Muslim Brotherhood Involved in Middle East Revolutions

by THE GLOBAL MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DAILY REPORT January 31, 2011
 
 
The BBC News Twitter feed is reporting “the main opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has backed Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate with authorities.”
 
Previous posts have discussed cooperation between El-Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and now opposition politician, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Baradei’s defense of the Muslim Brotherhood and his inclusion of the organization in a national opposition front which he inaugurated.
 
 
 
Al Jazeera is reporting that Egyptian authorities are revoking its license to broadcast and that it will close it bureau office in Cairo. According to the report:
 
The Egyptian authorities are revoking the Al Jazeera Network’s licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting down its bureau office in Cairo, state television has said.
 
“The information minister [Anas al-Fikki] ordered … suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement on the official Mena news agency said on Sunday.
 
In a statement, Al Jazeera said it strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The network received notification from the Egyptian authorities on Sunday morning.
 
“Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt,” the statement said.
 
An Al Jazeera spokesman said that the company would continue its strong coverage regardless.
 
“Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists,” the statement said.
 
“In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.
 
“Al Jazeera assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events unfolding in Egypt.
 
“Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparallelled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”
 
The Jerusalem Post has run an article which explores the role of the Muslim Brotherhood at Al Jazeera. According to the article:
 
The meteoric rise of the network and its increasing popularity have led many political and media commentators in the Arab world to wonder exactly who or what was behind what appears to be its main purpose: encouraging opposition and promoting incitement against Arab regimes, exposing the corruption of their leaders and their entourage, while holding to an extreme Arab nationalist attitude against the US and Israel and extolling the values of conservative – and sometimes extremist – Islam. It did not take long for one name to emerge: the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
This hypotheisis is supported by a number of facts.
 
The director-general of the network, Wadah Khanfar, was a member of the organization in Jordan, where he was arrested. Today he is one of the closest advisers of the emir. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is also a member of the inner circle of the emir and is known to work closely with Khanfar. Both support Hamas. Arab researchers have succeeded in uncovering a number of other Brothers working for the network, but it is surmised that there are many more. The general consensus is that Qaradawi is the visible tip of the iceberg
 
In an article published in 2003 in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat, Maamun Fendi, a well-known Egyptian liberal thinker today living in the US, wrote that some 50 percent of the network’s personnel belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that their influence in Qatar was rising both in the network and among government circles. According to him, the Brotherhood had intended to hold its world summit in Qatar in 2003 but had to scuttle its plan when it became known. These summits are usually held in a European capital far from Arab countries, in conditions of the utmost discretion, if not secrecy.
 
Fendi believes that Qatar, by embracing the Brotherhood, an extremist Islamic organization quite popular in the Arab world, while hosting American bases, has found the perfect formula against retaliation by Arab leaders and attacks by all other Arab and Islamic extremists including al-Qaida.
 
According to a report in a Mideast business publication, Wadah Khanfar was born and educated in Jordan where, consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background, he was educated as an engineer. The same report indicates that he also was a student activist, organizing a student union an activity also consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background. In a TV interview, Khanfar stated that started his career as a journalist as an analyst on African affairs, mainly on Al Jazeera, while living in South Africa where is was doing graduate study in international politics and African studies at the time. He also described himself in the interview as “a researcher and consultant in Middle Eastern economics and political affairs.”
 
In 1997, Khanfar became the Al Jazeera correspondent in South Africa. However, while living in South Africa, Khanfar was also was the Director of Human Resource Development for the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO), an organization closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood. A memo purporting to be a 1998 briefing document prepared for the South African President Thabo Mbeki has long been posted on the Internet and describes the IIFSO as working closely with Hamas:
 
According to information HAMAS members in South Africa does not recognise the MUSLIM YOUTH MOVEMENT (MYM) as the official organ representing the Muslim youth in South Africa. HAMAS is of the opinion that the MYM have lost their control of the youths representation. Based upon this situation HAMAS, with the help of the INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC FEDERATION OF STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS (IIFSO) are busy to establish institutions for the Muslim youth in South Africa to take over the role of the MYM. These youth centres are implemented in Pretoria and Cape Town.
 
