Willful Blindness to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Threat

a review by Jerry Gordon (October 2013)

The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy
By Erick Stakelbeck
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
July 2013
ISBN 978-1-62157-033-2





Erick Stakelbeck is an American original. A product of Northeast Philadelphia, son of a 101st Airborne Screaming Eagle vet, high school basketball champion who is now a living treasure in the American and international counter jihad community. A budding sportswriter of note following graduation from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, he had a minor epiphany after 9/11 and changed career paths. We and most Americans are glad that he did.

After 9/11 occurred in Manhattan, he decided to do something about it. He sought out Steve Emerson at  The Investigative Project on Terrorism, where he served an apprenticeship learning the tools of investigative research and sharpened his writing skills with a flood of articles in some of the leading webzines. He was presented with an opportunity, at the 700 Club Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), to become a full time on-air anti-terrorism beat journalist. From his base in Washington, Stakelbeck ranged across the country and the globe with his video team exposing the leading personalities of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist communities in their plot to impose civilizational jihad on the West. They aim to supplant the Judeo-Christian ethos underlying the US Constitution with Sharia, Islamic law. He has also been a frequent commentator on Fox News, Glen Beck’s The Blaze, CNN, and The Savage Nation. He has authored articles on terrorism, Islamization of Europe, the UK and America, the Middle East, and radical Islam for the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, New York Post, Jerusalem Post, National Review and Human Events, among others. He is a stalwart friend of the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people. He is not enamored of feckless, heedless reporting and commentary from most of the mainstream media. Stakelbeck has consistently warned about the Obama Administration's dalliance with radical Muslim groups both at home, and in the Middle East and North Africa. He deems recent developments in the latter, the Arab Winter. He is a much sought after speaker and has been invited to testify before Congressional committees on these topics. (See our interview with him in our collection, The West Speaks).

Aside from his reporting duties at Stakelbeck on Terror at CBN (renamed The Watchman, see here) he has authored two books, The Terrorist Next Door; How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat, about the plague of homegrown terrorists in America (See our NER review, here) and his latest work, The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy.

Stakelbeck’s writing verve and style is guaranteed not to put you to sleep with pedantic turns of phrases. Quite the opposite. It is the prose of page turning thrillers, with a difference. He is not making this material up. He is reporting firsthand what drove the creation of the world wide network of the Muslim Brotherhood (“the Ikhwan”) since it was founded in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, an Egyptian teacher. The Muslim Brotherhood has more than 70 affiliates throughout the Muslim Ummah. Stakelbeck estimates that the Muslim Brotherhood has more than an estimated 100 million adherents globally. In the US the Ikhwan has a number of front groups, among them the Council of American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim American Society, Muslim Political Action Council, Muslim Student Association, North American Islamic Trust and the Islamic Circle of North America. [Members of the American wing of the Ikhwan are part of the Obama Administration fulfilling faith based partnership, policy advisory and diplomatic roles in the Department of Homeland Security, Justice and State Departments.]

Members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to the Obama White House. Hani Nour Eldin, a former terrorist member of the Egyptian Ikhwan was part of a delegation that met with White House staff. Eldin lobbied for the release of the blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman who organized the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. In mid June 2013, just weeks before the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Obama National Security staffers met with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He is a colleague of Egyptian Ikhwan preacher Yusuf al Qaradawi. According to a Fox News report, Sheik Ben Bayyah “has urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy.” His group has spoken out in favor of Hamas and in 2009 issued a fatwa barring “all forms of normalization with Israel.” 

Stakelbeck portrays the international Muslim Brotherhood as a transnational group engaged in a doctrine of civilizational Jihad focused on Da’wa – the call to Islam or proseltyzing. Among its tools to achieve its goal of establishing a world Caliphate has been espousal of Dar al Hijrah, a “settlement” strategy that prominently features construction of mega-mosques controlled by Muslim Brotherhood front groups and funded by wealthy donors from the Gulf Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The mosques are what former Muslim and Christian convert Sam Solomon calls Trojan Horses stocked with Muslim Brotherhood literature and led by Imams trained by Muslim Brotherhood centers in Egypt like al Azhar University. The US has had a veritable plague of mega-mosque building in places like Boston, Brooklyn, Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Temecula, California. Expansion has been abetted by support of the Obama Administration's US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Federal courts and an arcane 2000 Federal Law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that granted exemption to religious institutions from most local zoning rules.  That effort has been abetted by the legal arm of NGOs like the Anti-Defamation League and its Interfaith Committee on Mosques. One such mega-mosque controlled by a Muslim Brotherhood Front, the Islamic Society of Boston, was attended by the Boston Marathon bombers, the Tsarneav brothers. The late Tamerlan and his younger brother Dzhokhar killed three and injured more than 264 persons with knapsack bombs placed at the finish line in Copley Square on April 15, 2013.

