by Clare M. Lopez
Given the long history of Muslim Brotherhood activity in this country, its declared objective to “destroy the Western civilization from within,” and the extensive evidence of successful influence operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is urgent that we recognize this clear and present danger that threatens not only our Republic but the values of Western civilization.
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration. Motto of the Muslim Brotherhood
The upheavals of 2011-2012 across the Middle East and North Africa swept aside secular rulers and the established political order with startling speed, and continue to focus world attention on the revolutionary forces driving these far-reaching events. Poverty, oppression, inequality, and lack of individual freedom are all hallmarks of the societal stagnation that has gripped the Islamic world for the better part of fourteen centuries, but the driving force of the so-called “Arab Spring” is a resurgent Islam, dominated by the forces of al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Energized as Islam may be at this time, however, without the active involvement of the United States to help arm, fund, support, and train the region’s Islamic rebels, it is questionable whether they could have gotten this far, this fast.
This report describes how the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist, whether knowingly or not, the mission of its grand jihad. Its hard-won position at the forefront of the 21st century Islamic Awakening is possible only because of decades of patient infiltration and political indoctrination (Da’wa) in the West, and especially the United States of America, even as the grassroots work of building an organizational structure advanced steadily in the land of its origin as well. It is important to recognize the sophistication of the Brotherhood’s international strategy and how the takedown of U.S. national security defenses from within was critical to the current Middle East-North Africa (MENA) campaign to re-establish the Caliphate and enforce Islamic Law (shariah).
Origins of the Muslim Brotherhood
To understand the Brotherhood and how it operates, especially inside Western societies such as America’s, a brief overview of where it came from and why it was established is in order. Following the early years of blindingly fast military conquests, Islam began to falter as European Christendom doggedly kept pushing back, eventually surpassing an increasingly corrupt empire that had run out of lands to conquer, people to enslave, and riches to plunder. Yoked by consensus of the scholars (ijma) to an ideology that rejected critical thought, innovation, and scientific inquiry in favor of blind obedience to revelation, the Islamic world remained largely untouched by the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and eventual Industrial and Technological revolutions that catapulted the West to global power status. Eventual European colonization of the Arab and Muslim world and the stunningly successful re-establishment of the Jewish nation in the modern State of Israel brought humiliation to people raised on tales of historical supremacism over these, its traditional dhimmi victims.
Aside from Israel, which came later, this was the world into which Hassan al-Banna was born in the early 20thcentury. An Egyptian Cairene, al-Banna seethed with frustration at Islam’s diminished status in the world; in particular he resented the presence and power of the British colonial administration in Egypt. The abolishment of the last Caliphate by Kemal Ataturk in 1924 was perhaps the worst indignity, one that left al-Banna and his young Muslim university contemporaries apparently feeling unmoored. They joined together in 1928, determined (as we know from their statements and writing) to rectify things; “rectifying things,” for them, seems to have meant re-establishment of the Caliphate and global enforcement of Islamic Law (shariah). The organization they founded to return Egypt, the Middle East, and eventually the world to “proper” subservience to Islam as ordained by Allah would be the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun in Arabic).
Since its inception in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood consistently has championed the cause of global jihad to “mobilize the entire Umma into one body to defend the right cause with all its strength…to jihad, to warfare…”Until early 2011, its original bylaws could be found on the Brotherhood’s English language website, Ikhwanweb, established in 2005 by senior Brotherhood official Khairat al-Shater. Since then, they have been preserved by Steven Emerson at The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). Article (2) makes clear that the Brotherhood conceives of itself as “an international Muslim Body, which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion…establishing the Islamic State” and “…building a new basis of human civilization as is ensured by the overall teachings of Islam.”
In case that sounds relatively benign, Article (3) E gets more to the point: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.” This is exactly what the Brotherhood did in Egypt in the violent years before and after the 1949 death of al-Banna, until it was forcibly suppressed, only to rise again in 2011-2012 when circumstances permitted.
