Monday, October 19, 2009

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood: Connecting the Dots

Backspin/Honest Reporting
19 October 09

My antennae are still twitching over a report in The Guardian about Hamas efforts to impose religious law, and Gazan efforts to resist. This was a rare occasion where a Western reporter connected the dots between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Reporter Rory McCarthy writes:

The Hamas campaign was not inevitable. Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a broader Islamist movement present in most Arab and Islamic countries, which generally believes in winning over supporters by encouragement and debate one mind at a time, rather than by imposing decrees from above.
You can't understand Hamas without also understanding the Brotherhood. Consider the following:
  • Since the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, "Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akif has been serving as a replacement Hamas spiritual leader."
  • Several key positions in Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood are held by Hamas personalities, not Jordanians.
  • The Brotherhood even has a branch in Israel called The Islamic Movement. Its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, was recently arrested for inciting Palestinians in Jerusalem. The arrest, according was a message to Hamas not to further inflame tensions.
  • The FBI has been asked to investigate whether George Galloway's recent visit to U. California-Irvine illegally raised money for Hamas. It's worth asking whether the Muslim student groups hosting Galloway have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a US branch.
  • President Obama didn't help his popularity in Israel when Brotherhood membersreceived invitations to his Cairo speech.

The Hamas charter clearly identifies itself as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. So if you wonder why I'm skeptical when people talk about Hamas moderating itself, it's because global movements like the Brotherhood don't drop their ideology very easily.

I'm impressed that The Guardian noted how Hamas ordered shopkeepers to get rid of mannequins displaying lingerie, how women are banned from riding motorbikes, and the resistance female lawyers raised when they were told to wear full lenth gowns and a hijab in court.

Is this misogynist government an example of what we'll see if the Brotherhood seizes power in the 16 countries where it already has official branches?

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