How the CIA Helped The Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrate the West
by Jerry Gordon (August 2011)
Muslim Brotherhood and founder Hasan al-Banna
In April of 2007, then House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer had an encounter with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood representatives in Cairo. Fox News reported:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliament leader, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday — once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.
U.S. Embassy spokesman John Berry would only confirm that Hoyer, who represents Maryland, met with el-Katatni at U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s home at a reception with other politicians and parliament members.
[. . .]
But Berry said U.S. government policy does not bar meetings with Brotherhood members of parliament and Hoyer's talks with el-Katatni were not a change in U.S. policy toward the group.
"It's our diplomatic practice around the world to meet with parliamentarians, be they members of political parties or independents," Berry said. "We haven't changed our policy with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization."
This encounter with the Muslim Brotherhood, who controlled upwards of one fifth of the seats in Egypt’s Parliament as so-called independents, was not sanctioned by Bush Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She had allegedly refused to meet with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Representatives. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, founder of Z Street commented to us in an Iconoclast blog post:
The Muslim Brotherhood is evil incarnate: This is their motto: “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 hope.”
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was founded by fundamentalist Egyptian school teacher, Hasan al Banna in 1928. He advocated violent Jihad and the replacement of secular governments with a worldwide totalitarian Caliphate governed under strict Islamic Shariah law. Banna became a devotee of Adolf Hitler, who was himself an admirer of Islam and militarist Jihad conquest. Despite Banna’s assassination by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk in 1949, the MB succeeded in establishing branches throughout the Middle East, such as Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Jordan and Syria. There are even branches in Europe and America. The Hamas Charter of 1988 seeks the obliteration of the Jewish State of Israel. Among MB fronts in the US are:
- Council of American Islamic Relations;
- Islamic Society of North America;
- Islamic Circle of North America;
- Muslim Students Association;
- Muslim American Society;
- International Institute for Islamic Thought; and,
- Muslim Public Affairs Council.
These MB fronts were identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the Federal Holy Land Foundation trial with convictions in 2008, involving the funneling of upwards of $36 million to Palestinian MB affiliate Hamas in Gaza. Uncovered in the HLF trial was a 1991 strategy plan of the MB in the US to overthrow our Constitution and form of government via ‘stealth Jihad’ and replacing it with a Shariah–ruled Caliphate.
The Arab Spring and US Relations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
President Obama at al-Azhar University Cairo, June, 2009 “A New Beginning” Speech
With the election of President Obama in November 2008 and his Muslim Outreach initiative, exemplified by his Cairo “A New Beginnings Speech” at al Azhar University, the Obama administration extended a welcome to the MB. Investor’s Business Daily noted the ensuing chronology of events, punctuated by the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 that swept the heartland of the Muslim ummah.
2009: The White House invites ISNA’s president to President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies, even though the Justice Department just two years earlier had blacklisted the Brotherhood affiliate as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial — the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.
2009: Obama delivers his Cairo speech to Muslims, infuriating the Mubarak regime by inviting Brotherhood leaders to attend.
2009: The White House dispatches top presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett to give the keynote speech at ISNA’s annual convention.
2009: Obama appoints a Brotherhood-tied Islamist — Rashad Hussain — as U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which strongly supports the Brotherhood.
2010: Hussain meets with the Brotherhood’s grand mufti in Egypt.
2011: White House sends intelligence czar James Clapper to Capitol Hill to whitewash the Brotherhood’s extremism. Clapper testifies the group is a moderate, “largely secular” organization.
2011: The Brotherhood’s spiritual leader — Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi — is given a hero’s welcome in Tahrir Square, where he raises the banner of jihad. Qaradawi, exiled from Egypt for 30 years, had been calling for “days of rage” before the rioting in Egypt. Before Obama’s Cairo speech, Qaradawi wrote an open letter to the President arguing [Islamic] terrorism is a direct response to U.S. foreign policy.
2011: The Brotherhood vows to tear up Egypt’s 30-year peace treaty with Israel. Since Mubarak’s fall, it has worked to formally reestablish Cairo’s ties with Hamas and Hezbollah.
2011: Obama gives Mideast speech demanding Israel relinquish land to Palestinians.
2011: White House security adviser gives friendly speech at Washington-area mosque headed by ISNA’s new president.
2011: Justice Department pulls plug on further prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood front groups identified as collaborators in conspiracy to funnel millions to Hamas.