The story of how those circumstances shifted to permit (even compel) the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power not only in Egypt, but also Libya, Tunisia, and perhaps soon, Syria and elsewhere, spans 20th century world history. World War II and the Brotherhood’s close alliance with Adolf Hitler and his genocidal antisemitic Nazis provided the perfect opportunity for Islam’s latest expansion into Europe, where dozens of Brotherhood branches were established. Upon the defeat of Nazi Germany, its clandestine networks of Muslim operatives were picked up by the western Allies and naively turned to the same purpose as the Nazis had pursued: to counter the influence of atheist communist Soviets. So it was that Sa’id Ramadan, the son-in-law of Hasan al-Banna, and a delegation of Muslim Brothers, found themselves in the Oval Office on 23 September 1953 meeting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Organization and the Settlement Process
Aside from its ideology, if there is a single characteristic that defines the Brotherhood, it is organization. From its earliest days, the Ikhwan has operated with military-like efficiency. The Muslim Brotherhood plan for the infiltration and subordination of America is no different. Once again, the blueprint can be found in Hasan al-Banna’s Brotherhood bylaws, where, in Article (2) D, he lists as one of the key “Objectives and means” the following:
Make every effort for the establishment of educational, social, economic and scientific institutions and the establishment of mosques, schools, clinics, shelters, clubs as well as the formation of committees to regulate zakat affairs and alms.
To be sure, the patient task of Da’wa includes establishment of Islamic institutions, education of the non-Muslim population, and countering “the prejudices of Judeo-Christians against Islam,” as Ikhwan scholar Shamim A. Siddiqi wrote in 1989. But in Islam, Da’wa, or the call to Islam, is always followed by jihad. Siddiqi, writing for the Muslim Brotherhood cadre in the U.S., was candid with them and cautioned that “[i]n this initial stage there may not be any opposition to Dawah work. For some time the Islamic Movement of America may have some smooth sailing. But with the increase in Dawah efforts, in the number of activities and growth of the strength of the organization, the anti-Islamic forces will take notice of the multifarious activities of the Movement,” “…the fight…may become a challenge for them,” and “[a]larming signals will be raised by the so-called ‘free press.'”
“Smooth sailing” indeed would seem to characterize the early decades of the Ikhwan‘s Da’wa movement in America. The first official Muslim Brotherhood front organization founded in the U.S. was the Muslim Students Association (MSA), established on the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois in 1964. Today, there are over 600 MSA chapters at colleges and universities across North America, working to recruit members to the Muslim Brotherhood and jihad. According to former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo, “The MSA serves as a recruitment tool to bring Muslims into the Brotherhood…[w]hich was its original purpose: to evaluate Muslims and to bring them into the Brotherhood and to recruit non-Muslims into Islam as a dawa entity, giving them the call to Islam.” The MSA was the blueprint model for the thousands of Muslim Brotherhood front groups that exist, function, and continue to multiply across the U.S. today.
The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadi st Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,’ 1981
Holy Land Foundation Trial
The 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror-funding trial has proven extremely valuable, well beyond its success in putting a U.S.-based jihad money channel out of business that had that sent millions of dollars to HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. Hundreds of documents presented as evidence in the trial by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors were subsequently placed online. Among these was a transcript of a talk given in the U.S. in the early 1980s by a Muslim Brotherhood executive-level leader, Zeid al-Noman. In it, al-Noman provided a remarkably detailed description of the history and mission of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, beginning with the establishment of the first front groups, such as the MSA, and proceeding according to the Ikhwan Bylaws to expand the network in a methodical, organized manner. Today, this infrastructure extends its reach within every single pillar of societal support in America – academia, government, intelligence, legal community, media, military, society, and the workplace – and demonstrably exerts a powerful influence on U.S. policy, both domestic and foreign, at the highest levels.
The recruitment process begins with identifying and cultivating Muslims who show, by their dedication to living a devout Islamic life, that they might be susceptible to Brotherhood da’wa. In a 27 December 2012 essay, Eric Trager, a Next Generation fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, provided a detailed look at the intensive process by which the Egyptian Brotherhood conducts its recruitment and training of young Muslim membership candidates; develops, reinforces, and repeatedly tests their commitment over a multi-year period, and ultimately incorporates them into its nationwide hierarchical organization. What he describes tracks closely with al-Noman’s U.S. lecture from three decades earlier—which itself references a process modeled on Hassan al-Banna’s original vision. The ideological continuity and internal discipline manifested by the Brotherhood’s ability to maintain and replicate its “settlement process” across the world, and a span of more than eight decades, is remarkable. This is a formidable enemy.
