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Arab Spring sprung: Supporters of Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt chant slogans during a rally in Cairo

In June, the House of Commons hosted a talk on the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and how it is spreading across the globe. Steven Merley, a former financial trader turned investigator of extremist movements, has probed the Brotherhood for over a decade. It is particularly active in Britain and according to Merley, its strategy is to "create mischief" with a heavy emphasis on Muslim victimhood including the charge that the West has been waging a war on Islam. This has been a powerful radicalising factor in young Muslims. 

The Brotherhood's tactic to advance this strategy, says Merley, has been to establish a dizzying number of organisations and initiatives which create the impression of broad-based support. In reality, the sponsors are the same individuals and groups whose leaders have not changed over decades. 

Just as the US Justice Department and FBI take Merley's work seriously, we should too. He is no ideologue and is as troubled by right-wing groups demonising ordinary Muslims today as he is by the Brotherhood itself. 

By "ordinary" Muslims he means the vast majority who see Islam as a religious belief, rather than the political ideology usually known as "Islamism". The latter is a variant of Islam developed over 80 years ago in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood's founder, a teacher called Hassan al-Banna.

Disturbed by what he perceived as the corrupting influence of Western secularism on Muslims, al-Banna believed that only a return to what he saw as the original and pure form of Islam would restore the Muslim world to former glory.

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Christopher C.
July 2nd, 2013
3:07 AM
"Let me be clear: followers of the Brotherhood in Britain are not advocating violent jihad here. They condemned the beheading in May of Drummer Lee Rigby by two Muslims on a London street in broad daylight. Their organisations have civic-sounding names; they emphasise human rights, respect for democracy and integration." There is a good Islamic word for those public pronouncements. It is taqqiya - religiously-sanctioned misrepresentation (to say it most politely). But "ordinary" Muslims - are they representative of Islam? Here's a suggestion - what if Hassan al-Banna and others like him are the leaders of an Islamic Reformation. The original Reformation, after all, followed Gutenberg, and the much greater availability of the Bible. Luther and thousands of other Christians went to the source and made their own judgements about the Bible's meanings. So, is there a parallel between post-Gutenberg Europe and the Middle East of the early 20th C.? I suggest that Hassan al-Banna and those of his ilk were, for perhaps the first time, a critical mass for the study of the Koran and the adhadith. And they took the exhortations of both seriously. The language is plain. And it is aggressive. It demands the imposition (not the free acceptance) of sharia. In other words, it demands of Muslims that they be total in their acceptance of Islam, and to ensure that everybody else submit as well (after all, that is what Islam means - submission). The point? "Ordinary" Muslims, in the sense that such persons present no threat to post-Judeo Christians, do not really exist. Those who do not wish to compel others to follow Islam are not really Muslims. The West is in very great trouble that even writers such as Mr Ware can part-recognise the danger, but not travel the last, few necessary steps to describe what we are really faced with.

July 1st, 2013
11:07 AM
The article says the Muslim Brotherhood has made Islam political instead of only religious. In fact, Islam makes no distinction between the political and the religious, as sharia law demonstrates. There is no Islamism, there is only Islam.

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