What is not well known is that the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood to the west was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War Era as part of an anti-Soviet, anti-Communism initiative during the Eisenhower Administration. The creation of an Islamic Center in Munich, involved an ex-Nazi Turkologist, and former Nazi Muslim veterans from the Soviet Muslim satellites which were captured by advancing German forces during WWII in the Caucasus and Crimea. The CIA funded Hasan al Banna’s son-in-law to advance the MB cause via the World Muslim League. This resulted in an MB beachhead in the US launched from the Munich Islamic Center.
The Muslim Brotherhood Mosque in Munich
In an interview in the New English Review, Sam Solomon had this comment about the functions of a Mosque:
A mosque is a seat of government. A mosque is a school. A mosque is a court. A mosque is a training center. A mosque is a gathering place, or social center. It is not a place of “worship” per se as understood and as practiced in Western societies.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ian Johnson illustrates that conclusively in his investigative book, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, CIA and the Rise of The Muslim Brotherhood in the West. Johnson earned his Pulitzer for a Wall Street Journal series about the Chinese religious group, Fulan Gong. He has been a long time resident in Germany and until early in 2010, was the Berlin Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal. His book is about how an accidental discovery of a map in a “Londonistan” extremist Muslim bookstore, where he had been a regular customer, triggered five years of research into the MB mosque in Germany that led to his book. Johnson notes the accidental discovery:
Wandering the aisles, I noticed a peculiar map of the world. [. . .]Famous mosques decorated the edge of the map- the Grand mosque in Mecca, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the wondrous Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the Islamic Center of Munich.
Johnson goes on to note:
Almost all of the Brotherhood’s activities in the West originated among the small groups of people who ran the Mosque. Munich was the beach-head from which the brotherhood spread into Western society.
But he notes the cautionary aspect of this tale:
The parallel between the 1950’s and today are striking. [. . .]. Now like a half century ago in Munich, western societies are seeking Muslim allies . . . Munich shows the danger of doing so without careful reflection and scrutiny.
To which we would add the dangers of an intelligence community thoroughly mis-informed about basic Islamic Jihad doctrine. A doctrine that most post WWII administrations in Washington have evaded acknowledging as the primary threat facing this county and the West in the 21st century.
Watch this You Tube Video by author Ian Johnson at the New American Foundation discussing his book, A Mosque in Munich.
Gerhard von Mende, ex-Nazi Turkologist
The mosque in the Munich saga begins with the seminal role played by ex- Nazi Turkologist and antisemite Gerhard von Mende, an ethnic German, born in Riga, Latvia. He held a PhD in Soviet Studies and Economics from Berlin University and ultimately became a full professor there. Von Mende was a talented linguist, spoke Turkish and several Central Asian variants, Arabic, Russian, French, English and even Norwegian, his wife’s native language. Von Mende also wrote blatant antisemitic tracts. Johnson notes this from a von Mende book, The Peoples of the Soviet Union:
"Bolshevism has given a push to the expansion of those Jewish circles, which reject all alliances except for a blood-defined cliquish confederacy . . . It seems that the main danger of Judaism for other peoples lies in the fact that it is a unit not comparable to a nation, but in its unity it surpasses the unity of some nations."
Johnson notes that von Mende engaged in such screed because:
". . . his reason for hating Jews was exactly his reason for embracing Soviet Muslims. He rejected Jews because of their extra-national links, yet he advocated the use of Soviet Muslims precisely because of their lack of allegiance to the Soviet state."
Von Mende, while at Berlin University, wrote extensively about Muslim irredentism in the Soviet Caucasus, Crimea and Central Asian republics, the latter referred to as Turkistan. Pre-war books by von Mende predicted the rise of independent Muslim states if a "severe shock" to the Soviet Union occurred either by invasion, akin to the failed German attack during WWII, or what occurred in the wake of the fall of the Soviet empire and its break up in 1991. When Nazi Germany launched Operation Babarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia in June, 1941, von Mende joined the Hitler-era Ostministerium – the bureaucracy for administering the occupied territories in the East - to build an initiative aimed at cultivating irredentist Muslim movements in overrun Soviet territory. Von Mende was one of the mid-level bureaucrats who participated in the Wannsee conference in January 1942. The Ostministerium oversaw the implementation of the Final Solution of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews. Despite SS engineered overhauls in 1943 of the Ostministerium, von Mende survived to become overall head of the Foreign Peoples Division, with overall responsibility for dealing with irredentist Muslim communities in Soviet areas overrun by the German army.
