Saturday, October 17, 2020

Lee Harding: Muslim Brotherhood Needs Examination

In July, the government of France did what no western government had done before. Following eight months of investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Senate issued a 244-page report that named MB the top Islamist enemy. The report made 44 recommendations, including banning MB leaders from France and ending international agreements that trained and imported imams. It’s time for Canada to make its own examination.

Canadian security expert Tom Quiggin has wanted Canada to pay heed to the Muslim Brotherhood since at least 2014. Back then, he penned a 202-page report that demonstrated how MB worked subversively through front organizations to advance ideals inconsistent with western values and send money to terrorist organizations.

Quiggin drew attention to a 1991 MB memorandum presented by Mohamed Akram al-Adlouni that acknowledged the goal of a “global Islamic state,” and called for a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” for Muslims in North America. “The Ikhwan [Muslim brother] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miersable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

In addition, Yousef Al-Qaradawi of the MB penned a fatwa that read, “Islam will return to Europe as a victorious conqueror after having been expelled twice. This time it will not be conquest by the sword, but by preaching and spreading [Islamic] ideology . . . The spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world and includes both the East and West marks the beginning of the return of the Islamic Caliphate.”

Front groups have long been recognized as part of the MB strategy. In Canada, it used Muslim Student Association (MSA) groups as a recruitment base and provided the initial leadership of the Islamic Society of North America. The MSA established the North American Islamic Trust to buy, then control mosques and schools in North America. MB and Saudi money set up the International Institute for Islamic Thought to advance education. The Muslim Association of Canada gave the nod to MB when it stated in 2003, “we believe that the efforts of Al-Banna and subsequent generations of the Muslim Brotherhood remain the truest reflection of Islamic practice in the modern era.”

At least four Canadian MB-linked charities have had their status revoked. The World Islamic Call Society took its orders from Muammar al-Qadaffi and received all of its funding from him also. A Canada Revenue Agency audit found it hadn’t done a single charitable thing in three years.

The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy claimed to collect funds for the victims of earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones. In fact, it funnelled $14.6 million to HAMAS-linked organizations. Dr. Wael Haddara helped set up IRFAN and later was a senior political aide to Mohammed Morsi, MB member and president of Egypt from 2011-13. To boot, Canada listed IRFAN as a terrorist organization in 2014.

Quiggin suggested that when Canadian charities receive money from abroad they should be required to publish the amounts and sources of the funds. He also suggested that Canada should not allow foreign funds to arrive here if those countries abroad would not do the same. He also presented some specific questions that could guide a Canadian investigation, including, “Which of these organizations has access to government, and should this access be reviewed?”

This remains a good question. In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron’s investigation into MB proved so politically sensitive that it was never made public. A summary of main findings was finally issued in December of 2015, more than a year after the investigation wrapped up.

Security experts in Germany are so concerned with MB influence on Islamic organizations they have concluded MB is “more dangerous” to its democracy than ISIS or al-Qaeda. A German intelligence report concluded, “The efforts to establish a social and political system based on the Sharia is a violation of the free democratic system.” Germany’s Federal Court of Audit examined federal grants to Islamic Relief, only to realize tax dollars had gone to an MB organization.

Conservative MP Derek Sloan has called for the Muslim Brotherhood to be declared a terrorist organization, and U.S. President Donald Trump has mused about it. In some ways, this is groundbreaking, and in others, not. The United Arab Emirates named MB a terrorist organization in 2014, and they’re not alone in the Arab world.

MB was born in Egypt, and that country has had to crack down hard on the organization at certain times in their history. The most recent was in 2013 after President Mohamed Morsi, an MB member, was deposed in a coup. Egyptian political analyst Hany Ghoraba wrote a book about the Arab Spring that led to Morsi’s rise to power. In a recent column, Ghoraba wrote, “The moment a significant presence of the Muslim Brotherhood group is found within a country is the moment a fifth column is created within that country.”

It’s high time Canada found out if the MB has made a fifth column right here at home, and if so, what to do about it.

Lee Harding is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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