A congressional subcommittee has heard testimony from a former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counter-terrorism at the State Department under then-Secretary Hillary Clinton that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be designated a terrorist organization.
Daniel Benjamin argued that while Hamas, a recognized terror group, has ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, it would “be a mistake at this point to say that the group is an affiliate of the organization.”
But Tom Quiggin, in a report at the Gatestone Institute, asserted Benjamin’s “statement was inaccurate, to say the least.”
“The original Hamas Covenant of 1988 openly declares that the organization is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. It also states that its foundational roots go back to 1939, to the ’emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, who were members of Muslim Brotherhood,’ and reveals that its founding history includes the ‘struggle of the Palestinians and Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war’ and the ‘Jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and after.’
“As such, it can be said that Hamas has more than mere ‘ties’ to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, its own documents point out that the Muslim Brotherhood has been intrinsically tied to Hamas and the entire Palestinian situation since as early as 1948,” he explained.
Quiggin is a former military intelligence officer, a former intelligence contractor for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a court-appointed expert on jihadist terrorism in both the federal and criminal courts of Canada.
The hearing was before a congressional subcommittee on national security, which sought to “examine the threat of Muslim Brotherhood to the United States and its interests and how to effectively counter it.”
The committee had commented, in preparation for the hearing: “The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has generated a network of affiliates in over 70 countries. The Brotherhood has been designated as a terrorist organization by multiple countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The United States has designated multiple Muslim Brotherhood affiliates as terrorist organizations, including Hamas.”
Quiggin pointed out the revised Hamas charter still calls for “the liberation of all of historical Palestine.” It says armed resistance is a means to achieve that goal and Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Benjamin also claimed Hamas has a history of foreign relations that no other Brotherhood group would sanction.
“In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood itself has had multiple interactions with Iran, specifically with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Nor have these interactions been simply perfunctory or diplomatic. Their purpose is and has been to establish close cooperation between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood whenever the group is in a position of power,” he reported.
“In his testimony, Ambassador Benjamin also stated that the ‘Egyptian Brotherhood has foresworn violence since the 1970s, and there is no compelling evidence that it has reversed course on that issue.’ On this point, he was partially correct. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood did make a seemingly serious attempt to move away from violence in the 1970s. However, to say that ‘there is no compelling evidence that it has reversed course’ is a stretch,” the report said.
For example, in his 2012 election speech, the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, stated, “The Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.”
Quiggin also cited a 2016-17 U.K. House of Commons report that found that the Brotherhood is a “conveyor belt that moves individuals along a path to violence and terrorism, and any association with it should be considered indicative of extremism.”
“The United Arab Emirates concurs,” the report said, “with the UAE Muslim Brotherhood topping its list of officially designated terrorist organizations.
“The argument is about whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a violent organization or purely political. But, as the UK House of Commons report states: ‘Both as an ideology and as a network (the Muslim Brotherhood) has been at rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence and terrorism.'”
Its members include al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.