Egypt targets heart of the Muslim Brotherhood

The members have led a double life, and encouraging the young to boycott political parties.

By Christiane Waked

Published: Tue 18 Sep 2018, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Sep 2018, 10:31 PM

Ninety years ago, in 1928, a young teacher, Hassan Al Banna gathered a handful of followers on the banks of the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt to start a movement to fight against British colonisation. Eventually, though, the efforts concentrated on turning the movement into a global vision for Islam that aimed to thwart secular forces in Muslim countries and prevent citizens from integrating into Western countries.
Since its creation, the Muslim Brothers, or Muslim Brotherhood, has rejected secularism, promoted blasphemy laws, and embraced a universal vision to apply Sharia under the government of a supreme caliphate.
To gain the sympathy and acceptance of the common people, the Brotherhood initially took up the Palestinian cause while tackling other important issues later.
The members have led a double life, and encouraging the young to boycott political parties. They infiltrated student unions, banks, and became lawyers or engineers. They were driven by the core idea of becoming the first organised force in the Muslim world and advocated the Salafist ideology.
From the beginning, their actions were not consistent with what they preached. While they claimed to care only about the Palestinian cause and publicly condemned violence, the organisation was responsible for the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud Nokrashy Pasha on December 28, 1948.
From the East to the West, the group's list of crimes is long. The world will never forget the assassination of Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, on October 6, 1981, which was carried out by the Brothers.
The organisation has been able to spread its influence far and wide in the East and the West, and its double-speak and covert operations threaten many countries.
It was, therefore, not surprising then that an Egyptian judicial commission decided to freeze the assets of more than 1,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood last week. The Brotherhood is classified as a "terrorist" organisation by Cairo, and so are companies or associations belonging or associated with it.
The court, in its decision, included hundreds of various institutions that finance terrorism.
In total, 1,589 members of the Muslim Brotherhood or people related to the movement: 118 companies, 1,133 charity organisations, 104 schools, 69 hospitals and 33 websites and satellite channels were listed by the court in its verdict.
The court also wanted to stop the smuggling of funds from outside the country that aimed to damage the national economy and undermine the state's development plans.
The shadowy organisation is well entrenched in many countries, particularly in Europe where they are represented in each European country. They take advantage of the freedom of speech to advance their agenda.
Their  radical ideology operates on the borderline of legality and outside the public sphere. It thus escapes sociological investigation and has become almost an exclusive object of journalistic investigations that have been successful in exposing some of the imams indulging in covert preaching in some mosques.
Former French minister Manuel Valls was vocal about this organisation and had highlighted the dangerous, totalitarian and "Islamo-Fascist" nature of the Brotherhood's ideology.
In April 2014, British Prime Minister David Cameron launched an investigation into the links of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain with extremist and terrorist movements.
The version of Islam that the group professes and offers the world has not evolved with time, and must not be allowed to spread.
The Brotherhood simply wants to keep things constant; they don't realise that in life the only constant is change.
Christiane Waked is a Political and Risk Analyst based in Beirut

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