The founder of the Ikhwan Hasan al-Banna was seeking to create a new Caliphate following the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1924 and the rise of the Turkish Republic founded by a secular enemy of Islam, Kemal Ataturk. The Muslim Brotherhood credo used elements of fundamentalist Salafist Jihad doctrine: “Allah is our objective. The prophet Muhammad is our leader, Quran our law. Jihad our Way, Dying for Allah is our highest hope.”  Al-Banna founded the Ikhwan in Ismailiya in 1928. His slogans “Islam is the answer” and “the Koran is our Constitution” fired up enthusiastic followers who hated the modernity that came with the British colonialization that favored the 80,000 Jews and millions of minority Christian Copts. 

Al Banna provided the fuel for expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood with the creation of a Shariah compliant banking and money transfer system, Halawal, which enabled mushrooming contributions from Muslim charities, zakat, which funded the seven purposes, including support for following the way of Allah, jihad.  That innovation today has blossomed forth in a multi-billion dollar international Shariah compliant finance business sought after by international investment banking firms who have employed Muslim Brotherhood clerics, alleged experts, in creating shariah compliant funding vehicles.

Hasan al Banna, the founder of the Egyptian-based Ikhwan, as Stakelbeck relates, was an early devotee of Adolf Hitler as Nazism echoed traditional Islamic Jew hatred. Nazi agents and funds assisted in the formation of a Muslim Brotherhood's paramilitary terrorist wing, Secret Apparatus, which engaged in terrorist activities in Egypt and  provided funds and trained Palestinians who committed violence against the British and the Jewish Yishuv, pre-State Israel, in the 1930’s. Al Banna translated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the Czarist forgery, The Elders of the Protocols of Zionism, redolent with blood libel against Jews. These books are still sold in bookstores through the Arab Muslim Ummah. Stakelbeck chronicles the Ikhwan's rise in the 1930’s from less than eight hundred to more than 200,000 followers in branches throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Secret Apparatus had over 40,000 trained Jihadis willing to become shahids (martyrs) for the cause just prior to the start of World War Two. After the war al Banna joined forces with Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini, Hitler’s house guest who raised Waffen SS Muslim units in the Balkans and promoted the Final Solution for six million European Jews. The Ikhwan formed brigades to try and crush the embryonic Jewish State of Israel. That effort was led by Dr. Said Ramadan, al Banna’s son-in-law. Following a wave of terror attacks by the Ikhwan in 1948, the Egyptian government outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. The assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi in 1948 resulted in the retaliatory assassination of al Banna by Egyptian government agents in 1949. Following the Free Officer Coup of 1952 in Egypt, the Ikhwan thought it had an opening to return to power but overplayed their hand with an attempt on the life of strongman Nasser in 1954. He crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, jailed thousands of its followers including the spiritual father of al Qaeda, Sayyid Qutb forcing the Ikhwan to go underground and change its tactics. This in turn spawned the violent ideology of al Qaeda.

Stakelbeck draws attention to the roles of al Banna’s son-in-law Dr. Said Ramadan. His grandson and Swiss citizen, Professor Tariq Ramadan of both Oxford and Notre Dame Universities was given entre to the US and the Obama White House. This despite close connections to Ikhwan affiliate Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. His father, Dr. Said Ramadan avoided arrest by Nasser’s secret police in Egypt and found refuge in Saudi Arabia along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders where he helped form the World Muslim League – an antecedent of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a virtual Caliphate made up of 57 Muslim nations and Palestine and now headquartered in Riyadh. Dr. Ramadan was even invited to the Eisenhower Oval office in 1953, when the CIA thought the Muslim Brotherhood might serve as a counterweight to Soviet Communism in the Muslim Ummah.  Dr. Ramadan and his family were granted sanctuary in Switzerland after he completed a doctorate on Shariah at a German University in the 1960’s. Dr. Ramadan ended his days in 1980 while organizing the assassination of a former member of the Shah of Iran’s government in Washington, DC. Proving once more that Sunni Islamic Jihadis often coalesce with their alleged Shia brethren in common cause-attacks against the Infidels in the West, America and Israel.

