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Masri Al-Yom, Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood and America

By Hassan Hanafi

Between the Brotherhood and U.S. there is substantial antagonism and a radical contradiction on an ideological level in regards to worldview ⎯ for the Brotherhood thinks that its ideology is central to the world.

Translated By Mitch Bacci

21 November 2012

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard


Egypt - Masri Al-Yom - Original Article (Arabic)

In the first installment of this article, I mentioned that there is a contradiction between the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States. It is a fundamental contradiction, such as the contradiction between socialism and capitalism, and I will complete the explanation of this contradiction here.

In 1966, while in prison for a coup against the Free Officers Movement, Sayyid Qutb was hanged after being accused of establishing a secret organization. The then president, Anwar Sadat, who was later assassinated, brought the Brotherhood out of jail. He did this not out of love for them, but in order to use them against his opponents. These opponents included the Nasserites, Marxists and leftists that resisted the al-intifa economic policy, the exploitative laws, the plunging into America's arms, the rupture in relations with the Arabs after visiting occupied Jerusalem in 1977, the Camp David agreement with Israel in 1978, the peace treaty in 1979 that made the Sinai a demilitarized zone with inadequate sovereignty, and the beginning of normalized relations with the Zionist enemy while the Arab lands in the West Bank and the Golan Heights were still suffering under occupation.

Then again the Brotherhood went back to prison during the era of the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, who inherited a lasting alliance with the U.S and continued normalizing the relationship with the Zionist enemy as long as he, his family and his entourage were allowed to loot public funds.He used the Brotherhood as a scarecrow to frighten America, and the Brotherhood were the ones who bore the biggest burden in opposition to his regime.

Between the Brotherhood and U.S. there is substantial antagonism and a radical contradiction on an ideological level in regards to worldview ⎯ for the Brotherhood thinks that its ideology is central to the world. It does not accept bargaining or an alliance with other central ideas.

This is because Islam is the last of religions. “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion,” Al-Ma'ida: 3; “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost,” Ali-Imran: 85. In regards to the human successor of God on earth, “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: I will create a Caliph on earth,” Al-Baqarah: 30; “O David! We did indeed make thee a Caliph on earth,” Sad: 26.

This is what Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb expressed as rule. “And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers,” Al-Ma'ida: 44. After a second time they are “sinners”, and a third time “people not meeting the legal requirements of righteousness in Islamic Law.” Thus, the Brotherhood rejects any authority in the world other than the authority of God, and they are the ones who represent it.

America also thinks that its ideology is central to the world. It is America that represents the foremost power and wealth in the world. America accepts only its rule on the earth and rejects any power other its own.

Thus, the world was divided into two parts: the capitalist camp under the leadership of America, and the socialist camp under the leadership of the Soviet Union. Before the collapse of the socialist camp, the world lived in an era represented in this bipolarity. The Brotherhood believes that there is no difference between capitalism and socialism. They are both a materialist view of the world. The two represent one pole counter to Islam, which, after the Persian and Roman empires thought that they had distributed the world amongst themselves, emerged as a new and final pole inheriting the old poles.

Both of them use violence: America in the form of aggression and the Brotherhood in the form of Jihad to prevent violence from beginning. It was America who initiated the aggression in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, and it was the Islamic movement that responded in defense. It was the Soviet Union who brought the aggression upon the Islamic republics in Central Asia after the socialist revolution in 1917 and then in Afghanistan in 1979. It was the Islamic movement, represented by the Taliban, which started repulsing the aggression.

The radical contradiction between Islam and colonialism is the same radical contradiction between Islam and Zionism concerning the Caliphate on earth. Islam wants to unify the Islamic community: “And verily this community of yours is a single community,” Al-Mumenoon: 52. Colonialism, under the leadership of the United States, wants to partition it, as it did with the Caliphate, referred to as “the sick man” through the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The relationship between the Brotherhood and America therefore, is like the relationship between an angel and the devil, between God and a false idol, between faith and disbelief, and between Islam and Jahaliyyah* in the language of Sayyid al-Qutb's book, “Milestones.” His book still captures the mentality of the Brotherhood without substitute because it expresses the psyche of a prisoner. The Brotherhood remains imprisoned by its history despite its coming into power. The rumors about the open or secret relationship between the Brotherhood and America are unfounded, unless those who oppose the Brotherhood intended to use them to deface it. Is this not the same as what was done in political systems by accusing the left of a relationship with the Soviet Union? In doing so, the intention may be to remove power and supplant it. This is the logic of atonement, mistrust and the separation of one who has survived oppression.

This is not a defense of the Brotherhood, but rather information that requires more examination. It is a message for historical awareness, “And remind, for surely the reminder profits the believers,” Al-Dhariyat: 55.

* Editor’s note: Jahaliyyah can refer either to ignorance or the pre-Islamic period.



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