administration’s decision to end US support for his regime and openly demand his immediate abdication of power. As Israel warned, Mubarak’s ouster paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendance to power in Egypt.

In his testimony Clapper said, “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, betterment of the political order in Egypt, etc.”

Watching Clapper’s testimony in Israel, the sense across the political spectrum, shared by experts and casual observers alike was that the US had taken leave of its senses.

The slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood is “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.”

How could such a high-level US official claim that such an organization is “largely secular”?

Every day Muslim Brotherhood leaders call for the violent annihilation of Israel. And those calls are often combined with calls for jihad against the US. For instance, in a sermon from October 2010, Muslim Brotherhood head Mohammed Badie called for jihad against the US.

As he put it “Resistance [i.e. terrorism] is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny, and all we need is for the Arab and Muslim peoples to stand behind it and support it.”

Badie then promised his congregants that the death of America was nigh. In his words, “A nation that does not champion moral and human values cannot lead humanity, and its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had His say, as happened with [powerful] nations in the past. The US is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.”

The obliviousness of Brennan and Clapper to the essential nature of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are symptoms of the overarching ignorance informing the Obama administration’s approach to Middle Eastern realities.

Take, for instance, the Obama administration’s policy confusion over Syria. This week The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration lacks any real knowledge of the nature of the opposition forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian regime. Whereas one senior official told the paper, “We’re identifying the key leaders, and there are a lot of them. We are in touch with them and we stay in touch,” another official said that is not the case.

As the latter official put it, “The folks that have been identified have been identified through Turkey and Jordan. It is not because of who we know. It’s all through liaison.”

The fact that the US government is flying blind as Syria spins out of control is rendered all the more egregious when you recognize that this was not inevitable. America’s ignorance is self-inflicted.

In the 16 months that have passed since the Syrian civil war broke out, the administration passed up several opportunities to develop its own ties to the opposition and even to shape its agenda. Two examples suffice to make this clear.

First, in October 2011, according to the Beirut-based Arabic news portal al Nashra, Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, blocked a delegation of Middle Eastern Christians led by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai from meeting with Obama and members of his national security team at the White House. According to al Nashra, Mogahed canceled the meeting at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood in her native Egypt.

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  • Carbondioxide

    You well describe way too much coordination going on for anything other than what another of your other writers describe as an alliance between the left and Islam. Even that falls short. I believe the explanations of that alliance and still find them inexplicable. Unfortunately you also report evidence of a broader, bipartisan alliance between the Republican and Democratic leadership and Islam. Going further back, we heard George declare Islam "a religion of peace". What could possibly explain that? Will Romney's secretary of state will also be egged by any Christians not yet run out of Egypt?

  • JamesinUSA

    It's time that the United States reevaluate our nations relationship with the state of Israel.

    Join the American Third Position.

    • mah29001

      And why is Burma under attack? Why is Thailand under attack? Why is the Philippines under attack from the same Islamic fanatics?

    • Wess

      Why James?…
      What's the problem with Israel.
      Put the Kool-Aid down, Jimmy.

    • @RiverRoads

      What is sad, JamesinUSA, is that you likely share many beliefs held by the Sikh killer, yet he, not you, will be deemed a terrorist, only b/c he hasn't hidden his anti-semitism in innocuous language like you.Israel will stand, James. Get over it.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obama's ignorance is pure complicity with Islamist jihad via the Muslim Brotherhood. How McCain
    and Rubio come out for the Islamist radicals is beyond belief but it smacks us right in the face. I
    have never trusted Rubio, this speaking out against Michelle Bachman is as atrocious as it can
    get by a man that enjoys so much adulation which in itself is cause for concern. I do not think
    John McCain has anything to say but "Allahu Akbar". I contend that in November the American
    voters must get rid of every entrenched professional politician for the healh and welfare of the
    Nation. Money buys politicians and the Muslim Brotherhood knows this, Ka-ching$$$ all day long
    in the District of Criminals. The greatest threat to the freedom and peace of America is it's sell
    out politicians, we all need a good cup ot tea………………………………………….William

  • patenglish1

    I am alarmed that McCain and Boener do not understand the Muslim Brotherhood. But even worse, I had my hopes on Rubio as the next Vice President. Senator Rubio, you need to get educated on the MB and radical Islam. I applaud Michelle Bachmann and her group for having the courage to stand up for the truth!