Stakelbeck calls the Muslim Brotherhood, half al Qaeda. Many of the principal figures in AQ were both originally members of the Ikhwan for example the late Usama bin Laden and his successor Ayman al Zawahiri. They were heavily influenced by a seminal Muslim Brotherhood propagandist, Sayyid Qutb, the author of Milestones. In Milestones Qutb called for Muslims to wage violent holy war until Islamic law governs the world. Qutb was offended by Western values and customs while an exchange student at a college in Greeley, Colorado in the late 1940’s. That exposure propelled him upon return to Egypt to write tracts extolling the doctrine of what Stakelbeck calls 24/7 jihad against infidels, especially the “people of the book,” Jews and Christians. President Nasser found Qtub’s views seditious and had him jailed, convicted and hung in 1966. Nevertheless, Qutb influenced the founders of al Qaeda, Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdullah Azzam, Kuwaiti Khaled Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of 9/11, Saudi Usama bin Laden and Egyptian al Zawahiri.

Stakelbeck reviews how the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Hamas, was founded and its connection to the Council for American Islamic Relations. The Hamas 1988 Charter expounds on the goal of extinguishing the Jewish State of Israel. Its political and military wings have fomented violence against Israel through terrorist attacks by suicide bombers and barrages of both homemade and Iranian supplied rockets. Israel had adopted a deliberate policy of assassinating Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders like the blind sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi. 

Stakelbeck tells the tale of one illustrious Amerikhwan, Mousa Abu Marzook, a Gazan refugee who was educated at both Colorado State University and Louisiana Tech University in industrial sciences.  He became head of the political bureau of Hamas in 1992 and developed the Hamas support network in the US to facilitate terrorist training and funneling funds for the terror group’s operations. With the aid of US based Ahmed Youssef involved with propaganda and Jihad run out of London by Mohammed Sawahla, Marzook was running Hamas out of a northern Virginia suburb. Marzook oversaw creation of both the Amman and Damascus offices of Hamas. Arrested upon re-entry to the US in 1995, he was detained until 1997 and deported back to Jordan.  He resided in Damascus until the political bureau was shifted to Gaza, and he ended up in Egypt in 2012. [Where Marzook is presently in the wake of the ouster of Morsi and suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood is questionable, as he must be on a list of those to be apprehended by Egypt’s new strongman, Gen. al-Sisi].

Stakelbeck focuses on the Amerikhwan, the US Arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and its origins in the mosque in Munich that Dr. Ramadan founded in the late 1950’s. This enabled infiltration by Egyptian and Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood, some of whom have been arrested in the current round of suppression of the Ikhwan following President Morsi’s ouster. Among those arrested by Gen. al-Sisi’s security apparatus was former Supreme Guide Mohammed Akef who headed the Munich mosque for several years after its opening in 1973. In our review of Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson’s book, A Mosque in Munich we noted how the Ikhwan's infiltration of America started  in Lugano, Switzerland in 1977.

The Munich Islamic Center has spawned a number of MB affiliates in America. After a Lugano, Switzerland conference in 1977 at which exiled MB preacher and spiritual figure Egyptian Yusuf Qaradawi attended, they created the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to nurture and spread the neo-Salafist doctrine of Qutb and others. After a 1978 meeting in Saudi Arabia, the MB leaders decided strategically to locate the IIIT in the US. Initially the Institute was opened in Philadelphia, lead by Dr. Ismail Faruqi, who was on the faculty at Temple University. Later the IIIT would move to its present site in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Two attendees at the Lugano meeting were Dr. Jamal Barzinji and Ahmed Tontonji. Barzinji signed the incorporation papers for the opening of the IIIT in the US in 1980. Another MB functionary was Dr. Hisham Altallib . . . . The Lugano trio of three Iraqis, Totonji, Barzinji and Altallib, settled in Indianapolis. They were joined by benefactor Yousef Nada who lived there between 1978 and 1982. They used Saudi money to build a national headquarters on a 42 acre site in the community of Plainfield, Indiana. There they created several MB fronts, the Muslim Students Association in 1963 at the University of Illinois, the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust.