The “Explanatory Memorandum” cited above, and also in the documentary evidence at the Holy Land Foundation trial, likewise provides a telling glimpse into “the process of settlement” that the Brotherhood termed “civilization jihad.” Quite literally, the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. began as an immigration and settlement experience. As al-Noman recounts in his talk, “the first generation of the Muslim Ikhwan in north [sic] America composed [sic] of a team which included he who was an Ikhwan in his country…,” among others. After that, ‘the Movement,’ as he calls it, slowly established the organizational structures from basic cell level all the way to leadership Councils that define the Brotherhood’s extensive presence in Egypt and elsewhere. The emphasis on an internal stealth jihad, to “sabotage” the West from within, characterized the movement from the beginning and drove the strategic decision to use front groups that are calculated to arouse little concern in an open and democratic society such as the U.S. Although not the focus of this report, it should be noted that massive financial support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf sheikhdoms has always played a central and deeply important role in the ability of the Brotherhood to fund its global expansion, especially in the U.S. — the ultimate prize for Islamic colonization.
The last page of the “Explanatory Memorandum” listed 29 Muslim Brotherhood groups under the heading, “A list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Among these are the names of some of the best-known,mainstream Islamic organizations in the U.S. today, including a number whose Muslim Brotherhood-linked officials advise, socialize with, and train the leadership of key agencies within the U.S. national security community. The list includes the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP, the immediate parent organization of the Council on Islamic American Relations or CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). This is, of course, but a small sampling of North American Muslim Brotherhood front groups, but gives an idea of the level of “acceptability,” among both mainstream Muslim and U.S. society in general, that the groups have achieved by stealth and deception.
One of the most “mainstream” of these front groups is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), named, by the Justice Dept., an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding case. According to Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), ISNA functions as a kind of umbrella organization for many hundreds of offshoot Islamic Societies across North America. Yet, in spite of its DoJ status as a front group for the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood, ISNA still has been granted a coveted advisory role with the National Security Council (NSC) of the Obama White House. ISNA’s president, Muhammed Magid, is not only the Director of the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, but also an A-list invitee to White House iftardinners, and a member of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Countering Violent Extremism” Advisory Council. In that capacity, Magid participated in a July 2012 CIA training session, speaking at Langley about “Building Communities of Trust: A Local Example of a Partnership between the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and Law Enforcement.”
There is one more document, called simply “The Project,” that should be examined in the study of the Brotherhood’s expansion into Western society in general, and the U.S. government in particular. A November 2001 raid by Swiss authorities on a villa belonging to Yousef Nada, the Muslim Brotherhood director of the Al-Taqwa bank (which had been funding al-Qa’eda), recovered this 14-page plan, written in Arabic and dated December 1, 1982. “The Project” presents a “flexible, multi-phased, long-term approach to the ‘cultural invasion’ of the West,” according to Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism and Muslim Brotherhood expert. Rather than relying primarily on terrorism, as al-Qa’eda and other kinetic-approach jihadis do, the Muslim Brotherhood opted instead for a progressive infiltration of the very structures of Western society in order to achieve the same end result that al-Qa’eda seeks: Islamic domination over the West.
