ZOA Praises Cong. DeSantis for Urging Designation of Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Group
News Press Release
July 13, 2018

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The ZOA praises the Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for initiating and chairing a hearing on July 11, 2018 entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Threat,” to discuss this global threat, and urging formal designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.   

The Muslim Brotherhood directly engages in and incites assassinations, church bombings in Egypt, and other heinous terrorist activities, and also provides material support and the ideological foundation for Hamas and numerous other affiliated terrorist organizations throughout the globe.  

The President of the Muslim reformist organization, American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser, a practicing Muslim, who was one of the experts at the July 11 hearing, testified that the Muslim Brotherhood is “an organization with global reach that endlessly produces Islamist terror progeny” and wisely noted that “We have for too long been playing a “whack-a-mole” program against byproducts of Muslim Brotherhood ideologues rather than directly countering the primary cancer cells of the Muslim Brotherhood operations.” Dr. Jasser’s detailed, informative testimony is well worth reading.  (Testimony for Hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security, on “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Threat,” submitted by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, July 11, 2018.

“Muslim Brotherhood networks raise money here in the U.S. to support Hamas’ terrorist activities in the Middle East.  According to the Department of Justice, in the early 1990s, Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas.”

In December 2017, Egypt provided evidence to the UK proving that the Muslim Brotherhood was implicated in terrorist attacks that occurred in London.  Muslim Brotherhood legacy organizations in the United States seek to promote civilization jihad from within the U.S.  The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas have been funding and leading the attacks to invade Israel from Gaza.  The Muslim Brotherhood also leads international rejectionist coalitions of affiliates working to extinguish Israel’s existence and prevent Arab and other nations from establishing normal ties with Israel.  (See Are the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas Mobilizing to Take Over the PLO?,” by Ehud Rosen, JCPA, Mar. 26, 2018.) Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohamed Badie brags on the organization’s website, Ikhwanweb, about Muslim Brotherhood fighters’ involvement in the Arab seizure of the eastern portion of Jerusalem from Israel in 1948, and demands an end to “Zionist occupation” of “Palestine.”  Muslim Brotherhood affiliate American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) funds the virulent Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which opposes Israel’s existence and which leads sometimes violent, always anti-Semitic, anti-Israel activities on U.S. college campuses. 

Countries which have all designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization includeEgypt (in 2013); Russia (in 2006), Bahrain (in 2014); Saudi Arabia (in 2014); Syria (in 1980); and the United Arab Emirates (in 2014).  In recent months, both the UK and the U.S. have designated Muslim Brotherhood terror wings Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM) and Liwa al-Thawra as terror organizations.  U.S. designation of the Muslim Brotherhood itself as a foreign terrorist organization would be an important step to help curb the funding networks and spread of radical Islamist ideologies that enable Islamist terrorism in the U.S. and abroad.

Chairman DeSantis’s Excellent Summary:  Chairman DeSantis provided the following excellent summary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history and present danger to national and international security, in his opening remarks, transcribed here: 

The Muslim Brotherhood is a militant Islamist organization with affiliates in over 70 countries, including groups designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S.  Whether the Muslim Brotherhood writ large should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization has been the topic of debate here in Congress in recent years, and has been under consideration by the Trump administration.

Thankfully, the Trump administration has discarded the Obama era policy of treating the Brotherhood as a potential ally.  Now the questions are focused on how expansive to make the terror designation, and whether it should be done through the State Department or Treasury Department.  

The Muslim Brotherhood has been militant from its very beginning.  Its founder, Hassan Al Banna, who started the group in 1928, said that “Jihad is an obligation from Allah, and every Muslim, and cannot be ignored nor evaded.”  In a book titled “The Way of Jihad,” he wrote “Jihad means the fighting of the unbelievers. It involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the enemies of Islam, including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship, and smashing their ideals.”   This belief was put into action in the decades that followed, as the Muslim Brotherhood’s members committed numerous acts of terrorism, including the assassination of Egypt’s prime minister in 1948.   

