Wednesday, February 16, 2011

COMMENT: Things I learned about the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) over the years

There's this scary creature in Egypt that has spread its testi ... woops ... tentacles across the world. It's a huge conspiracy that wants to transform each and every part of the planet into one huge bearded caliphate. Soon each nation will covered in a massive black burqa. At this time, no man will be allowed to lodge a develop application at their local council unless it makes provisions for a huge dome and at least 5 minarets surrounding each building.

Okay, now that I got that Murdochian bullshit out of my system, here are some things I've learned recently about Egypt's largest and most organised opposition movement:

[01] Here are some excerpts of what one Israeli neo-Con writes about the MB. I think he is surprisingly accurate in his assessment. Then again, I cannot read the original Arabic sources on the MB.

[02] One of the main ideologues of the MB during the 1950's was Syed Qutb. He was imprisoned by the military regime led by Neguib and then Nasser. Qutb was not a trained religious scholar but rather more of an intellectual. In prison he underwent severe forms of torture and was eventually executed. Qutb was one of numerous MB figures imprisoned by Nasser after the latter just dodged an assassination in Alexandria by an MB person. Nasser was a rather paranoid chap who assumed the entire MB was involved in some huge conspiracy to kill him. Believe it or not, Qutb did go to the United States, but found the experience extremely troubling.

[03] Qutb's books are widely available in the West and have been since the 1970's when the Saudis started spending petrodollars on spreading various forms of Islam they found friendly. The Saudis have always been big sponsors of MB.

[04] Among the most popular works of Qutb is his commentary of the Qur'an which has been translated as In the Shade of the Qur'an. Its English translation is widely available in bookshops across the Western world. Also widely available are other Qutb books such as Milestones which is also easily available on the internet.

[05] Qutb's works became especially popular during Ronald Reagan's Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. MB activists took an active role in that conflict, and their literature was widely available.

[06] It is commonly claimed that Qutb was the founder of, if not the inspiration for, al-Qaida and other like-minded violent terror outfits. In a sense this is true. Bin Ladin and his colleagues do refer to Qutb. However, many peaceful political Muslim movements also make reference to Qutb.

[07] It is also claimed that Qutb is a founder or ideologue of the Salafi sect. I'm not sure what denomination of Sunni Islam Qutb belonged to or whether he subscribed to some form of Salafi/Wahhabi thinking. But I do know that many Wahhabis have attacked him for being akin to a Marxist.

[08] The MB have been active in Egypt since the 1950's. They gained a large following and infiltrated the Egyptian army. They were known to be a conservative rightwing party and were supported by both the Saudis and the British due to their strong anti-Communist stance.

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