In view of the alarming success this approach has achieved to date, not only across the Middle East and North Africa, but inside Europe and the U.S., it is worthwhile to quote from Poole’s articles just some of the tactics outlined in “The Project:” [emphasis added]
- Networking and coordinating actions between likeminded Islamist organizations;
- Avoiding open alliances with known terrorist organizations and individuals to maintain the appearance of “moderation”;
- Infiltrating and taking over existing Muslim organizations to realign them towards the Muslim Brotherhood’s collective goals;
- Using deception to mask the intended goals of Islamist actions, as long as it doesn’t conflict with shari’a law;
- Establishing financial networks to fund the work of conversion of the West, including the support of full-time administrators and workers;
- Putting into place a watchdog system for monitoring Western media to warn Muslims of “international plots fomented against them”;
- Cultivating an Islamist intellectual community, including the establishment of think-tanks and advocacy groups, and publishing “academic” studies, to legitimize Islamist positions and to chronicle the history of Islamist movements;
- Building extensive social networks of schools, hospitals and charitable organizations dedicated to Islamist ideals so that contact with the movement for Muslims in the West is constant;
- Involving ideologically committed Muslims in democratically-elected institutions on all levels in the West, including government, NGOs, private organizations and labor unions;
- Instrumentally using existing Western institutions until they can be converted and put into service of Islam;
- Instituting alliances with Western “progressive” organizations that share similar goals;
- Inflaming violence and keeping Muslims living in the West “in a jihad frame of mind”;
- Supporting jihad movements across the Muslim world through preaching, propaganda, personnel, funding, and technical and operational support;
- Instigating a constant campaign to incite hatred by Muslims against Jews and rejecting any discussions of conciliation or coexistence with them;
- Collecting sufficient funds to indefinitely perpetuate and support jihad around the world.
With all of this information so readily available in the public domain, the obvious question must be, “Why doesn’t the U.S. government know that it is a target, realize that it is penetrated, and take steps to correct an obviously dangerous situation?” The answer can be summarized in two words: information dominance. As described in preceding pages, the Muslim Brotherhood approached its campaign to subvert U.S. society in a comprehensive but also a stealthy way. Recall the wording from the “Explanatory Memorandum,” which stated it would sabotage [our] “miserable house by their [our] hands.”What this means is that the Ikhwan intend to co-opt the leadership of this country by fooling it into “believing a counterfactual understanding of Islam and the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby manipulating or coercing these leaders to enforce the MB narrative on their subordinates.”Siddiqui, too, emphasized how the fight to impose Islam will intensify with “the help and involvement of the people of the land.” As the evidence indicates, this is already happening.
As with any totalitarian system, controlling the information that the U.S. government is allowed to know about Islamic doctrine, history, law, and scriptures is paramount for the Brotherhood. If its sabotage operation were to be successful, the Ikhwan knew it would have to keep its targets ignorant of the true nature of Islamic jihad and shariah. This objective also fulfills the parallel objective to implement Islamic Law on slander and blasphemy, which says that “slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person [that is, a Muslim] that he would dislike.” The truth about Islam’s violent history, savage penal system, inherent inequality and supreme racism, and legal commitment to “warfare to establish the religion”obviously would not be helpful in lulling unsuspectingkufr (infidels) into somnolence.
One of the early and most important indicators of the Brotherhood’s surreptitious expanding influence within the Intelligence Community [IC] showed up as a terminology scrub of official strategic documents dealing with counterterrorism. As Robert Spencer explains, the trend toward politically correct Global War on Terror (GWOT) language began with a misguided effort by Jim Guirard, the founder and president of the TrueSpeak Institute, a lobbying group influenced by input from the Muslim Brotherhood, including Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood. Unfortunately, thanks to Mr. Guirard, senior U.S. government officials, either incompetent or unwilling to fulfill their professional duty to “know the enemy,” fell under the Brotherhood’s influence and began substituting a garbled lexicon of inaccurate Arabic vocabulary in place of the actual words the enemy uses to describe what he does and why he does it.
As a consequence, for example, where the 2004 9/11 Commission Report contained hundreds of instances of the use of words like “Jihad,” “Muslim,” and “Islam,” by the time the FBI published its unclassified Counterterrorism Lexicon in 2008, those words were gone, entirely missing from the document. That same year, the State Department, DHS, and the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) all instructed their employees to refrain from using the words “jihad” or “mujahedeen” to describe Islamic terrorism and its perpetrators. A flurry of publications such as DHS’s “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims” and NCTC’s “Words That Work and Words That Don’t: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication”advised that using such terms (that is, accurately, as the jihadis themselves do), could confer some level of religious credibility on terrorists or even possibly alienate moderate Muslims. The 2009 National Intelligence Strategy and 2010 National Security Strategy both followed suit, avoiding the use of “jihad,” “Muslim,” “Islam,” the “Muslim Brotherhood” or “shariah” (except to say that these were not what U.S. strategy was about except in terms of “engagement” or “partnership”). By 2012, the entire Executive Branch, including DHS and the Defense, Justice, and State Departments, of the U.S. government was busy purging all instructors and training curriculum that associated Islamic doctrine, law, and scriptures with Islamic terrorism.
