an interesting history of one of the two who are expected

The Muslim Brotherhood, also called Muslim Brethren (Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-muslimun, literally Society of Muslim Brothers) is an Islamic organization with a political approach to Islam. It was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Ideology The Muslim Brotherhood opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants return to the precepts of the Qur’an, and rejection of Western influences. They also reject extreme Sufism. They organize events from prayer meetings to sport clubs for socializing. The organization’s motto is as follows: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” An important aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is the sanctioning of jihad such as the 2004 fatwa issued by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi making it a religious obligation of Muslims to abduct and kill U.S. citizens in Iraq. Methodology The Muslim Brotherhood is working to spread its concepts and gain more followers. They work on the levels of school students, university students, inside mosques and at work. The tools they use are cassette tapes, booklets, camps for youth in schools and universities, and recently the Internet. Structure The Brotherhood has branches in 70 countries. They claim to have taken part in most pro-Islamic conflicts, from the Arab-Israeli wars and the Algerian War of Independence to recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Currently, the Egyptian Brotherhood exists as a militant clandestine group, and has been connected to many underground political operations. In other countries, they have more prominent roles, including parliamentary seats. They have not supported movements like al-Jihad and al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya in Egypt and mujahedeen movements of Muslim communities in Europe and the United States. History The Muslim Brotherhood began as a social and religious organization in Egypt whose members regarded Islam as a way of life. Many Syrian supporters founded their own branches in Syria, one of which was the Aleppo branch, founded in 1935. The Aleppo branch eventually became the Syrian headquarters of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood expanded its political involvement as the Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun. The Brotherhood’s founder, al-Banna, was a devout admirer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. During the 1930s, the Brotherhood became more political in nature and an officially political group in 1939. Over the years, the organization developed an apparatus through which to provide military training to its followers and to engage in political terrorism against Egyptian Coptic Christians and government officials. In 1942, during World War II, Hassan al-Banna set up more Brotherhood branches in Transjordan and Palestine. The headquarters of the Syrian branch moved to Damascus in 1944. After World War II, Egyptian members took violent action against King Farouk’s government. When the organization was banned in Egypt, hundreds moved to Transjordan. Many also participated in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-1949. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood initially supported Gamal Abd an-Nasser’s secular government and cooperated with it, but resisted left-wing influences. A Muslim Brother assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi on December 28, 1948. The Brotherhood was banned, and al-Banna himself was killed by government agents in Cairo in February 1949. Muslim Brother Abdul Munim Abdul Rauf allegedly tried to kill Nasser on October 26, 1954. The Brotherhood was outlawed again and more than 4,000 of its members were imprisoned, including Sayyid Qutb, who later became the most influential intellectual of the group. He wrote influential books while in prison. More members moved to Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. The organization opposed the alliance Egypt had with the USSR at the time, and opposed the communist influence in Egypt, to the extent that it was reportedly supported by the CIA during the 1960s. Nasser legalized the Brotherhood again in 1964, and released all prisoners. After claiming more assassination attempts against him, he had leaders executed in 1966 and imprisoned most others again. Nasser’s successor in Egypt, Anwar Sadat, promised reforms, and that he would implement Shariah. However, Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel in 1979 angered the Brotherhood, which led to his assassination in 1981. In the 1950s, Jordanian members supported King Hussein of Jordan against political opposition and against Nasser’s attempts to overthrow him. When the King banned political parties in Jordan in 1957, the Brotherhood was exempted. The Syrian branch was the next to be banned when Syria joined Egypt in the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1958. The Brotherhood went underground. When Syria left the UAR 1961, the Brotherhood won 10 seats in the next elections. However, the Ba’th coup in 1963 forced them underground once more, alongside all the other political groups. The appointment of Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite Muslim, as the Syrian president in 1971 angered the Brotherhood even more because the majority of Muslims do not consider Alawites true Muslims at all. Assad initially tried to placate them, but made very little progress. Assad’s support of Maronites in the Lebanese Civil War made the Brotherhood re-declare its jihad. They began a campaign of strikes and terrorist actions. In 1979, they killed 83 Alawite cadets in the Aleppo artillery school. Assad’s attempts to calm them by changing officials and releasing political prisoners did not help. Eventually the army was used to restore order by force. An assassination attempt against Assad on June 25, 1980, was the last straw. Assad made the Syrian parliament declare Brotherhood membership a capital offense and sent the army against them. In the operation, which lasted until February of 1982, the Syrian army practically wiped out the Brotherhood, killing an unknown but large number of people in the Hama Massacre. The Syrian branch disappeared, and the survivors fled to join Islamic organizations in other countries. The Saudi Arabian branch convinced king Ibn Saud to let them start the Islamic University in Medina in 1961. After the Six-Day War in 1967, the movement as a whole split into moderates and radicals. The latter faction in Syria declared jihad against the Ba’th party leaders. King Hussein allowed the Jordanian branch to give military training to Brotherhood rebels in Jordan. In 1973, the Israeli government allowed local leader Ahmad Yassin to run social, religious and welfare institutions among Palestinian Muslims. In 1983, he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to prison. When he was released 1985, he became more popular then ever. When the first Intifada began in 1987, he became one of the founders of Hamas. In 1984, the Muslim Brotherhood was partially reaccepted in Egypt as a religious organization, but was placed under heavy scrutiny by security forces. It remains a source of friction. In 1989, the Jordanian Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front, won 23 out of 80 seats in Jordan’s parliament. King Hussein tried to limit their influence by changing the election laws, but in the 1993 elections, they became the largest group in the parliament. They strongly opposed the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1994. In the early days of the Soviet-Afghan war, the Muslim Brotherhood was seen as a constituent part of the Afghan anti-communist opposition. The resistance movement in Afghanistan formed in opposition to the leftist policies of King Zahir Shah. The movement had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Russian government alleges that the Muslim Brotherhood is a key force in the ongoing Chechen revolt. Russian officials accused the Muslim Brotherhood of planning the December 27, 2002 suicide car bombing of the headquarters of the Russian-backed government in Grozny, Chechnya. Though the Muslim Brotherhood is now viewed as a more moderate group than other Islamist organizations operation in the Middle East, such as al-Qaida, and has participated in free elections in countries where they were permitted to, messages delivered by the group’s Supreme Guides have made clear the Brotherhood remains committed to militancy. In September 2010, Muhammad Badi’ gave a sermon in which he said, “… the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life.” During the 2011 crisis in Egypt, the Brotherhood supported Mohamed ElBaradei to lead opposition forces against President Mubarak’s government. In the protesting crowds of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators in referred to people like ElBaradei as “hamir al-thawra,” donkeys of the revolution, suggesting they hoped to exploit ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution for their own agenda. ——————————————————————————– Source: Dore Gold, “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Crisis,” JCPA (February 2, 2011); Wikipedia

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