From Hobson's Choice
(Arabic, Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) International movement prominent in Southwest Asia & North Africa. Calls for a radical transformation of Islamic society so that it will be in accordance with the law of God. The Muslim Brotherhood is not regarded by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna (1906-49); began political action in 1939. This organization calls for a strict application of shari'a (Islamic law) and a rejection of anything not of the salaf (the ideal society governed by Muhammad the Prophet). To this end, they denounce all Western influences. The Muslim Brotherhood maintains that all existing Muslim societies are in a state of jahilayah (ignorance), to such a degree that they are not true Muslims.
The Muslim Brotherhood has branches in many countries; in Egypt, it has been banned since 1954 or so, despite having collaborated in the 1953 coup against King Faruk (the Brotherhood attempted to assassinate Gen. Nasser; in 1964 Nasser legalized the Brotherhood, which promptly attempted to assassinate him again. He banned it again. Anwar Sadat lifted the ban, but the Brotherhood attempted to assassinate him as well for the treaty with Israel; he banned it again, too).
In Sudan, the Brotherhood has been active since 1949 (the year its founder, Hassan al-Banna, was assassinated). At that time, Sudan was under Egyptian and British rule. The Brotherhood infiltrated the universities in Khartoum and seems to have become extremely powerful.
The ideology of Hassan al-Banna was vehemently opposed to democracy on the grounds that shari'a was not subject to discussion. Subsequently, Sayyid Qutb became an extremely important ideologue within the movement. It is commonplace to equate Qutb with the Muslim Brotherhood, although naturally movements evolve under very different dynamics than those of an individual. Qutb argued that the West in particular, and inauthentic Muslim societies to a somewhat lesser degree, had decayed into something so shockingly immoral that Muslims had no ethical obligations towards them, other than to destroy their states and replace them with authentically Muslim ones.
- ↑ As of this writing. See "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)" page, US State Department homepage.
- Federation of American Scientists: Muslim Brotherhood
- Mona El-Ghobashy, "The Metamorphosis of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers" , Cambridge University Press (2005)
- "Islamism in North Africa II: Egypt's Opportunity," International Crisis Group (2005)