While Qatar has become the Brotherhood’s sugar sheiks, the UAE has chosen to crack down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood. And while these days the odds of the legal system here being used to expose the Brotherhood are slim, the UAE trial is already beginning to expose and reaffirm much of what we knew about how the Muslim Brotherhood operates.
Investigators told the State Security Court in Abu Dhabi on Monday that they overheard the group during secret meetings planning to seize power as the Arab Spring began in 2011, according to reporters present at the trial.
The court heard details of the group’s finances, including stocks, property and commercial companies. The accused owned educational centres for children and adults and had attempted to infiltrate institutions of the state including schools, universities and ministries.
Each of the accused had invested money from Brotherhood membership fees and charity funds to set up commercial enterprises and real estate investments held in their own names to conceal their activities from the state, it was alleged.
This isn’t all that groundbreaking, but it does remind us of how the Brotherhood operates. It launders money through legitimate businesses and sets up Islamic institutions that don’t bear its name, but are run by its operatives. Its members go into business and build political influence that way with the Brotherhood acting like a mafia. Each achievement sets the stage for the next step, from religious organizations to economic organizations and onward into the government.
And finally the Brotherhood uses that infrastructure to take down the country and then take over. The Brotherhood operates covertly, but its strategies never truly change.