The sheer absurdity of America’s unilateral rejection of the vocabulary required appropriately to describe, understand, and counter the enemy is topped only by the sophistication of that enemy’s tactics in getting us to do it. If the officials whose professional responsibility it is to implement countermeasures based on the enemy’s threat doctrine are not allowed even to speak the words that explain the ideology that drives that enemy’s hatred, there is no chance these officials will be able effectively to direct a national security strategy. And that, of course, is the whole point.
The full-court press came in October 2011. On 19 October, an editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times by Salam al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), that threatened the FBI and Dept. of Justice with a refusal from the U.S. Muslim community to assist in counterterrorism efforts if alleged “deep anti-Muslim sentiment” in training materials were not “immediately addressed.”Piling on, a group of 57 “top U.S. Muslim groups,” including Muslim Brotherhood front groups, delivered a letter the same day to NSC counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, urging him to begin an “independent, effective investigation into the federal government’s training of its agents and other law enforcement” and institute a “purge” of any material that the undersigned organizations deemed unacceptable.”
The official U.S. response followed closely at a 19 October meeting held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. that was attended by representatives of many of the groups which had signed the letter and top officials from the Justice Department. Reportedly, the Muslims lobbied for “cutbacks in anti-terror funding, changes in agents’ training manuals, additional curbs on investigators and a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.”By early 2012, it was reported that the FBI had “purged hundreds of bureau documents of instructional material about Muslims, some of which characterized them as prone to violence or terrorism.”
This is what is meant by the Brotherhood term, “by their hands,” from the Explanatory Memorandum.
U.S. Government in the Bull’s-Eye
To reach this level of influence, the Muslim Brotherhood had moved gradually, in the classical stepped process patterned after Muhammad and his early followers, and that Sayyed Qutb outlined in his seminal monograph, “Milestones.” The establishment of Islamic centers, mosques, communities, and front group organizations was the first step in the “civilization jihad.” The mainstreaming of their existence—and ultimately their messaging—in American society formed the foundation of a Brotherhood campaign to target U.S. government circles in all three branches (executive, judicial, and legislative) at the federal, state, and local levels. The national security and intelligence communities were top priority, but law enforcement, military and penal institutions, the media, think tanks and policy groups, academia, and non-Muslim religious communities were also part of the overall strategy. The remainder of this paper will focus in more closely on Muslim Brotherhood penetration of U.S. government agencies, especially at the senior executive level.
The careful insinuation of Muslim Brothers into positions from which they can exercise influence on U.S. policy began long before the attacks of 9/11, although their success has accelerated dramatically under the administration of President Barack Obama. The massive Muslim Brotherhood organizational network in the U.S., so patiently built up over the decades since that first Oval Office meeting in 1953, eventually gave it a prominence and (false) reputation of credibility that was unmatched by any other Islamic groups, moderate or otherwise. Using a combination of taqiyya (deceit, dissimulation) and intimidation, the Muslim Brotherhood succeeded not only in making itself the “go-to” authority on all things related to Islam, but in suppressing those who would speak truth about Islam—again, often by persuading the U.S.’s own senior officials to do the job for them: “by their hands”. When Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, publicly excoriated, then fired, US Army LTC Matthew Dooley, an instructor at National Defense University, in April 2012 over an earlier-approved course on Islam, and then ordered Dooley’s career-ending Negative Officer Evaluation Report, the lesson was meant to serve as a stark warning to anyone else in the DoD who might be tempted to become accurately educated about Islam.
The horrific violence of terror attacks such as 9/11 also played a role by softening up the intended target: Western society. As Pakistani Brigadier S.K. Malik wrote in 1979, “Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved.”By contrast with jihadis, who would fly airplanes into skyscrapers and send suicide bombers into pizza parlors full of women and children, the Muslim Brotherhood looked tame. That its ideology and ultimate objectives — re-establishment of the Caliphate and universal enforcement of Islamic Law — were identical to those of al-Qa’eda was part of the Ikhwan‘s Information Operation to control what U.S. officials are allowed to know.