This jihadist ideology continues to fuel the Muslim Brotherhood today.  The Brotherhood mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, and its leaders developed teachings justifying revolutionary violence under Shariah law.  The Brotherhood has preached hatred towards Jews, denied the Holocaust, and called for Israel’s destruction.  The Brotherhood has incited violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt, amidst a wave of church bombings and other attacks by terrorist groups including ISIS.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, perhaps the Brotherhood’s preeminent cleric, issued a fatwa legitimizing terrorist attacks against American troops in Iraq.  And he’s also deemed the Holocaust to be a ‘punishment’ for Jews, and expressed hope that another Holocaust would someday be carried out by his fellow Islamists.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, has said that the organization’s goal is to establish a new Islamic caliphate, including the imposition of Sharia law, which is a totalitarian Islamic legal code.  We saw what happens when the Brotherhood takes control of a country in Egypt, from 2012 to 2013, and the results were chilling.  Then president Mohamed Morsi defied the rule of law, and granted himself near absolute power.  As Egyptian leader Mohamed ElBaradei put it, Morsi usurped all state powers, and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.’  The Brotherhood’s legislators enshrined the principles of Sharia as the main source of law in Egypt’s constitution, while the Morsi government used state institutions to promote Islamic radicalism, roll back freedom of the press, and launched a wave of blasphemy prosecutions.   

The Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government is no more.  But the Brotherhood and its affiliates continue to advance their agenda across the Middle East and throughout the world.  

There is no question that the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates are involved in terrorism.  Former FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed as much, in testimony before Congress, when he said that “elements of the Brotherhood, both here and overseas, have supported terrorism.”  A number of these Brotherhood affiliates have been designated as terrorist organizations by the United States government.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas, has been a designated foreign terrorist organization since 1997.  Hamas has taken control of the Gaza strip, launched thousands of rockets against Israeli civilians, and committed suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks that have murdered numerous Israeli and American civilians.

Muslim Brotherhood networks raise money here in the U.S. to support Hamas’ terrorist activities in the Middle East.  According to the Department of Justice, in the early 1990s, Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas.    And the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Brotherhood to support Hamas.  In 2008, the Holy Land Foundation leaders were convicted of crimes, including providing material support for Hamas.   

Most recently, the State Department designated two offshoots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, HASM and Liwa al-Thawra, as terrorist organizations, under Executive Order 13224.  The State Department noted that these groups are responsible and bombings and assassinations of senior Egyptian government officials.

This hearing is an opportunity to discuss what the United States’ next step should be.  Countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have all designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.  I know there is disagreement among experts on how to best use terrorist designations to address the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. . . . 

Between the radicalism of its hateful ideology, the danger of its theocratic rule as seen in Egypt, its networks including Hamas and HASM, and its powerful state sponsors, it is clear that the Brotherhood constitutes a real threat to the national security interests of the United States.  We can debate the best way to counter this threat.  But simply ignoring the threat is not an acceptable answer.  We do have a distinguished panel of experts here today to discuss these issues.”  (video minutes 9:30 – 15:00) 

Testimony Debunking the False Claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has Given Up Violence:  Testimony at the hearing debunked the false claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has given up violence.  For instance, Dr. Jasser stated:

To take what one or two Muslim leaders that happen to be sitting with Americans at the time and telling ambassadors what they think they want to hear, is one thing, versus what they are actually telling their own people.  When the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010, decades after the so-called change of approach toward violence, tells his leaders that he is telling them that the best goal is to attain death and sacrifice through a jihadi generation, against the U.S., and against the Zio-American conspiracy, that is a jihadi call to arms.  And that was in 2010, at the same time with Al Qaeda and other groups.  So it sounded very similar. Basically we are hearing from  some leaders that we should just continue a whack-a-mole approach to the Muslim Brotherhood program, rather than actually treating the primary central organization as being a terrorist organization, based on its ideology.  By the way, if the anti-violence approach to them is true, we would be able to find rifes [sic] of theological disagreements with the Brotherhood’s approach, their logo would have changed; all these things would have changed.   None of that has happened.  They’re just telling a few ambassadors when they meet with them what they want to hear, so that we don’t interfere in their business of taking over various countries.”  (video minutes 1:12:24-1:14:00)  

Moreover, although testifying expert Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, recommended an incremental approach of designating two additional Muslim Brotherhood affiliates (Libya’s Hizb al-Watan and Yemen’s al-Islah Party) and certain Muslim Brotherhood individuals (rather than the entire Muslim Brotherhood entity), he too stated at the hearing that: “There is really nothing in their [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] creed, which is ultimately the dogma that they all adhere to at their core, that suggests that they have given up violence as an approach, or that they have embraced democracy.”  (video minute 1:12)  (Dr. Schanzer’s written testimony, describing the violent activities of the two affiliates he recommends designating, is here.)

