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The Muslim Brotherhood's Flotilla

The International Muslim Brotherhood had a heavy hand in orchestrating the flotilla.

3:30 PM, Jun 3, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Western press accounts have enumerated the many left-wing human rights activists who were among the Gaza-bound flotilla’s passengers earlier this week. But there were other, more conspicuous passengers aboard the ships. The Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, was well-represented.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Flotilla

In fact, the more one looks into the details of the flotilla the more it becomes clear that the Brotherhood used the humanitarian mission for its own purpose, namely, to assist its Palestinian branch -- Hamas. The Brotherhood used the flotilla as a propaganda operation with the intention of increasing international pressure on Israel to the point that the Jewish state lifts its blockade on Gaza and therefore Hamas. Simply put, the Brotherhood saw the flotilla as a public relations weapon that could be used to assist their fellow Ikhwan (Muslim Brothers).

Before getting into the various substantial links between the Brotherhood and the flotilla, a clarifying note is necessary because there is a profound intellectual confusion in the West when it comes to the Brotherhood’s designs for the world. Some have convinced themselves, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the Brotherhood is a “moderate” organization we can deal with. That is not true. 

The Brotherhood claims, on occasion, that it has disavowed terrorism. But even a cursory look reveals that it openly espouses jihad, and has since its beginning. The Brotherhood also encourages suicide attacks against American forces in Iraq, as well as Israelis. While they have their disagreements from time to time, the truth is that the Brotherhood’s long-term goals are the same as al Qaeda’s. They both want to reestablish the caliphate (as fanciful as that may seem to Western ears) and implement Sharia law throughout the Islamist-controlled world. The Brotherhood only disagrees with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s ilk on tactics.

That said, many of al Qaeda’s master terrorists (Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – to name a few) were once members of the Brotherhood. It is a short step from the Brotherhood to al Qaeda, but not a long one. And that is because they share much in common, including deep ideological roots. To give but one example: Sayyid Qutb, a prominent member of the Brotherhood in the mid-20th century, is one of the chief ideological forefathers of al Qaeda.

Thus, it is a big deal that the Brotherhood manipulated the flotilla for its own purposes, or was even behind it from the first. And it is a big deal that most of the press has missed this obvious angle to the story.  

Consider these facts:

As my colleague Jonathan Schanzer wrote earlier this week, the flotilla was organized in large part by a radical Turkish Islamist organization named IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi). The IHH, in turn, is part of a Saudi-based umbrella group called the Union of Good, which was created by Hamas. The U.S. Treasury Department designated the Union of Good a terrorist organization in 2008. Of course, Hamas itself was designated a terrorist organization many years ago.

The Union of Good’s leaders include Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood cleric, and Sheikh Abd al Majid al Zindani, who heads Yemen’s Islah party. Zindani and the Islah party have deep Brotherhood roots.

In other words, the IHH is an offshoot of the Union of Good, which is in turn an offshoot of the Brotherhood -- as is Hamas. It is a matter of basic logic, then, that if the IHH was one of the prime movers behind the flotilla then that means the Brotherhood itself was.

It is as simple as that. But there is much more.

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