Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: ISIS and the Brotherhood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this file April 2011 photo, Mohamed Mursi (R) speaks, alongside other members of the Muslim Brotherhood group’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The US is fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and so is Iran. At the same time, Washington is holding nuclear talks with Tehran and imposing sanctions on its government with the aim of reaching an attractive settlement albeit amid strong opposition from the Republicans.

ISIS declares Iranians as infidels and has killed Syrians and Iraqis as well as aid workers and journalists from around the world. However, few people know that the group’s leader and the world’s most evil man is a disciple of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a recording recently posted on YouTube, the Brotherhood’s ideologue and cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi praises Baghdadi for being a well-known member of the group in his youth.

And in Iran, where the theory of the velayat-e faqih (the rule of a supreme Islamic jurist) is the Shi’ite version of the Brotherhood’s own concept of rule, the Iranian IRNA news agency recently quoted Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the country’s deputy foreign minister, as saying Tehran refuses to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist group.

When the UAE banned some Brotherhood members in the US, the Obama administration responded by reiterating Iran’s own assertions that it would not approve of labeling the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Before Baghdadi, Osama Bin Laden was the most evil man in the eyes of the US. Washington took pride in sending in a team of commandos in 2011 to kill him in his residence in Pakistan before dumping his corpse in the Arabian Sea. But Bin Laden was also once an obedient son of the Brotherhood and a faithful adherent of its ideology.

In a recording released by Al-Qaeda’s Al-Sahab Foundation in late January, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri said in the clearest possible terms that Bin Laden was indeed a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Before Zawahiri’s speech there were other signs pointing to Bin Laden’s early involvement with the Brotherhood. Renowned US investigative journalist Lawrence Wright said it took him five years of research and 600 interviews with people close to the Al-Qaeda leaders to compile his famous book The Looming Tower. In that book Wright sheds light on Bin Laden’s education at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and the impact left on him by Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, the hawkish Brotherhood member.

In a doctorate thesis on Saudi clerics, Moroccan researcher Mohamed Nabil Malin wrote: “[Al-Qaeda] in politics follows, whether consciously or unconsciously, the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly that adopted by Sayyid Qutub. Osama Bin Laden was reared among the Brotherhood.”

Britain recently took the right step by cracking down on the organization, which has used the country as a launching pad and a haven for its activities. Paris went even further than this when Prime Minister Manuel Valls said it was necessary to fight the Brotherhood head-on in France.

In short, all countries, excluding the US and Iran, each with varying degrees, are beginning to see the true face of the Muslim Brotherhood.