The memo also identifies an individual called Wahdan Abu Ahmed KHUNFUR who it says was a Trustee of the Al Aqsa Foundation in South Africa as well as a Hamas contact. The Al Aqsa Foundation is one of the organizations comprising the Union of Good, the worldwide coalition of charities collecting money for Hamas and directed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The memo appears to be genuine, containing substantial detail and matching the time that Khanfar was known to be living in South Africa, but cannot be verified as genuine or that these are the same individuals. It should be noted, however, that a Jordanian newspaper reported recently that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave Qatari officials a file demonstrating Khanfar’s Hamas/Brotherhood connections.
 
In 2003, Khanfar became head of the Al Jazeera Baghdad bureau and shortly thereafter station General Manager. A recent report in Nation Magazine attributes the support by the Al Jazeera television station for Islamic movements to Khanfar’s influence. According to the report, Al Jazeera coverage changed when Khanfar took over in March 2003:
 
“How things are covered, the prominence of things, what words are used–sometimes you do see that very clear Islamist subtext, depending on the issue,” says Alberto Fernandez, the director for press and public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near East Affairs at the State Department. “We see the unconditional support of Islamic movements, no matter where they are: Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan,” says a Jordanian official who did not wish to be identified because of what he characterized as the deteriorating relations between his country and Qatar.
 
Dozens of hours of viewing Al Jazeera for this article confirm the charge. Whether it’s reporting the Hamas perspective from the occupied territories without mention of the Palestinian Authority’s version of events, or the fawning depiction elsewhere of Islamist parties and militias as the grassroots reflection of Arab sentiment, Al Jazeera has moved away from its ideologically diverse origins to a more populist/Islamist approach. After the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera replaced its longtime secular bureau chief in Baghdad, Faisal Yasiri, with Wadah Khanfar, who had reported from Afghanistan after the American invasion in 2001 and then Kurdish-controlled territory as the war with Iraq was launched in 2003.
 
Shortly thereafter, the secular head of Al Jazeera, Mohammed Jassem Ali, was ousted and replaced by Khanfar, whom nine current and former employees of the station interviewed for this article characterize as an Islamist. It was around this time that Jazeera’s Iraq bureau “became a platform for [Sunni] extremists,” says Shaker Hamid, a secular Jazeera correspondent in Baghdad from 1997 to 2000, who left to work at another Arab satellite station after getting what he says was a better offer. “I can’t say that Jazeera’s rhetoric is completely against Shiites,” Hamid says. “The Americans introduced this, but the media should not make it worse, and Jazeera did.”
 
The report goes on to say that the trend toward Islamism at the station is continuing:
 
Former employees of Jazeera interviewed for this article say the newsroom is becoming more religiously conservative. “Everyone is complaining about the new trend now–that the liberals, the secular types, the Arab nationalists are getting downsized and the Islamic position is dominating the newsroom,” says Hamid, the former Baghdad correspondent. Mirazi, the former Washington bureau chief, told Al Hayat: “From the first day of the Wadah Khanfar era, there was a dramatic change–especially because of him selecting assistants who are hard-line Islamists.”
 
GlobalMB @ January 30, 2011
 
 
 
Global media is reporting that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi has arrive in Tunis following 22 years of exile. According to an NPR report:
 
The leader of a Tunisian Islamist party that was long outlawed by authorities has returned to his homeland after two decades in exile. About 1,000 people crowded into the Tunis airport Sunday to welcome Rachid Ghanouchi, leader of the Ennahdha, or Renaissance, party. His return from London follows the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced from power by violent protests this month after 23 years in power. Ennahdha was branded an Islamic terrorist group by Ben Ali but is considered moderate by scholars. Ghanouchi has said he is not interested in running for president or other posts in upcoming elections, which are set to take place within six months. His party has moved quickly to carve out a place in the political scene, taking part in demonstrations and meeting with the prime minister.
 
