Beheaded Journalist Steven Sotloff’s Warning About the Muslim Brotherhood


Beheaded journalist Steve Sotloff had a somewhat interesting bio. Before heading to Libya and Syria, he was a visiting fellow at FDD, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

While much of his reporting from Syria trended toward advocacy, his coverage of Benghazi for Time was mainstream, he did have a worthwhile piece on the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Writing in 2011, Sotloff said that “One group that policymakers should be worried about is the Muslim Brotherhood. The movement has long taken an anti-Western line, supported attacks against Israel and even reached out to Iranian-backed groups.”

Today it is the most organized political movement in Egypt and is well placed to profit from the prevailing instability here as well as the proposed transition to democracy. The other opposition parties have no base and are completely disorganized, leaving the field open for the Brotherhood.

And this should worry Washington. The group has a long history of involvement in violent causes and many radical groups have sprung from its loins. Foremost among them is al Qaeda.

Both Osama Bin Ladin and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri were long-time members of the organization. The Egyptian Zawahiri knows many of the old guard in the party and participated in debates with them. The Brotherhood’s ideologue Sayyid Qutb laid the legal and spiritual foundations for the violent jihad that al Qaeda and others have waged against Arab regimes and their Western backers. Another member, Abdallah Azzam, was the architect of the jihad in Afghanistan.

Today the Brotherhood claims it has disavowed violence. But it still has links to Islamist groups that have attacked the West and its allies. Among them are the Palestinian group Hamas, which is bent on the destruction of Israel. Hamas was born as the Palestinian wing of the Brotherhood. Many Hamas leaders formed bonds with Egyptian members when they studied in the country’s universities. They were influenced by Qutb’s ideology and applied it to their fight against the Jewish state.

The Brotherhood has also reached out to the Iranian-funded Lebanese movement Hizballah. Its leader met with Hizballah officials seven years ago and supported their struggle against Israel. Such meetings may hint at deeper ties with Iran, which may be prepared to finance the Brotherhood’s political attempts to take power.

These bonds should alarm Washington. A Brotherhood controlling government coffers could be much more than a nuisance. It could offer financial support to movements such as Hamas and Hizballah which seek to destabilize the region. It can also be expected to fund religious institutions which espouse anti-Western ideology, creating a generation of Egyptians hostile to the West.

At the time when Sotloff was writing, the idea of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover was outside mainstream media consensus and its ties to terrorism were widely dismissed.

After Morsi’s overthrow, Sotloff’s later reporting in Egypt would be somewhat too friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood, but at the time he was one of the few voices in the mainstream media offering an important warning.

  • CowboyUp

    Obama assures us ISIS is JV, and nothing to worry about. His buddies say ISIS just needs a place at the table.

    • Pete

      The JV team is the person and aides that Soros helped place in the White house.

    • carpe diem 36

      who is JV?

      • CowboyUp

        Junior varsity

  • Texas Patriot

    Foley and Sotloff did not die in vain. They understood the risks and died doing what they wanted to do and in the process illustrated for the entire world, in the most graphic way imaginable, the truth about how Islam was practiced for hundreds of years by Muhammad and his followers. If anyone has ever deserved a Pulitzer, they do.

    • laura r

      not foley he was on the side of the beheaders.

      • Americana

        Foley was not “on the side of the beheaders.” Foley and Sotloff had remarkably similar viewpoints on many aspects of issues in the Middle East. Whether you know it or not, there are moderate Syrian rebels that aren’t interested in beheading anyone. Those fighters were the militia force that James Foley accompanied for a year before being seized by another Islamist militia that eventually traded him to ISIS as a goodwill gesture when that militia realized they were less powerful than ISIS and they chose to swore allegiance to ISIS.

    • sundance69

      Let’s not lose our heads over this…….

  • Ivan

    I think they died in vain. already, with this second beheading, obama has not addressed the nation. The message he has sent is that beheadings are now normal. This is the new obama normal. God bless the families of these journalists.