A third expert at the hearing, Dr. Hillel Fradkin, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, noted that benign hopes for the Muslim Brotherhood were proven false by the Brotherhood’s actions during its reign in Egypt in 2012-2013.

Dr. Jasser also explained, in response to questions about the percentage of Muslim Brotherhood adherents and activities that are violent versus non-violent:

 “These mental gymnastics and confusions that you’re having, is exactly what the Brotherhood wants to happen.  By dividing themselves into secret committees that push forth violent arms, and other committees that use political processes to come to power.  They use liberation theology to basically advance, no different than a Nazi party would, or other fascist arm would.  And they use militant arms, and then claim denial, when they are pushed by more moderate democracies like ourselves.  So at the end of the day, that wing, they might eschew violence, on the one hand. But on the other hand, they have never condemned openly those arms of their organizations, or ever taken ownership of having sprouted those ideas and legitimized those factions of terrorist organizations.”  (video minute 1:22:18 – 1:23:01)

Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) then wisely pointed out:  “Whether the number is 1 percent, 5 percent, or as you mentioned up to 50 percent, the issue is that it only takes but a small number to radical terrorists to create an enormous problem around the world, wherever they may strike. (video minute 1:23:20)

Dr. Jasser also strongly confirmed:  “I think it [violent jihad] is central [to Muslim Brotherhood ideology].   They might condemn certain tactics here or there. But, at the end of the day, their motto has remained advocating for violent jihad.  Their “be prepared” passage [in their motto] from the Koran is simply a battle they use as a rallying cry .  At the end of the day, they are a jihadist organization that looks at the technique of violence as one of the avenues to be used.”  (video minute 1:23:42)

Dr. Jasser also personally witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood’s violence and calls for violence towards the Christian Copts and other religions minorities.  Dr. Jasser recalled:

 “I was there [in Egypt] in 2013, and they committed, and their leaders and Imams called for acts of violence upon Christian communities, upon the Coptic community.   And while there may have been some debate here or there, there was impunity given to various Islamist leaders who called for those acts of violence.  And especially after they lost power in 2013, it became no holds barred, and it’s been that way since.”  (video minute 1:24:13)

The Absence of Sanctions and Terrorist Designation Gives the Muslim Brotherhood More Room to Operate and Radicalize Americans and Others:  Dr. Jasser also pointed out that sanctions and terrorist designations lessen radicalization, and give terrorist groups less ability to operate on American soil and internationally.  Dr. Jasser testified:

It’s interesting.  If you look, for example, at Khomeinist Hezbollah.  Hezbollah was designated a terror organization.  We had sanctions against Iran for decades.  That’s one of the reasons why there haven’t been as many acts of Shia-inspired radical [attacks]. It’s not because the Hezbollah or the Khomeinists in Iran love America.  They chat ‘Death to America’ all the time.  But the sanctions, and the inability to fund and building mosques like the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] now is building in Maryland and elsewhere.  The funneling of money from Saudi Arabia. Up until just a few months ago, Saudi Arabia was actually intimately involved in the spread of the Brotherhood into Europe and in the U.S..  

If you look at our own incidents.  San Bernadino.  Boston bombing.  Awlawki.  Awlawki came through the Muslim Student Association, which was part of the motherships of the Muslim Brotherhood history progeny here in the United States, that then evolved.  Now Awalawki left the Brotherhood ideology, to become a salafi jihadist, and join Al Qaeda and go to Yemen.  But that revolving door of ideology, if you look at the radicalization of a lot of Islamists in the United States, that go from the conveyor belt of non-violent sort of political anti-American antisemitic political Islam, that go towards radicalization, it often starts with Brotherhood legacy groups in America.  

I’ll tell you that as a Syrian American, the Syrian American Council is one of the central parts of that. Its own leadership has said its affiliation with the Brotherhood in Syria, is one of the reasons the United States ended up funding a lot of radical Islamist groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahar al-Sham, and other radical groups in Syria  Because of Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers in the United States that told them:  ‘Oh, they’re okay.’   And you can find it by doing research, by looking at their Facebook, social media posts, that sympathize with those groups in Syria.”  (minutes 1:26:20 – 1:28:00) 

In sum, the case for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is overwhelming. ZOA president Morton Klein simply stated, “We strongly urge the United States to immediately designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.”

Center for Law & Justice
We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.