The first task was to maneuver Muslim Brothers into positions of trust with key U.S. government officials. One of the most successful Brotherhood placement and influence operations discovered to date involved Abdurahman Alamoudi, who penetrated the upper echelons of both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. A naturalized American citizen who emigrated from Eritrea in 1979, Alamoudi parlayed his leadership roles with dozens of Muslim organizations all the way to the White House. Despite being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who openly had declared his support for HAMAS, he was accepted as a “moderate Muslim” and became an advisor to President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. He was permitted to establish the Muslim Chaplain Program for the Department of Defense and then served as its nominating and certifying authority from 1993-98. Deciding to hedge his bets by 1998, Alamoudi provided at least $20,000 in start-up funds to Republican activist Grover Norquist “to establish what would become a Muslim Brotherhood front organization” called the Islamic Free Market Institute, which aimed to penetrate Republican Party circles and the campaign of future President George W. Bush. Along the way, Alamoudi inserted his long-time deputy, Khaled Saffuri, and eventually another prominent Ikhwan operative, Sami al-Arian, into the Bush presidential campaign. Alamoudi’s moves paid off: after Bush’s victory, another Alamoudi protégé with vast Brotherhood connections, Suhail Khan, was appointed to the White House Office of Public Liaison, from which key position he was able to manage the access of the U.S. Muslim community to the White House. This position gave the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood unprecedented opportunities to influence operations at the top levels of U.S. policymaking. Grover Norquist himself escaped scrutiny for years thereafter as he continued operating within the conservative movement.
Despite Alamoudi’s eventual fall from grace, arrest and imprisonment following conviction on terrorism-related charges as a senior al-Qa’eda financier, the damage was done. Even the eventual unmasking of Sami al-Arian as a senior operative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) did not seem to jolt the counterintelligence instincts of the U.S. intelligence community. The U.S. executive branch, from the president to the NSC and key Cabinet Departments, had been effectively neutered at the very start of the Global War on Terror. This is how President Bush could stand on 17 September 2001 inside the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., flanked by Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR (the U.S. branch of HAMAS), and in all sincerity, declare that “Islam is peace.”
The George W. Bush administration was targeted with a multifaceted, sophisticated information operation designed to deceive national security officials about the true nature of the Islamic jihadist enemy that attacked the homeland on 9/11. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood voices which told him true Islam had been “hijacked” by a “tiny minority of extremists,” President Bush responded by flinging U.S. military might against those who had physically carried out those attacks. Far more importantly, however, is that he was successfully deterred from investigating the belief system that inspired those hijackers by a blanket of Muslim Brotherhood taqiyya that successfully smothered inquiry about the very Islamic doctrine that al-Qa’eda and the hijackers themselves declared to be their motivation. Although few realize it to this day, the crippling of the Bush administration’s GWOT response marked a crucial turning point in the U.S. ability to defend itself against Islamic jihad.
Hesham Islam was a senior advisor for international affairs who worked for Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in the George W. Bush administration. A native of Cairo, Egypt, Islam, who is a Muslim, acted as point man for Pentagon outreach program to the Muslim community. Among the groups with which Islam brokered contacts for the Defense Department was ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), an acknowledged affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood that was named by the Justice Department in the summer of 2008 an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation’s HAMAS terror-funding trial. Thanks to Islam’s efforts, England forged close ties with ISNA, attended its conventions and hosted ISNA delegations at Pentagon events, even inside England’s own office.
Also serving in the Bush administration, in the intelligence section of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), was Army Reserve Major Stephen Coughlin, a lawyer by training, who had become the Pentagon’s top expert in Islamic law and jihad. His 2007 master’s thesis, “‘To Our Great Detriment’: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad,”accepted at the National Defense Intelligence College, has become the standard classic on the subject of what Islamic law teaches about jihad. Coughlin conducted countless briefings on his findings for senior Defense Department officials, and in 2007 prepared an analysis on the evidence being submitted by Justice Department prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case. That evidence, based on the Brotherhood’s own documents, demonstrated that U.S. Islamic organizations established as front groups by the Muslim Brotherhood were waging a “civilization jihad” to “destroy the Western civilization from within,” to use its own words. Among the organizations actively involved in channeling illicit funding to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, HAMAS, was ISNA, one of the largest and most prominent of such front groups — and, thanks to Mr. Islam, a Pentagon outreach partner. Hesham Islam moved swiftly to defend his own position, ISNA, and the Brotherhood. In March 2008, as a result of Hesham Islam’s campaign to have him removed, Coughlin’s contract with the JCS was not renewed.