In the initial Nazi invasion of Russia hundreds of thousands of Soviet Muslim soldiers were captured. These Muslim Soviet POWs were initially maltreated. A German officer and Uzbek ex-pat living in Germany, Veli Kayum, entered the camps and enlisted their aid in forming fighting military units to combat their former Soviet masters. Kayum ultimately becomes head of a Turkestan National Liberation Council. Another Uzbek and von Mende protégé, Baymirza Hayit, became liaison to the German High Command. Several hundred thousand former Soviet Muslim POWs joined this effort and formed Waffen SS units akin to those in the Balkans, like the Bosnian Handshar or Dagger Division. One such Caucasian unit had regular German uniforms with a distinctive patch (Biz Alla Bilen – “God With Us”). These Soviet Muslim cadres in German units were used in the unsuccessful relief of Stalingrad and as special ops units in Operation Zeppelin. That operation involved the parachuting of Soviet Muslims into Russian territory equipped with maps and radios as pathfinders and possible saboteurs of petroleum complexes in Grozny and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Other former Soviet Muslim POWs become functionaries at the Ostministerium in Berlin and were organized into national liberation desks engaged in propaganda broadcasts –a model for post WWII CIA-funded efforts at Radio Liberty. One of those who figures in post-WWII activities with the CIA funded Radio Liberty is Tatar, Garip Sultan, who held the Tatar liberation desk at the Nazi Ostministerium. Sultan was promoted to military governor of the Tartar provisional government by the Nazis. One of von Mende’s initiatives bore significant results when over 20,000 Tatars joined Waffen SS auxiliaries after the Nazis took the Crimea. Von Mende reached out to Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini and asked him to consider taking the post of Mufti for the conquered Crimea. Von Mende wrote Husseini:
“The Islamic world is a whole . . . German action towards Moslems in the east must be such as not to prejudice Germany’s standing among all Islamic Peoples.”
Hitler, when queried about the Waffen SS formation of these Soviet POW Muslims, considered them as "safe." As we know from the biography of his munitions chief Albert Speer, Hitler was an admirer of Islam and Jihadism. However the rollback by Soviet forces in 1944 put a stop to that effort.
With the collapse of the Nazi eastern front, von Mende arranged for Muslim units to be transferred to the Western front so as to fall into British and US hands. These units were fighting for the national liberation of their Muslim homelands and attempting to practice their faith. He thought might appeal to the Americans in particular.
HIs thinking may have been the result of an encounter with fabled OSS agent “Ruppert” during the late stages of WWII in Germany when he interviewed von Mende about the anti-Soviet Muslim national liberation activities and contacts at the office he headed in the Ostministerium. Von Mende sought possible refuge by crossing into Switzerland, only to be returned to Germany as the War in Europe came to a close. In October, 1945 Von Mende made contact with the British who appeared to be interested in his Ostministerium network because of the Promethean League members who were anti-Soviet émigrés. Some Muslim units interviewed by US Army CIC evaded return to ultimate imprisonment and death in a Soviet Gulag under the terms of Yalta agreement. As Johnson notes, perhaps upwards of a few thousand of these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers end up in Displaced Persons Camps near Munich, the largest city in the American sector of post-war Germany. Von Mende, despite his Nazi background, was interviewed by the CIA, given the code name Capriform and received a position at the University of Munich, as cover. The CIA was very interested in inserting agents into Soviet territory. Ultimately, however, the CIA rejected his suggested approach to information gathering and covert propaganda warfare. Nevertheless, von Mende ultimately thrived by running an independent consultancy in Dusseldorf until his death in 1963. That consultancy was supported initially by British Intelligence and later, with the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, by BND Intelligence, Refugee Programs and the Foreign Ministry to monitor Muslim émigrés. Those new émigrés included wartime Caucasian and Central Asian Muslim Waffen SS alumni. Among them were Garip Sultan, Ibrahim Gacoglu, and Nurredin Namangani, an Uzbek Imam of an SS division who survived a term in a Soviet gulag. Some became involved in CIA covert anti–Soviet activities during pilgrimages to Mecca.
Namagani figures prominently in the failed attempt by these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers to take control of the Munich Mosque as sought by von Mende. His legacy lived on in the CIA-backed Radio Liberty in Munich with its national liberation desk organization based on his Ostministerium experience, replete with members from the ex-Muslim soldiers’ network. Several of these former Nazi Muslim soldiers were employed by CIA operatives at the American Committee of Liberation’s (Amcomlib) Munich–based Radio Liberty.
