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When They Think the West Isn’t Listening, the Muslim Brotherhood Praises bin Laden



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I hadn’t seen Stanley’s post until I was just about done writing this, but it is along the same lines. A little background: A few months back, as revolt stirred in Egypt, Obama flaks were telling everyone not to worry about the “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood because the “moderate” Brothers really can’t stand al-Qaeda — you should hear the way they trash bin Laden. I countered that this was nonsense. The Brotherhood is terrorism-friendly (Hamas, after all, is a Brotherhood branch) but that it plays a sophisticated game to obscure this fact from gullible Westerners — a game that has very much included its treatment of Osama bin Laden. As I wrote at the time:

Occasionally, the Brotherhood condemns terrorist attacks, but not because it regards terrorist violence as wrong per se. Instead, attacks are criticized either as situationally condemnable (al-Qaeda’s 1998 embassy bombings, though directed at American interests, killed many Muslims and were not supported by an authoritative fatwa), or as counterproductive (the 9/11 attacks provoked a backlash that resulted in the invasion and occupation of Muslim countries, the killing of many Muslims, and severe setbacks to the cause of spreading Islam). Yet, on other occasions, particularly in the Arab press, the Ikhwan embraces violence — fueling Hamas and endorsing the murder of Americans in Iraq.

In addition, the Brotherhood even continues to lionize Osama bin Laden. In 2008, for example, “Supreme Guide” Muhammad Mahdi Akef lauded al-Qaeda’s emir, saying that bin Laden is not a terrorist at all but a “mujahid,” a term of honor for a jihad warrior. The Supreme Guide had “no doubt” about bin Laden’s “sincerity in resisting the occupation,” a point on which he proclaimed bin Laden “close to Allah on high.” Yes, Akef said, the Brotherhood opposed the killing of “civilians” — and note that, in Brotherhood ideology, one who assists “occupiers” or is deemed to oppose Islam is not a civilian. But Akef affirmed the Brotherhood’s support for al-Qaeda’s “activities against the occupiers.”

Well, the death of bin Laden has the Brothers at it again. At Pajamas, Sami al-Abasi reports that, in reacting to the al-Qaeda emir’s death, the Brothers put out starkly different statements in English and Arabic.

One of the Brotherhood’s leading members, Essam al-Erian, told Reuters that bin Laden was “one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world” — a carefully tailored statement that did not necessarily cast bin Laden as the culprit in this “violence” but would surely be taken by the Brotherhood’s Western apologists as if it had. With bin Laden’s death, Erian said, this “reason for violence” has been “removed,” and therefore that “it is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries.” Note that, as always, the Brotherhood’s bottom line just happens to be the same bottom line al-Qaeda desires — regardless of what the Brothers may have said about bin Laden in the course of getting down to it.

Now, behold the narrative that appears on the Brotherhood’s Arabic-language website (which Mr. al-Abasi includes at the end of his post). As al-Abasi observes, it not only says nothing disparaging about bin Laden; it actually refers to him as “Sheikh” Osama bin Laden, using an honorific intended to convey admiration. Moreover, the raid against bin Laden’s compound is condemned as an assassination, and the Brotherhood demands that America stay out of the internal affairs of Arab and Muslim countries, blaming the West for launching a media campaign to demonize Islam. Speaking specifically about Iraq and Afghanistan, the Brotherhood “confirms that the legitimate resistance against foreign occupation, for any country is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine law and international convention.” As al-Abasi correctly concludes:

By supporting violence against America’s troops in Muslim lands, the MB essentially defends the al-Qaeda campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The [Brotherhood] also instructs the United States to stop its intelligence operations in Muslim lands, the key source of information that led to bin Laden’s killing. It furthers support the “legitimate resistance” of Palestinian groups against Israel, and tells the U.S. to do the same. So while the MB claims to have renounced violence, it has honored bin Laden as a sheikh and called for terrorism against American forces in Muslim lands.



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