‘Simply put: there is no ‘moderate’ Muslim brotherhood…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) In a congressional hearing regarding the Islamist militant Muslim Brotherhood, Republican members praised President Trump for reversing the Obama-era policy of designating the terrorist organization as a potential ally.
The Subcommittee on National Security under the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met on Wednesday to discuss how the U.S. government should label the Muslim Brotherhood a national security threat.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who serves as the subcommittee’s chairman, said it’s no longer a question of whether the group is a terrorist organization.
Rather, Congress should focus on how to best deal with it as such, whether it be through the State Department of Treasury Department, he said.
“Thankfully, the Trump administration has discarded the Obama-era policy of treating the Brotherhood as a potential ally,” he said. “Now, the questions are focused on how expansive to make the terror designation.”
DeSantis said the evidence that reveals the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group is overwhelming.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has been militant from its very beginning,” he said. “Its founder, who started the group in 1928, said that ‘jihad is an obligation from Allah and every Muslim cannot be ignored or evaded.’ And in a book titled ‘The Way of Jihad,’ he wrote ‘jihad means the fighting of the unbelievers and involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam, including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship, and smashing their idols.’”
Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, who was appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testified at the hearing and denied the Muslim Brotherhood’s role as a “global threat.”
He said that because the Brotherhood is made up of many disparate groups, it’s impossible to link them to one overarching philosophy.
“No serious researcher has yet demonstrated durable links between these groups that could be described as ones of command and control,” Benjamin said. “If one of the questions looming behind today’s hearing is whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, then the answer would have to be no for several reasons, one of which is that the Muslim Brotherhood does not have the first desideratum of being ‘a foreign organization.’”
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, disagreed with Benjamin’s characterization and said, “no group embodies the threat of radical Islamism more than the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Jasser, a devout Muslim, said that denouncing the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is the first step toward ridding the world of radical Islam and jihad terrorism.
“As a devout Muslim who loves my faith, and loves my nation, the avoidance behavior of confronting the Muslim Brotherhood is a major obstacle to our national security and harmony,” he said. “There is no better place to begin an honest conversation about the Islamist threat imposed upon our nation than a focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. A denial of the truth about the Muslim Brotherhood has actually emboldened extremists on both sides of this debate: both radical Islamists and anti-Muslim fascists.”
Jasser said Muslims should not be afraid to speak out against the Muslim Brotherhood, and that U.S. government officials who fear retaliation from the Muslim world if they do so are “appeasing” the group.
He said those who refuse to identify the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization are denying “the truth.”
“This presumes that the United States is afraid of facing terror groups and their sympathizers due to their radicalization,” Jasser said. “It also presumes that the United States national security policy should forever remain in a posture of defense against the Muslim Brotherhood rather than one of an offense.”
Attempts to “moderate” the Muslim Brotherhood are pointless, Jassar said.
The U.S. should take the offensive and rid itself of this national security threat, he said.
“Simply put: there is no ‘moderate’ Muslim brotherhood,” he said. “That is a misnomer. Every arm of the organization goes towards the purpose of supporting its central primary mission of Islamist hegemony and rule.”
Benjamin maintained, however, that the Brotherhood does not pose a threat to the United States.
“Does the Muslim Brotherhood constitute a global threat?” he asked. “Here too, I would answer that it does not.”
Benjamin also denied the Brotherhood’s connections to other militant Islamist groups, like Hamas.
“There is no doubt that at its inception, Hamas has ties to the Egyptian Brotherhood. But it is a mistake at this point to say that the group is an affiliate of the Brotherhood,” Benjamin said. “Hamas has its own charter and a history of foreign relations – including with Iran – that no other Brotherhood group would sanction.”
Jasser disagreed and said the U.S. should start by designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in a country-by-country basis.
The government should start with Egypt, Libya, Syria and other countries where the group’s activities are well-known, he said.
“The importance of identifying the Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization could not be more clear to our national security and counterterrorism strategy,” Jasser said. “This will begin not only a necessary process of treating the cancer at its core before it metastasizes rather than its byproducts after it has already spread.”