  • Mach1Duck

    Why does this come as a big surprise. Complicity, Ignorance? He (Obama) stated as much in his book.

  • Stephen_Brady

    “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.”

    We should help them achieve their highest hope …

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Nothing like a helping hand Stephen, nothin at all………………………William

  • Katharina

    When I was a Muslim child growing up in used-to-be liberal Islamic ruled but multicultural Malaysia, girls/women were allowed to be and feel free and wear modern, Western or sexy clothes – it was the Malaysia I have fond memories of. Rape/Crime was minimal despite of the ‘free’ women/girls. My father who was in the British-Malaysian army, used to drink alcohol, and my parents used to attend Western-based parties in the army camps. And we used to have great Western-style festivals in the army camp, including for children. During the early years in the 1980s, the Saudi (later on Qatar) -sponsored Muslim Brotherhood (MB) started targeting the oil/gas in Malaysia and started infiltrating Universities to brainwash young Muslim intellectuals, including the religious teachers studying in Al-Azhar Univ. in Cairo (where many MB intellectuals secretly operated there). These young Muslim intellectuals would later on become radical leaders including the University Malaya’s graduate, Anwar Ibrahim, but sometimes disguised in Western clothes and attitude at first, to achieve their goals. Anwar then would went on to become the Deputy Prime Minister and with his other Muslim Brothers also in the Malaysian Govt, made many radical changes that include strengthening the Sharia court/laws, which include the setting up of highly secretive Islamic Education/Rehabilitation camp, in order to punish deviant Muslims in all forms, including mild ones, such as wearing Western clothes or mixing freely between genders. Most prisoners were hauled like cattles, even in the middle of the night, anywhere, in trucks by religious police with no warrant needed, nor access to lawyers or family visits for minimum six months. The English language would be undermined by ultra-Islamic nationalism attitude and policies, including in schools. Moreover, Muslim girls/youth would be encouraged or forced to wear the Arabic-Saudi veils at schools and universities including in Western-based universities, where Muslim brotherhood is strong under the guise of Islamic students societies. Malaysian Muslims then especially the Malays who were open-minded, Westernized and modern went on to become backward, radical and highly sexist and pure racist (Muslims became a ‘race – thus racial hatred for non-Muslims), until today. Thus is why, the Muslim Brotherhood is so dangerous, similar to Nazism, especially for OIL/MINERAL-rich non-Arab Islamic-ruled countries/regions. Many were even discourage to speak English in order to recruit them to be ultra-Islamic nationalist. I went through such a period myself as a youth and within many years until not so long ago, it was the most difficult and confusing process to de-brainwash myself from such radicalization, especially when one’s family is involved. But the path became much easier ever since I became a Christian where I am encouraged to think as free-willed individual, who make my own choices and behighly self-responsible for my wrong actions, where such individual free-will and self-responsibility are discouraged in Islam.

    • Pacifist1

      Unlearning, or deprogramming can be difficult at first, but it gets easier; as a half Jew I grew up with a very hostile parent, that probably…. was very hostile toward me because of things in her unresolved anti-Semitic subconscious mind….and the other parent… whom was a secular Jew… probably hated me because my grandfather hated him, and wrote me in his Will…my grandfather was millionaire.

      Breaking free is obviously one of the first important steps.

      I mediate, pray, and recently what I found helpful, is to not even waste my breath even talking to, or about my mother… I find that to be very helpful.

      I can talk about my father's side of the family with no ill ease, because, my mother divorced when I was around two years old, so I never seen them much, and my grandfather only seen me as a baby before he died, so I never got a chance to meet him when I was older …and, I know lots of Jews so it's easy to talk about my Jewish half.

      I am Irish Catholic, on my other half of the family.

    • Kufar Dawg

      That was an inspirational story. I'm glad things worked out for you and I hope they continue to do so.

      I seem to remember Raja Petra, a member of the Malaysian royal family, was ruthlessly persecuted for
      his mild criticism of islamic dogma re: kufars/infidels (i.e. that they're not dirty and sub-human).

  • Sound&Fury

    Katharina, I can only hope that you live in the West where you will be free from persecution for your faith. God bless you.

  • weroinnm

    The Vetting: ‘Obama, Radical Islam and the Soros Connection’!
    “Food For Thought”
    Semper Fi!