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The Ongoing Debate over the Muslim Brotherhood
Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke, the co-authors of the recent _Foreign Affairs_ piece called _The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood_ have posted this this response to my, and others, strong disagreement with their premise that U.S. policy should include a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, who, they contend, do not endorse _jihad_ and embrace democracy. This is, I think, one of the most important debates we can have at this time.

I think they are badly and dangerously off the mark, as I will describe below, but apologize for my initial, overly-personalized description of their work as shoddy and slipshod, and hope the ongoing debate we can stay away from personal attacks, and will do my part. I would also note that, in their response, Leiken and Brooke incorrectly state that my friend Yousef Ibrahim's _ credentials include a dismissal from the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Ibrahim had a one-year fellowship there, paid for by BP, and he returned to his post there after the fellowship ended.

Two other quick points. Leiken and Brooke critique my lack of sources on my blog. I would only point to my extensive published work on the international Muslim Brotherhood, which, on a blog, I did not have the time and could not reproduce.

I also never expressed "shock" at Zawahiri's attack on Hamas, nor "suprise" at splits brewing between the Brotherhood and the _jihadists_. I simply noted they were happening as important matters to be understood by policy makers. On matters of more substance, here is another good response to some of the issues raised by Leiken and Brooke in Front Page Magazine.

My biggest disagreement is the failure to factor in, mention or discuss the Muslim Brotherhood as a clandestine group well experienced in denial and deception tactics, honed for more than four decades. I have talked to some Brotherhood leaders and read their literature extensively.

They still proclaim, in their writings, the goal of establishing an Islamic Europe (and the United States), governed by _sharia_ law and taking as its sole source of authority the Koran. This in fact negates any ability to embrace democracy, unless, as the _Ikhwan_ do, they will embrace it until they win. Then, retreating from Allah's injunction to spread Islam would be impossible and the worst kind of heresy. This is what they share with the _jihadists_.

My work has been largely on the international Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1982 as the Tanzim al-Dawli. I do not claim expertise nor have I written on much else related to the Ikhwan. My site has all the links to the full publications for those who are interested.

Several points on the International structure,whose principals include Youssef Nada, Ghaleb Himmat, Idriss Nasreddin and Ahmed Huber. The first is that all four of these gentlemen have been designated terrorist financiers not only by the U.S. Treasury Department, but the United Nations as well as individual European countries.

This is not something that can be lightly dismissed, given the four men's role (along with al Qaradawi) in setting up a multi-billion dollar clandestine financial structure that was centered on Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank in Nassau, Bahamas.

These banks were used to fund Hamas, and other terrorist groups, including, according to public statements by the U.S. Treasury Department, al Qaeda, Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front and Armed Group, and Tunisia’s An-Nahda. Nada, according to public U.S. and European statements on investigations, continued to help bin Laden after 9/11.

It is worth noting that Nada describes himself as the "foreign minister" of the Muslim Brotherhood and had enough prestige in the Muslim world to be given, in 2002, five nights of back-to-back, hour-long interviews on al Jazeera. Not something just anyone gets invited to do. In those interviews he describes his extensive work for the Brotherhood around the world.

The big difference between some in the international Brotherhood and the _jihadists_ is more tactical than ideological. Both share the same fundamental goals, but differ on how to get there. But the difference is not on the use of _jihad_, but on whether attacks on the West that kill women and children are acceptable "defensive jihad" tactics are less accepted "offensive jihad" tactics.

There is also little debate over Qaradawi's endorsement of suicide bombings. See, for example, Hasan Ali Daba, “Sheykh Al-Qaradawi Discusses Terrorism, Dialogue Between Islam and West, U.S. Policy,” Doha al-Rayah, Oct. 26, 2002 (Translation by FBIS) where Al-Qaradawi states that those carrying out suicide attacks should be called martyrs because “calling them suicide bombers is wrong and misleading. These are heroic, martyrdom, fedayeen operations.”

Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, who monitored the international Brotherhood in Europe for more than three decades and dealt with them often, wrote when he retired last year that:

_The Brotherhood’s modern strategy was shaped by the repression it suffered, along lines it would never depart from: clandestinity, duplicity, exclusion, violence, pragmatism and opportunism._
_Taking refuge in clandestinity, the Brotherhood abandoned all more vulnerable forms of pyramidal or hierarchical organizational structures. Ideological direction emerges informally and consensually by a college of elders, while operational management is in the hands of the very decentralized secret organization tanzim as-Sirri…_
_Their actions follow no short-term, concrete tactical plan: the only requirement is that they form part of the long-term strategy of taking power by whatever means available._

To me, that is it in a nutshell.
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