Stakelbeck focuses on the 1993 Philadelphia Ikhwan summit that spawned the Congress of American Islamic Relations in his hometown. That October 1993 Summit at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott occurred shortly after the Oslo Accords was signed at the White House on September 13, 1993 by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late PLO-Fatah leader, Yasser Arafat. The MB Philadelphia summit brought together US MB leaders of the “Palestine Committee” who, as he noted “redoubled their efforts to serve the Palestinian cause on the US Front.” Unbeknownst to summit attendees the FBI had obtained a FISA court warrant to wire-tap the proceedings. The transcripts were used as evidence during the 2008 Federal Dallas trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development to obtain convictions of the Muslim charity’s leaders for funneling upwards of $35 million to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Holy Land Foundation trial also listed as unindicted co-conspirators a number of Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR, ISNA, MSA and the NAIT. The Summit attendees suggested that the Ikhwan needed a Washington presence. A year later the Council of American Islamic Relations was formed. 

Stakelbeck notes that CAIR’s access to the media, federal, state and local government, according to him was, “attempts to affect the dialogue on Islamism, Sharia, and the Palestinian jihad against Israel – and with great success in many cases. CAIR officials continue to have the ear of the Obama administration, just as they had access to the Bush and Clinton Administrations before it.” Stakelbeck quotes CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad, saying, “In order to strengthen the Islamic activism for Palestine in North America we must do two things: widening the Muslims circle of influence and reducing the Jews’ circle of influence.” The Amerikhwan plan was”‘to infiltrate American media outlets, universities and research centers.” Nihad Awad, CAIR’s current leader, suggested that meant a program of “training and qualifying individuals in the branches and communities on media activism through holding special courses on the media.”

Stakelbeck cites Hamas terrorism expert, Matthew Leavitt, on the central goals arising from the Philadelphia Summit:

(1) Support the holy struggle, Jihad; (2) Publicly distance their movement from Hamas to avoid media criticism and negative public perception; (3) affect Mass Mobilization; (4) actively solicit contributions and fundraising for Hamas; and (5) Influence the public opinion and the news media in the US.

While the FBI national office had cut relations with CAIR, relations at regional offices persist.

So what can America do to combat the MB in our midst? Stakelbeck has the following suggestions:

  • Ban all Muslim Brotherhood related groups currently operating on US soil.
  • Closely scrutinize the funding sources and ideology (especially Islamist anti-Semitism) of any new mosque. 
  • Withdraw financial support from Islamist regimes around the world, beginning from Egypt.
  • Hold the Islamist regime of Erdogan in Turkey accountable for radical words and actions.
  • Ensure by any means necessary, that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon.
  • Work for regime change in Iran.
  • Stand proudly and forcefully with the Jewish State of Israel – the Middle East’s only democracy – against the Islamists.
  • Support genuine Muslim moderates – while recognizing their limitations and difficult positions.

Perhaps, the Tamarod rebellion in Egypt that led to the ouster of former Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi by Egyptian strongman Gen. Al-Sisi might put a stop to the Ikhwan. Al-Sisi has aggressively jailed Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian leaders, crushed its violent cadres while Egypt’s High Court has banned it. You would figure that the events in Egypt in 2013 might change the world agenda of this insidious Islamist group founded by Hassan al Banna 85 years ago in Ismailiya. On a recent Lisa Benson National Security radio program, listen hear, when asked about the changes in Egypt with regard to the Ikhwan, Stakelbeck said, “remember the Muslim Brotherhood has 70 affiliates worldwide seeking to establish a global Caliphate.” The MB has gone through cycles of suppression in Egypt only to go underground and emerge in a new guise until the next opportunity arises to achieve its objective. 



Also see Jerry Gordon's collection of interviews, The West Speaks.


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