by Jackson Richman
The Egyptian cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi died last week at the age of 96. He was beloved by the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-Semitic terrorist group.
Founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism runs deep. It supported the Nazis and Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who was a close friend of Adolf Hitler. According to Dutch Middle Eastern Studies professor Kiki Santing, citing German historian and political scientist Matthias Küntzel, the Brotherhood “was at the forefront of the rising antisemitism in Egypt, fueled by German propaganda.” Germany gave the Brotherhood “significant funds” during the 1930s that went toward its military operations, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ian Johnson.
A crucial moment came in 1936 with the Arab Revolt where the Brotherhood “sent volunteers to Palestine, organized demonstrations and fundraising events, and spoke out against the Zionists and the British,” according to Santing. The Brotherhood caused Egypt to go from a place where there was almost no anti-Semitism to a country where there were calls for boycotts of Jewish businesses and the spreading of false rumors about the Jews, according to Küntzel.
After no longer being banned, the Brotherhood’s monthly magazine, Al Dawa, made a comeback and published between June 1976 and September 1981, when it was banned again. In the interim period, it published anti-Semitic content. According to Santing, “several lines of conspiratorial antisemitic discourse can be distinguished, starting with the notion that the Jews are agents of the West, most notably the US, and vice versa.”
Additionally, according to Santing:
Generally, Al Dawa seems to believe that the Jews, the US, and, at times, also the (Communist) East are plotting to oppose Islam and gain world dominance. Examples are aplenty. For example, one article argues that “peace the American–Jewish way” is forced upon the Arabs. Another article argues that “American policy has two faces: one towards the Arabs and one towards the Jews.”
Allegedly, US policy consists of promises to the Arabs and weapons and money for the Jews. Not just the US sides with the Jews; the same can be said for the Soviet Union (SU). In one article titled “O Muslim rulers, are you not afraid of God,” it is argued that both the US and the SU do whatever it takes to support the Jews in achieving their ambitions, not out of love for the Jews but out of hatred of Islam.
Fast-forward to October 2012 when Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammed Badie defamed Jews as having “increased their corruption throughout the world, shedding the blood of the people, trampling sanctuaries and holy places.”
The previous June, following the ouster of longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, led by the late Mohammed Morsi, who had a record of anti-Semitism. He called Zionists “bloodsuckers and warmongers, and descendants of apes and pigs.” Morsi labeled Zionists as “Draculas” or “vampires,” echoing the classic anti-Semitic libel of Jews using non-Jewish blood for their own use. He also said “They [Israelis] have to be driven out of our lands. Therefore, these negotiations must stop once and for all. Everybody must turn to the support of the resistance.” Morsi called for Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
Morsi also rejected the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We want a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine on the basis of Palestinian citizenship,” Morsi said. “All the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion, which the Arabs have been chasing for a long time now.”
Anti-Zionism, which Morsi expressed with the aforementioned statements, is anti-Semitism as it rejects the right of the Jewish people to have their homeland.
The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t just restricted to Egypt, however. It gave birth to the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas, which refuses to recognize the Jewish state. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood has influence in Turkey through Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan whose party, AKP, “has demonstrated strong support for the Brotherhood, particularly after” Morsi was ousted, according to the Counter Extremism Project, that has included, according to analysts, “suppl[ying] weapons and activists to the Muslim Brotherhood for its activities in Egypt.”
Moreover, “Erdoğan also permits the global Brotherhood to hold conferences in Turkey” as was the case in 2013 and 2015, according to the Counter Extremism Project. Erdoğan has also allowed for pro-Brotherhood media, including al-Wata, al-Sharq and Rabia TV, to function in Turkey.
Finally, the Muslim Brotherhood has a presence in the West. While “there is
no formal Muslim Brotherhood organization in any Western country,” wrote Lorenzo Vidino, an expert on radical Islam in Europe and North America, “it is fair to say that in virtually all Western countries operate organizations and networks with historical, financial, personal, organizational and ideological ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic revivalist movements worldwide.” An example of this is the “New Western Brotherhood” that, according to Vidino, “is essentially a fairly small, informal network of activists tied together by marriage, business ties, old friendships, and, most importantly, a shared vision.”
While the Muslim Brotherhood is thankfully out of power in Egypt, it unfortunately still has millions of followers worldwide and has a significant presence in Turkey, which is, unfortunately, a NATO member. The United States should once and for all officially designate this anti-Semitic movement as a a terrorist organization.