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Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

This isn’t exactly news, but it’s good, nonetheless, to have the Government spell it out in black and white.  From Hansard:

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of potential links between the UK offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and (a) Hamas, (b) Islamic Jihad and (c) other organisations. [24575]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of reports which suggest that there are significant historic linkages between the Muslim Brotherhood, its overseas affiliates and Hamas. Historically the Brotherhood has presented Hamas as a legitimate resistance movement for the Palestinian people.  The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) are the Brotherhood’s representative in the UKMAB in the UK publically rejects violence and state that they work for wider Muslim integration into British society.

The Muslim Association of Britain rejects violence?  Oh, that Muslim Association of Britain.

H/T Dave Rich

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Pew have published some new research on Muslim opinions towards the Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah and, amongst other things, views on the role of Islam in public life.  The report makes for interesting, and worrying, reading as you can imagine:

Extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics. However, opinions of al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are consistently negative; only in Nigeria do Muslims offer views that are, on balance, positive toward al Qaeda and bin Laden.

It is Pew’s job to produce objective, non-partisan research, but this opening paragraph to their commentary understates what to me are some startling figures.  Firstly, we often hear about the public’s ‘mixed reaction’ to various policy initiatives, or even their ambivalence.  In some instances this might even be a controversial issue (such as lingering support for capital punishment).  In this instance, however, we’re talking about a large body of people who support genocidal terrorist organisations: according to Pew, some 38 million Nigerians express support for Hamas and al-Qa’idah, and some 35 million the Shi’ite Islamists of Hezbollah (this in spite of the fact that Nigerian Muslims are overwhelmingly Sunni).  In Egypt, some 36 million people look upon Hamas favourably, whilst 14.5 million Egyptians champion al-Qa’idah.  In avowedly secular Turkey, some 3 million, 3.8 million and 7 million Turks endorse the policies of al-Qa’idah, Hezbollah and Hamas respectively; this, in a country in the advanced stages of gaining accession to the European Union.  But perhaps the most disturbing data in the survey comes from Indonesia.  With a population approaching 250 million, Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world with some 209 million Indonesians professing faith in Islam (according to the last census) or 86% of the population.  Of this 209 million, according to Pew, 23% approve of al-Qa’idah (48 million); 39% Hamas (81.5 million); and 43% Hezbollah (90 million).

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Looking at the results of two previous surveys (see Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations and Muslim Views of Hamas Mixed) on Muslim attitudes to Islamism, we notice a general trend of growing support, with exceptions:

  • support for Hamas has doubled in Lebanon, nearly doubled in Indonesia and Turkey, and increased by over a third in Nigeria since 2007;
  • support for Islamism in Egypt has fallen, with declining support particularly marked for Hezbollah;
  • support for Hezbollah has increased significantly in Jordan and by 50% in Lebanon since 2009

The survey also finds that Muslims are overwhelmingly in favour of Islam’s role in their countries’ politics.  Furthermore, although the Turkish public are ambivalent towards the role Islam, of the 69% who say  religion plays a large role, 45% see it as good a thing.

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Regarding democracy, majorities in most of the Muslim publics surveyed say that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, though it is unclear from the survey exactly what form of democracy.  This view is especially widespread in Lebanon and in Turkey, the most Westernised countries in the Middle East with the exception of Israel.  In these two states at least three-quarters of Muslims (81% and 76%, respectively) express a preference for democratic governance.  Support for democracy is less common in Pakistan, but a plurality (42%) of Muslims in that country prefer democracy to other types of government; 15% of Pakistani Muslims say that, in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable, and 21% say that, for someone like them, the kind of government their country has does not matter.

To view or download the full report in .pdf, click here.

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In last week’s risâlah to the Brothers, Dr Muhammad Badi, the Supreme Guide, had this to say to those sceptical of the merits of armed ‘resistance’:

They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life. (وما أحوجهم أن يدركوا أن الإصلاح والتغيير الذي تنشده الأمة لا يمكن تحقيقه إلا بالجهاد والتضحية وصياغة جيل مجاهد يحرص على الموت كما يحرص الأعداء على الحياة.)