President Eisenhower with the Princeton Islam Seminar Delegation at the White House, July 1953.
Said Ramadan is the second on the right.
Enter Said Ramadan the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood Founder, Hassan al-Banna
Johnson notes that at one point AMCOMLIB CIA officers Eric Kuniholm and Robert Dreher, the latter based in Munich, provided funding for Dr. Said Ramadan. Ramadan with the connivance of Haj Amin Al Husseini spread the political Islamic doctrine of the MB via the World Muslim League. The League was co-founded by the Grand Mufti, al Husseini, and Ramadan. The core of the MB doctrine was the restoration of the Caliphate which had ended with establishment of modern Turkey in 1924. The Caliph would enforce strict Islamic Law in the ummah - the community of believers. Ramadan married one of daughters of Egyptian MB founder Hassan al-Banna, who was assassinated in 1949 by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the MB founder, thought Ramadan could “have been the foreign Minister of the MB. He was an eloquent orator and spoke English. He had many contacts overseas.” Ramadan and the Grand Mufti held a meeting in Karachi during the World Muslim Congress in 1951. Ramadan was then elected as a secretary of the Congress. Ramadan was also with the Grand Mufti in the Jerusalem-based Islamic General Congress. Among his colleagues in the MB was Sayyid Qutb, the MB’s principal modern theorist and author of the tract Milestones. Qutb propounded the view that those who disagreed with these Islamic principals were apostates and therefore subject to a death.
Despite viewing the West as degenerate, Said Ramadan viewed Soviet Communism as the foremost enemy of Islam. In this he was following the line laid done by the Grand Mufti. As early as 1946, the US War Department observed that the Mufti had informed his followers that Communism violated Koranic doctrine. That made him an influential Muslim anti-Communist. However, the Mufti was viewed as tainted goods by the CIA given his Nazi-past and sojourn in Berlin as Hitler’s house guest during WWII. Ramadan, on the other hand, had so such baggage. The stage was set for an encounter with President Eisenhower at a 1953 Princeton University Islamic Colloquium. Johnson noted:
Abbott Washburn deputy director of the US Information Agency . . . recalled the high priority that Eisenhower gave to religion in his personal life and in geopolitical strategy.
Washburn sent a note to Eisenhower’s psychological warfare whiz, C.D. Jackson. That [the Princeton Islamic Colloquium] might achieve a hoped for result that the Muslims will be impressed with the moral and spiritual strength of America. These individuals can exert a profound and far-reaching impact upon Muslim thinking. Their long-term influence may well outweigh that of the political leaders of their countries.
As articulated in a confidential memo by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the hope was “this psychological approach might make some important contributions to both short and long term US political objectives in the Moslem area.” The objectives were to “guide and promote the Islamic Renaissance," meaning the MB. (However, the MB had a political rather than a cultural objective.) That led the US government to reach out to US-Saudi oil conglomerate ARAMCO to underwrite the travel grants for this Princeton program. In July 1953, the US Embassy in Cairo invited Ramadan to the 10-day Princeton program. Ramadan and other participants then traveled to Washington for a photo-op with President Eisenhower in the White House. The CIA subsequently did an analysis of Ramadan at the Princeton conference and concluded that “Ramadan seems to be a fascist, interested in . . . power. He did not display many ideas except for those of the [MB].”
The CIA Encourages Support of the MB in Eisenhower’s Second Administration
Dr. Said Ramadan, Circa 1960
The encounters with Ramadan at Princeton in 1953, despite skepticism, nonetheless encouraged the Eisenhower Administration during his second term to provide support for the MB. This was viewed largely as a response to Soviet influence in Egypt under Nasser. In a letter to Presbyterian Church leader Edward Elson, Eisenhower wrote:
“I assure you that I never fail in any communication with Arab leaders, oral or written, to stress the importance of the spiritual factor in our relationships. I have argued that belief in God should create between them and us the common purpose of opposing atheistic communism.”
The real motivating factor was th possibility of jihad against Communism. Eisenhower spoke about this in a memo summarizing discussions with the CIA covert ops chief, Frank Wisner who figures in Obama’s Arab Spring scenario in 2011, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The memo notes:
The President said . . . we should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect. Mr. Dulles commented that if Arabs have a ‘holy war’ they would want it to be against Israel. The President recalled, however, that [King Ibn] Saud . . . had called on all Arabs to oppose Communism.
