advancing liberal democracy and countering violent extremism
Dec 4, 2019
3 min read
Europe’s Dilemma between Muslims and the Muslim Brotherhood
Over the years, the role and expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West has been a central topic to a countless number of conferences and research forums. Arguably, the Muslim Brotherhood is believed to be the only Islamist group with a political organizational structure and international operations.
For the most part, those events were organized by media institutions, think tanks, and charity organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood. They targeted the Western public opinion to beautify the image of the group’s extremist operatives, who fled their countries of origin in the Middle East to establish a new base for their extremist ideology in Europe and the United States; abusing the inclusive political culture and open civil society in these Western communities.
The Brotherhood’s widely spread public relations efforts succeeded, over time, in enabling the group’s leaders to access and influence decision-making and systems of governance in the Western countries that they had immigrated to. The Brotherhood’s expansion strategy in the West depended on building a huge network of small to medium civil society organizations, with no clear links between each other, that claim to be serving Islam and human rights in the Arab world.
Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood’s organizations in the West gained political impact over the governments and parliaments of the countries they work in, through introducing themselves as representatives of the mostly scattered and unorganized Muslim communities in those countries.
The 9/11 bombing of World Trade Towers in New York city amplified this lie, while the Western leaders were looking for an organized group through which they can understand and control the Muslim communities in their countries. Since then, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on decision-makers in Western countries, sometimes, outweighed the impact of long-established political parties.
Until this day, some of those deceived by the Brotherhood’s rhetoric in the West, believe that describing the Brotherhood as a terrorist group stems from Islamophobia; a term coined by the Brotherhood to silence those challenge the group’s jihadist agenda. Ironically, this exclusivist term is now used by some Western scholars to attack the Arabs and Muslims rejecting Muslim Brotherhood jihadist agenda in Egypt and the Arab Gulf region.
In November, Levant Center for Research held a seminar in London discussing this same topic of Muslim Brotherhood role and expansion in Europe, under the title “An Eye on the Muslim Brotherhood.” I believe this was the first seminar, held in a Western country, to openly criticize and expose Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadist ideology and damaging influence on Europe. More similar events are strongly needed to educate the international community and public opinion about the dangerous role of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yet, the West, particularly Europe, needs to pay close attention to the growing risk of letting Muslim Brotherhood ideology govern and lead the flooding numbers of Muslim immigrants from the falling states in the Middle East. In ten years, the children of those immigrants will be counted as citizens of the European countries they immigrated to, and thus act as a fertile ground for Muslim Brotherhood jihadist ideology, if there were no an alternative organization to represent them.
There is an urgent need to get moderate Muslims, who represent the majority of Muslim communities in Europe, to be organized under an umbrella organization that has no political agenda or ambition, and this organization speaks in their name with policy makers and governments. Underestimating or ignoring the risk of Muslim Brotherhood influence on Muslim immigrants from the Arab world will expose Europe to a great security threat in the not-so-distant future.