Source: IkhwanOnline; IkhwanPress

There can be no doubt about where the Muslim Brotherhood stands on terrorism in order to execute its long-term goals.  Its much-vaunted renunciation of violence is but one tactic in a long-term strategy to create the conditions necessary for Islamist hegemony in the Middle East and elsewhere.  One cannot be a member of this organisation and be considered a ‘moderate’.

H/T MEMRI 

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Supporters of Islamism often make the fatuous claim that Hamas is not a terrorist organisation citing Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas Political Bureau in Damascus’ assertion that:

To underline the preposterous nature of this argument, in the same interview with Der Spiegel, Mashaal claims that Hamas militants do not ‘kill’; rather, they ‘resist’ (“Hamas does not kill; instead, it resists an occupation. There is a difference between killing and resistance.”)
 
Hamas is a terrorist organisation; of that there can be no doubt.  The United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, and many other countries have designated Hamas as such.  Of course, some apologists will claim that some countries such as Australia and the UK, only proscribe Hamas’ so-called military wing, the Izz ad-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and not the rest of the organisation.  Whilst this is strictly true, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that members of the Hamas security apparatus and Hamas armaments find there way into the possession of al-Qassam Brigades operatives very easily.  This is to say nothing about the place of al-Qassam within the overall Hamas command structure, or its cooperation with and influence over the other individuals and entities within the Hamas organisation.    

In the same vein that Hamasniks claim that the al-Qassam Brigades do not necessarily reflect the ideology and beliefs of the organisation as a whole, apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood, wishing to ‘decontaminate’ the Islamist brand by disassociating it from terrorism and the espousal of violence, claim that Hamas is not part of the Global Brotherhood.

However, the facts prove otherwise: Hamas is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood network.  It was founded by Muslim Brothers (Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha), and it was Yasin’s Islamic Centre organisation (itself a Muslim Brotherhood-front – see p.16) that laid the foundations for the movement he eventually established in 1987, at the time of the first Palestinian Intifada, with the help of Brotherhood cash.  Furthermore, Yasin, revered as Hamas’ spiritual leader to this day, was  the leader of the Muslim brotherhood in the Gaza Strip.

Article 2 of the Hamas charter states that:

The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.

Article 8 provides the Hamas movement’s slogan:

Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.

This is the same motto as that of the Muslim Brotherhood (الله غايتنا والرسول قدوتنا، والقرآن دستورنا، والجهاد سبيلنا، والموت في سبيل الله أسمى أمانينا) [see Mitchell’s The Society of the Muslim Brothers – p.193-4].

According to Robert Satloff, Hamas was originally conceived ‘in order to provide a vehicle for the MB’s participation in the violent confrontation against Israel without exposing the Brotherhood and its wide network of social welfare and religious institutions to Israeli retaliation.’  This provided the Brothers with a convenient outlet for their hatred of Israel and a ready-made testing bed for their vision of an Islamic State.  Indeed, without this antipathy to the Israeli state, as Satloff puts it, Hamas would have no reason to exist and ‘would simply revert to being the Muslim Brotherhood [in Palestine]’.

The MB plays an important role in Hamas’ geopolitics, directing, not just providing support for, the Islamic Movement’s domestic and foreign policies:

Hamas has three circles of leadership. The first circle consists of local leaders inside the West Bank and Gaza. The most famous of these – Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi – were killed by Israel in recent years; their place has been filled by others, such as Mahmoud al-Zahar and Ismail Haniyeh. The second circle includes Hamas’s external leadership, a “political bureau” that includes Khaled Mashal and Mousa Abu Marzouk. The third circle consists of the international leadership of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, which includes respected Brotherhood figures such as Muhammad Akef, head of the Egyptian MB, and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatari-based Muslim scholar cum television star. These three circles each have different spheres of responsibility. Considerable evidence indicates that both the insiders and the outsiders play a central role in the determination of Hamas strategy on terrorist operations against Israel and the solicitation and disbursement of funds for that purpose. In other arenas, the inner circle is more responsive to the daily concerns of Palestinian life and builds up Hamas’s political standing in the territories through its fight against corruption and its support of social welfare activities; the outer circle maintains contact with Hamas’s international supporters and funders, including leadership of other terrorist organizations and Iran. As for the outermost circle of global MB leaders, they are likely to begin to exert greater authority over the strategic direction Hamas takes now that Hamas has registered such a historic achievement for the global Islamist cause.

During the period after the previous incumbent, Muhammad Magdy Akef, announced that he would be stepping down, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, Kamel el-Helbawy, told al-Quds al-Arabi that Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh should get the post to ‘support the Palestinian issue and Gaza’.

After the election of the new Supreme Guide of the MB, Dr Muhammad Badie, at the beginning of the year, Haniyeh pledged allegiance to him (bay’ah).  This is the Islamic custom when a new leader must secure the support or consensus (ijma’) of the Islamic community; elders in that community then give an oath of allegiance to the overall leader (traditionally the Caliph or Sultan).

The links between Hamas, therefore, and in particular the political bureau led by Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, and the Global Muslim Brotherhood extend to more than just ideology.  It would be disingenuous to portray Hamas as an entirely separate organisation, despite its relative autonomy on the ground in Gaza.  Both the Egyptian MB and Hamas form part of a global movement underpinned by Ikhwani ideology with support networks stretching to North America, Europe and South Asia.  What is not entirely certain is the degree to which the various local manifestations of the Brotherhood movement are directed by the mother organisation, and whether the Supreme Guide of the Egyptian MB, Muhammad Badie, is the leader of the Global Brotherhood as well. 

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Mohammed Sawalha (محمد صوالحة) a.k.a. Muhammad Sawalha is one of Britain’s most significant Islamists.  Along with Anas al-Tikriti, he’s been involved in the setting up of every Muslim Brotherhood front organisation (MAB, BMI etc.), and is a key cheerleader for Hamas.

Recently, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre published a profile of him together with a summary of his activities.  I thought I’d edit their version by adding some more apposite information.  The result is published below:

H/T GMBDR

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Incredible.  And Dawood Abdullah’s signature remains firmly in place on the Istanbul Declaration.  Didn’t take very long, did it?  Let’s remind ourselves of the MCB’s response to the government severing relations with it, once the then Communities’ Secretary, Hazel Blears, had discovered Abdullah’s support for terrorism:

The MCB is appalled by the high handed and condescending action of the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears.

In response to recent media reports (IoS, 22nd March) about the Gaza Declaration in Istanbul, the Muslim Council of Britain wishes to make clear that it no way supports the targeting or killing of British soldiers anywhere in the world. This is the agreed position of all MCB Office Bearers without exception including the MCB’s Central Working Committee.

As an independent community organisation, the MCB is committed to faithfully representing the views of all our affiliates. As such we reaffirm the right under international law of the Palestinian people to resist the ongoing illegal and brutal occupation of their land.

So that’s alright then.  No apology from the MCB; Daud Abdullah is still in his post, unrepentant; and the Jamaat-e Islami/Muslim Brotherhood pressure group who claim to ‘represent’ Britain’s Muslims are back on friendly terms with the government.  What a disgrace!

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The best aftermath/repercussions of the Jakarta bombings article that I’ve seen so far:

Contexts of terror in Indonesia

Sympathy for terrorism in Indonesia is far too sparse for Friday’s explosions to destabilize the country. But they occurred merely nine days after Yudhoyono’s landslide re-election as president on July 8, with three months still to go before the anticipated inauguration of his new administration on October 20. That timing ensured that some would speculate that the killers wanted to deprive the president of his second five-year term.

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