The ad hoc Working Group on Islam, including officials from the US Information Agency, State Department and the CIA created an “Outline of Operations.” The major push was to back the "reformists," meaning the MB, versus so-called "reactionary groups."
The CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination was the paymaster for this plan. They relied on Dreher the CIA agent at AMCOMLIB in Munch to set up the flow of funds to Muslim émigré groups. The focus in the mid-1950’s was on the series on non-aligned Nation Conferences at Bandung in Indonesia. The CIA used Said Shamil, a wealthy Dagestan Muslim, to badger delegates with petitions against Soviet suppression of Islam. Another émigré accomplice was Rusi Nasar, an Uzbek who had previously gone on pilgrimages to Mecca for AMCOMLIB and who directly attacked the Soviet delegation at the Second Bandung conference.
But the emphasis was on supporting Ramadan, a major figure in the Muslim ummah.
In the late 1950’s, a West German intelligence report surfaced that accused the US of being involved in securing Ramadan’s Jordanian passport, while Swiss intelligence said he was a US agent.
Ramadan’s base had clearly shifted to Europe. In 1959 he left the Sudan, and made Geneva his permanent home.
Ramadan, with covert CIA help, reached the pinnacle of his influence with the assumption of leadership of the World Muslim League in the 1960’s. In 1963, he gave King Saud the official proposal to found the League and was granted a diplomatic passport as Ambassador-at-large for the League. Ramadan, however, rejected Saudi funds and ended up traveling the world on a Pakistani passport.
Ramadan was always contemptuous of US intelligence. As one report noted:
Ramadan held no hatred for the American people, only amazement at the incompetence of the American intelligence community and its seemingly endless reliance on corruption to get what it wanted.
Ramadan’s Role in Taking Over the Munich Islamic Center for the MB
Ramadan, while continuing to be a person of interest to the US, had problems given his virulently anti-Israel views. He told US diplomats in Rabat, Morocco in 1956 that “Jews must be expelled from Palestine,” a precursor of the MB affiliate Hamas Charter of 1988.
With an attempted 1954 assassination plot by the MB on the life of Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ramadan fled Egypt for Saudi Arabia. He and other MB conspirators were charged with treason and stripped of their Egyptian citizenship. Jordan gave him a diplomatic passport and even “sent him to West Germany as Ambassador-at-large.” Ramadan eventually received asylum status in Switzerland. Given his new home in Geneva, Ramadan completed his doctorate in Islamic Law (Shariah) at a German University while traveling around the Muslim ummah on behalf of the World Muslim Congress.
On Christmas Day in 1958 he met with the ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers and several Muslim students seeking to establish an Islamic Center in Munich. According to Muhammad Abdel Karim Grimm, a German convert and Muslim activist, “the students were all well-educated, they had all learned the lessons of Hasan al-Banna.”
Mahdi Akef Supreme leader of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
While first welcomed as a respected figure in the Muslim ummah, Ramadan fomented infighting over who would lead the Islamic Center in Munich. That resulted in the seizure of control from von Mende’s ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers by Ramadan and a group of Muslim students. The students in turn were replaced by a succession of MB figures including Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian businessman, who headed the Islamic Center for over 30 years from his base in Lugano, Switzerland. He was assisted by Egyptian businessman Youssef Nada who secured funds mainly from Libya (both pre and post Gaddafi takeover) to complete the construction of the Munich Islamic Center which opened in 1973. Mahdi Akef, current supreme leader of the Egyptian MB. headed the Munich Islamic center for four years from 1984 to 1987.
Ramadan’s Assassination Plots in Egypt and Washington
Ramadan wasn’t finished by any means.
In 1965, Ramadan was once again involved with MB underground teams in Egypt from his base in Geneva plotting to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser. This time the plot was foiled by a tip from King Hussein’s Jordanian intelligence service. An MB operative in President Nasser's personal Honor Guard was poised to assassinate him. News of the plot resulted in Egyptian security detaining more than more than 6,000 conspirators. Perhaps in revenge for this attempt by the MB, Nasser had MB theoretician Sayyid Qtub executed in 1966.