Louay Safi is a Syrian-American Muslim who has held official positions with the Brotherhood-affiliated ISNA and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). As ISNA’s Executive Director of Leadership Development, Safi served for a number of years in the mid-2000s as an endorsing agent for the Pentagon’s Muslim military chaplain program. He also served as IIIT’s executive director (1995-97), and director of research (1999-2003); IIIT is another listed Muslim Brotherhood organization. Safi was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2003 trial of Sami al-Arian, who was convicted as a fundraiser for the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Despite this documented resume, Safi was hired by the Pentagon under a Naval Postgraduate School contract to teach Islam to U.S. troops about to depart on deployments to Afghanistan. Safi was at Ft. Bliss, TX on the day in November 2007 when Army Major Nidal Hassan gunned down thirteen service members and civilian employees at Ft. Hood, TX. The Army Criminal Investigations Division subsequently opened an investigation into the Army’s use of Safi to provide seminars on Islam — and those seminars were ended.Grieving family members were outraged in early December 2011 when Safi was permitted access to Ft. Hood in an attempt to present a check to them on behalf of ISNA; called “blood money” by at least one military source, the check was refused.
Later, Safi’s 2011 book, “Peace and the Limits of War” (published by IIIT), openly justified violence against apostates from Islam as well as “preemptive strikes” against troops preparing to attack Muslims. Apparently in search of new employment for his skills, in August 2011, Safi reappeared as a founding member and director of the political office of the Syrian National Council (SNC), a Syrian rebel group dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. His photo and profile appear on the SNC website.
As bad as these developments were, things became immeasurably worse for American national security under the administration of Barack Obama. Whereas President Bush and most of his administration insiders remained largely unaware that they had been manipulated by the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama and his close advisors proactively chose to reach out to the Brotherhood, its affiliates, and supporters for advice, training, and even administration appointments.
Another senior affiliate, Rashad Hussain, is the Obama administration’s envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Hussain’s background is replete with Muslim Brotherhood associations, including the American Muslim Council (founded by al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood operative, Abdurahman Alamoudi); the IIIT (which is on the Brotherhood’s own list of “our friends and the organizations of our friends”); and the Muslim Students Association (MSA, the original Brotherhood front group in the U.S.). In his official capacity, Hussain is responsible for providing advice on national security and Muslim outreach. He assisted in writing the President’s June 2009 Cairo speech, in which Obama announced a new approach to the Muslim world and essentially declared war on his host, then-President Hosni Mubarak, by publicly signaling his recognition of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Hussain also acts as point man for the Obama administration’s cooperation with the Istanbul Process, the OIC effort to criminalize internationally any criticism of Islam. The current administration’s weeks-long duplicity in the aftermath of the 11 September 2012 terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, when it repeatedly and mendaciously claimed that an Internet video trailer sparked a protest there that got out of hand, appears to have been carefully scripted not just with the OIC but Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.S., as well.
Eboo Patel, Obama Administration Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke at a Muslim Students Association and ISNA convention, appearing on a panel alongside Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, and Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and has defended the convicted WTC bombers. Wahhaj allegedly advocates the Islamic takeover of America.
Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, has served her in various capacities since first coming to the White House as an intern in 1996, while a student at George Washington University in Washington DC (where she was a member of the MSA Executive Board). For decades, she and members of her immediate family — mother, father, brother, and sister — have been closely associated with individuals among the top ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qa’eda financial support organizations, and the Saudi royal family. Given Abedin’s security clearance and responsibilities to advise the Secretary on Middle East policy and politics, these affiliations must raise serious questions about her suitability for this post.
