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Qutbism and the Muslim Brotherhood
One of the interesting threads emerging on the debate over the Muslim Brotherhood is the comparative weight of the "reformist" wing of the _Ikhwan_ versus the "Qutbists" who follow Sayyid Qutb's teachings on the need to destroy the West and create a Muslim world, governed by _sharia_ law.

Qutub's works, particularly "Milestones," are widely cited by Osama bin Laden, Zawahiri, and the _jihadist_ camp as the theological justification and roadmap for their attacks.

One of Qutb's breakthroughs, theologically, was the justification of the concept of "offensive jihad," the proclamation of the right to wage jihad in conquest.

"Those who say islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the "home land of Islam" diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life and consider it less important than their homeland," Qutb wrote. "However, defense (of the Islamic community) is not the ultimate objective of the Islamic movement of jihad but it is a means of establishing the Divine authority within it so that it becomes the headquarters of the movement of Islam, which is then to be carried throughout the earth to the whole of mankind."

Qutb is also routinely praised by Brotherhood leaders, and his work, to the best of my searches, has never been denounced or publicly questioned by Brotherhood leaders in any forum.

One of the arguments consistently made by those defending dialogue with the Brotherhood, and advanced by some in the Brotherhood itself, is that there is an important counter work put out by Hasan al Hudaybi, called "Preachers not Judges." Leiken and Brooke, in their Foreign Affairs piece on the Brotherhood describe the work as "the historical and theological refutation of the jihadist arguments of Sayyid Qutb," and "an historical milestone, the beginning of the parting of the ways between the Muslim Brotherhood mainstream and the jihadists who began to leave the organization soon after."

Yet the relative weight of "Preachers," compared to "Milestones," is far less. "Milestones" has been in print continuously for some 50 years now, readily available on line and in bookstores. The same cannot be said for "Preachers."

Until the Brotherhood is willing to publicly break with the Qutbism that drives the violence against the West, I am hard pressed to see the moderation of the movement.

In the end, the Brotherhood cannot break with Qutb because the fundamental objectives he lays down are part of their fundamental beliefs: the establishment of Islam across the world.

As Martin Kramer so aptly writes:

"The most pressing question that has faced Islamists has been how to pursue rulership. The rule of thumb here is that Islamist movements usually follow what looks to their leaders like the path of least resistance.

"They are not committed to any one strategy in the pursuit of their ends, and any means are legitimate as long as they accord with Islamic law, the shari'a._

"This law is not pacifist. It sanctions violence for the legitimate purposes of defending Muslims and establishing the rule of Islam. This explains why Islamist movements have slipped so readily into violence whenever it has seemed like a shortcut to power. In such circumstances, the use of force is not deemed a deviation, but an obligation."

In other words, war by whatever means available. But it is war nonetheless.

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