An Egyptian news report has identified Rashid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood “abroad.” Ghannouchi is the leader in-exile of the Tunisian Islamist movement known as Nahada (aka Ennahda, Al Nahda) and can best be described as an independent Islamist power center who is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood by his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and his important position in the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), both organizations led by Global Muslim Brotherhood Youssef Qaradawi. Al-Ghannouchi is also one of the founding members of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi organization closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and dedicated to the propagation of “Wahabist” Islam throughout the world. Ghannouchi is known for his thinking on the issue of Islam and citizenship rights.
 
In 1994, scholar Martin Kramer reported on the extremist background of Al-Ghannouchi.
According to that report:
 
Assuming a valid distinction can be made between Islamists who are “extremist” and “reformist,” Ghannouchi clearly belongs to the first category. Since his last visit to the United States, he has openly threatened U.S. interests, supported Iraq against the United States and campaigned against the Arab-Israeli peace process. Indeed, Ghannouchi in exile has personified the rejection of U.S. policies, even as he dispatches missives to the State Department.
 
To see all GMBDR coverage of developments, go here.
 
For GMBDR coverage on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.
 
 
Global media is reporting that Mohamed El-Baradei has joined Egyptian protestors in Cairo’s Tahir Square. According to an Al Jazeera report:
 
Mohamed Elbaradei, a leading opposition figure, has joined thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in continued demonstrations demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency told the crowd on Sunday night that “what we have begun cannot go back” referring to days of anti-government protests.
 
Previous posts have discussed cooperation between El-Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and now opposition politician, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, El-Baradei’s defense of the Muslim Brotherhood and his inclusion of the organization in a national opposition front which he inaugurated
 
GlobalMB @ January 30, 2011
 
 
 
The Wall Street Journal is confirming an earlier BBC report that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has backed Mohamed El-Baradei as the lead spokesman for the country’s opposition groups. The Journal report also cited a Brotherhood spokesperson who ways “their religious goals need to be put on the back burner.” According to the report
 
CAIRO—The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s venerable and controversial Islamic organization, says it has backed Mohamed ElBaradei as the lead spokesman for the country’s opposition groups to negotiate further political reforms with the shaky Egyptian government. The development marks the latest step by the Brotherhood to subordinate its religious goals to what opposition groups are describing as a battle for democracy, in a country run under a state of emergency by President Hosni Mubarak for more than 30 years. …
 
Egypt’s opposition groups have had a checkered past, with ideological divides and personal animosities sapping their strength against the might of the Mubarak regime. For now, their solidarity appears to be sticking. The umbrella organization, called the National Association for Change, on Sunday formed a steering committee, with Mr. ElBaradei at the helm, to strategize further movements and pressure Mr. Mubarak and his military leaders for more political concessions, according to senior Brotherhood leaders. That reflects the organization’s strategy that their religious goals need to be put on the back burner to achieve democracy, said Helmi Gazzar, the head of the Brotherhood’s district party office in northern Cairo. “What we want is what the people want; right now we should have a completely different regime. We should have freedom and free elections,” he said. “We respect Mr. Baradei. He has the most potential” to achieve this…..
 
“I have some fears about the Muslim Brotherhood and their [future] intentions. But the situation is bigger than all of us now. You need them in the streets,” said Ziad el-Alami, a senior aide for Mr. ElBaradei and a human-rights lawyer.
 
Previous posts have discussed cooperation between El-Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and now opposition politician, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Baradei’s defense of the Muslim Brotherhood and his inclusion of the organization in a national opposition front which he inaugurated.
 
To see all GMBDR coverage of developments, go here. For GMBDR coverage on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.
 
GlobalMB @ January 30, 2011
 
Reprinted with permission from the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.
 

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