To begin, Abedin’s mother, Dr. Saleha Abedin is a senior member of the Muslim Sisterhood (the distaff side of the Muslim Brotherhood) and is on record publicly supporting female genital mutilation, child marriage, marital rape, as well as stoning and lashing for adultery because they are consistent with Islamic shariah. A co-founder with Dr. Abedin of the Dar el-Hekma Women’s College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Yaseen Abdullah Kadi, is a Treasury Department “specially designated global terrorist.” In February 2010, at the behest of Huma Abedin, Secretary Clinton visited and spoke at Dar el-Hekma.
The most troubling associate of the Abedin family, however, is Abdullah Omar Nasseef, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leadership figure and Saudi royal family insider with direct connections to financial entities implicated in pre-9/11 funding of al-Qa’eda. During his long career, Nasseef has been the President of the Muslim World Congress, Vice President of the Saudi Shura Council, President of King Abdul Azziz University, and Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL, co-founded by al-Banna son-in-law Ramadan and the parent organization of International Islamic Relief Organization [IIRO], an al-Qa’eda front tied to the 1993 World Trade Center and 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings). Nasseef and his financial organizations were listed as defendants in post-9/11 legal cases based on his involvement with Al-Baraka Investment and the Rabita Trust (which Nasseef founded in 1988), a subsidiary of the Muslim World League, and a Special Designated Global Entity listed by the UN Security Council for financing al-Qa’eda.
Abdullah Omar Nasseef has been a close associate and benefactor of the Abedin family for well over 30 years. While President of King Abdul Azziz University in the 1970s, Nasseef named Huma Abedin’s father, Zainul Abedin (who was a visiting professor) the head of his newly-established Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) and editor of its journal (JMMA). From then through at least 2012, the Abedin family — both parents, Huma, her brother Hassan, and sister Heba A. Khalid — has been responsible for editorial production of the IMMA journal. For twelve years, from 1996-2008, Huma Abedin and Nasseef, the al-Qa’eda financier, served together on the JMMA’s editorial board. This included the time when Huma Abedin was serving as a White House intern, then as assistant during and after Clinton’s Senate campaigns, and finally as Clinton’s traveling chief of staff during her 2008 presidential campaign.
During the years that Huma Abedin has been a close to Hillary Clinton, the Department of State, like the U.S. government as a whole, has undergone a drastic shift in policy direction. Free speech issues and US government support for the al-Qa’eda/Muslim Brotherhood role in the MENA region revolts certainly top the list of concerns. While no outsider can know what advice Abedin provides behind closed doors, she has given no indication that her own world view or allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood differs in any major respect from that of her family or life-long family associates.
As we can see, as early as the George W. Bush administration period, the Muslim Brotherhood already had achieved an information dominance that, in coming years, would only intensify. Not only did figures associated and identified with the Muslim Brotherhood achieve broad penetration at senior levels of U.S. policymaking, but voices that warned of their true agenda (such as Stephen Coughlin’s) were actively excluded. That information dominance has contributed to startling consequences, most evident in the U.S. policy towards the al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated revolutions that many call the “Arab Spring,” but which in fact are more accurately termed an “Islamic Awakening.” Under the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced Obama administration, U.S. policy has undergone such a drastic shift in the direction of outright support for these jihadist movements — from al-Qa’eda militias in Libya, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebels in Syria — that it is scarcely recognizable as American any more. The infiltration of individuals such as Magid, Hussain, and Abedin, to name just a few, with such close Muslim Brotherhood identifications, to positions of influence at the highest levels of U.S. policymaking must be considered, at a minimum, a contributing factor.
In June 2012, five courageous U.S. Congressional representatives (Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Tom Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland) sent letters to the Inspectors General of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State as well as the Office of the Director of National Security, requesting an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood influence within those agencies. That their patriotic initiative in defense of the security of U.S. policymaking should have been met only with an overwhelming barrage of criticism is tragic testament to the extent of success the Muslim Brotherhood has achieved in suppressing even the duty to counterintelligence awareness that is the first defense of a free people. Given the long history of Muslim Brotherhood activity in this country, its declared objective to “destroy the Western civilization from within,” and the extensive evidence of successful influence operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is urgent that we recognize this clear and present danger that threatens not only our Republic but the values of Western civilization.
Clare M. Lopez, a strategic policy and intelligence expert, is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund. She was formerly a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.
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