Although Ramadan was a neo-Salafist Sunni, that did not, dissuade him from reaching out to Shia Mahdists like Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as they shared many of the same objectives, including the destruction of Israel. Because of his trips to Washington, DC. Ramadan made the acquaintance of disaffected African American ex-military who had converted to Islam. These Muslim converts engaged in a series of actions against Iranian ex-pat supporters of the late Shah who were planning a counter-coup against the new Islamic regime in Tehran. Ramadan thought this information might of use to Khomenei who was preparing a revolution in Iran from his base in Paris. The Ayatollah convened his Islamic Council in Paris, whereupon upwards of $5.0 million was provided to recruit African-American converts to his cause. An Iranian naturalized American citizen, Bahram Nahidian, who was a rug merchant and supporter of the Ayatollah in Washington, DC became Ramadan’s recruiter of these converts for operations against supporters of the late Shah. An Afro American Islamic convert, David Belfield, a.k.a. Dawud Salahuddin was recruited for the assassination of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’e, a counter-coup plotter and coup organizer. Tabatabai’e was shot at point blank range by Salahuddin disguised as a US postal worker at Tabatabai’e’s residence in Bethesda, Maryland on July 22, 1980. Salahuddin fled the US to Geneva, where Ramadan gave him temporary refuge. Despite initial objections by the Iranian Embassy in Switzerland, Salahuddin was cleared and fled to Tehran where he obtained sanctuary under Ayatollah Khomenei.
Professor Tariq Ramadan Son of Said Ramadan and Grandson of MB Founder Hasan al-Banna
One of Ramadan’s two sons is controversial professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in the UK. The younger Ramadan was denied entry to the US by the Bush State Department because of his charitable contributions to Hamas, an MB affiliate. Federal court decisions in 2008 led to Tariq Ramadan being granted a visa.
Said Ramadan died in Switzerland in 1995.
The Munich Islamic Center Spawns MB Affiliates in the US
Youssef Nada, Egyptian Financier of MB in US
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.
International Institute Islamic Society of North America
Of Islamic Thought
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. He became a voting member of the Munich Islamic Center in 1978. The trio of Tontonji, Barzinji and Altallib, after study in Britain, left for the US in the 1960’s. In 1962, Tontonji formed the oldest MB front in the US, the Muslim Student Association. The first MSA National chapter was formed in 1963 at the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which launched ISNA. The National MSA has grown to more than several hundred chapters on high school, college and university campuses throughout the US and Canada. Perhaps the most notorious of which is the Muslim Student Union at U.C. Irvine in Orange County, California whose members were indicted for disrupting the speech of Israeli Ambassador to the US, Hon. Michael Oren in February, 2010.
The Lugano trio of three Iraqis, Totonji, Barzinji and Altallib, settled in Indianapolis. They were joined by benefactor 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 North American Islamic Trust, used to provide Shariah compliant mortgages for mosque construction and expansion, the Muslim Student Association and the largest Muslim advocacy group in the US, the Islamic Society of North America.
"... an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a key target of Operation Green Quest. Totonji was also named as a defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks.
He acted as a co-founder and officer of the Saudi-founded/Saudi-funded (and now defunct) SAAR Trust. Additionally, he served as Vice President of the Safa Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). Officials have linked the non-profit IIIT to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda..."
What we have learned in this cautionary tale of early US involvement with the MB during the Cold War era, is how myopic this country’s leaders have been about the international political agenda of the Ikhwan. Hopes to use the MB in a "holy war" against Soviet Communism backfired. Consider too the feckless nature of the CIA during the secret war in Afghanistan with Saudi partners against Soviet forces, the so-called Charlie Wilson’s War of the 1980’s. That effort was spawned by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski under President Carter in 1979 and was another anti-Soviet attempt to use a "holy war," along with billions from the US, the Saudis and the corrupt Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence service, to weaken the USSR. After the Soviet 40th Army retreated from Afghanistan in 1989, al Qaeda, followers of the MB Islamic doctrine of Qutb, arose to afflict us with global Islamic terror. The Bush Administration while feigning refusal to meet with the MB in Egypt, nevertheless cultivated the successor to the World Muslim League founded by Said Ramadan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a virtual Caliphate composed of 57 Muslim nations. In 2007, President Bush appointed the first special envoy to the OIC, giving it embassy status in Washington, DC. In the wake of the Arab spring in Egypt, the Obama Administration has reached out to the Egyptian MB that might become the ruling party if, as expected, their new Freedom and Justice Party receives a plurality in the coming elections this fall.
What is that careworn French expression? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, “the more things change the more they stay the same.” Said Ramadan must indeed be smiling at these developments. However remote, the enticement of a worldwide Caliphate, long sought by the Muslim Brotherhood, now looms large, threatening the West and the Muslim world, as fanatics regain a concrete goal upon which to fasten their grandiose schemes.
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