  • Ivan

    they both went to the Middle East with open minds. The basic western mindset is appeasement: the idea that if we just reach out to evil and try to understand its motives, we can transform it. But this misunderstands the nature of good and evil. the truth is that there is no compromise with evil.

  • truebearing

    Reporters are the eyes and ears for the media, never more than in a war zone. I wonder if the raw irony has dawned on the American media that two of the people tasked with reporting the facts to Americans are now dead, at least in part because the media has intentionally prevented Americans from hearing the full truth for decades.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I doubt they’re capable of it

    • Americana

      The media world-wide are under extreme financial pressure since most news media outlets of any kind, whether television or print or internet-based, are continuing to rely on a business model where advertising supports the entire “product.” Not only has this titanic business collapse shifted the emphasis on foreign reporting by large media outlets, it’s effectively shifted much of the international press corps into the status of being freelancers. Many foreign bureaus have closed or retrenched so much that they no longer venture outside the capital of the country they’re in. Freelancers don’t have large retinues of armed guards, often they’re out there solo w/just one or two armed guards and translators. They are officially discouraged from carrying weapons on their own person by the international journalists’ union although this mindset has been changing and, at this point, every journalist generally knows it’s his own decision whether to carry or not. However, even if a journalist chooses to carry a weapon, it’s not going to be an AK-47 or another brand of rifle. What a journalist would carry is a handgun and that wouldn’t be much use against an armed gang w/AK-47s.

      As to whether the media prevented the world and prevented Americans in particular from “hearing the full truth for decades,” I don’t believe that’s true. I’m certainly not in any doubt of what the issues are and have been. If anyone is in any doubt about any aspect of this situation, it’s because they don’t bother reading the news.

  • Mark

    Didn’t all these liberal Journalists vote for Obama? Well, you got what you voted for, a total clown so live with it and in some cases, you will die because of it. See in real life there are consequences for your actions!

  • Lou Hodges

    Now we know why he was offered an assignment in Iraq – he wrote for Time Magazine, that fascist rag

  • Dutch Renitent

    Debbie Schlussel writes about how Steven Sotloff supported terrorists:

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      Debbie Schlussel reports a very different viewpoint on Sotloff than the enemedia does.

  • laura r


  • truebearing

    The media is under financial pressure because it is rotten to the core with leftist corruption, so people will no longer pay to read it, or waste their time listening to it. That is the media’s own fault. If they weren’t so incredibly biased, more people would tune in or purchase their publications. If that happened, the advertisers would reappear. Fox doesn’t seem to be having too much trouble, but who in their right mind wants to watch the moronic crap on CNN or MSNBC? You have to be certifiably insane to watch either one, and the broadcast networks are pathetic as well.

    What you believe is true is demonstrably unrelated to what is true. The media has misled America for decades, either by lying about, misrepresenting, or omitting news stories. Twice in the last five years the media has been exposed for belonging to groups pushing the Left’s agenda. Remember the Daily Caller’s expose of “Journolist?”

    • Americana

      You know nothing about advertising and advertisers. Most advertisers DON’T CARE about the philosophy behind their advertising vehicles if the commercial vehicle platform gets the demographic groups they want in large numbers. It’s extremely rare for an advertiser to choose to ignore a premier advertising vehicle if it’s ideal for their company even if there is a philosophical conflict over some issues on which the media vehicle might have taken a stand.

      If your whole premise were true, NEW MEDIA properties like the Huffington Post and Politico would never have arisen. Besides which, NEWS SITES are supposed to be successful based on the ACCURACY of their REPORTING and ANALYSIS not the political angle taken by whatever amount of opinion pieces they publish. Once again, your analysis of the whole decline of journalism is waaaaayyyyyy off the mark.

      I’ll write a longer reply about the whole Journolist scandal tomorrow.

  • truebearing

    I’ll bet you were there to see it, personally.

  • DoD

    Question for the author, how do you know that he was a fellow for FDD? I am having an argument with someone over a Debbie Schlussel article where she is dragging the guys name through the dirt calling him Sonei Yisroel and Hamas/ISIS lover etc…. Sounds far fetched according to what you have written here.