In May 2021, the GIOR reported that in reaction to the violent clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the armed conflict between militant Palestinian groups and Israel, Global Muslim Brotherhood groups had issued statements calling on European institutions and the international community to condemn Israeli actions and to intercede on behalf of Palestinian citizens in East Jerusalem. Israeli actions in the conflict were described in terms such as “terror,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “desecration,” while no condemnation or mention was made of Hamas rocket attacks directed at Israeli civilians.
In stark contrast, while political leaders and governments around the world have roundly condemned the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan following the pull-out of American troops, several organizations and individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian terrorist groups have issued communiqués congratulating the Taliban on their victory and praising their “courageous leadership.” Mentions of the Taliban’s human rights record and past violence towards women were left out entirely. According to a Facebook post by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS):
August 16, 2021 Overall, the International Union of Muslim Scholars [IUMS] is upbeat and relieved by the recent changes in the last days and weeks in Afghanistan […], especially in the last two days in Kabul. The [IUMS] is upbeat and optimistic and congratulates the Afghan people as well as their leadership, especially in the Taliban, on these steps and on this new phase that has started [to] now form in Afghanistan. [Google translated from Arabic.]
Read the rest here.
IUMS also called the takeover from American and European forces an “Afghan achievement thanks to jihad, patience, and sacrifices.” The IUMS is an international body of Muslim theologians based in Doha, Qatar, whose leadership is closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB). Until recently, it was led by GMB spiritual guide Youssef Qaradawi. Several prominent European Muslim faith leaders tied to the GMB were IUMS members and/or have served as IUMS Trustees. In May 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that a leading IUMS scholar had advocated the killing of all Jews living in Palestine.
The Islamic Action Front party extends its deepest congratulations and blessings to the brotherly Afghan people on the defeat of the brutal American occupation of the entire Afghan lands at the hands of the Mujahideen from the Taliban movement and the entire Afghan people. [Google translated from Arabic.]
Arab media is reporting on yet another similar statement published by the Sudanese Popular Congress Party, founded by early Sudanese MB leader Hassan Al-Turabi, and which since 2016 has been headed by Ibrahim El Sanousi, another leader in the country’s Muslim Brotherhood.
On 15 August 2021, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement in control of the Gaza Strip, congratulated the Taliban for their “victory” in returning to power in Afghanistan. According to an Israeli newspaper reporting on the press release:August 16, 2021 The Hamas terror group praised the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on Monday, calling it “a victory that came as the culmination of more than 20 years of struggle.” In a statement, the terror group said it “congratulates the Afghani Muslim nation for the downfall of the American occupation in all Afghani territory.”
Read the rest here.
Hamas-affiliated accounts have also disseminated photos from a meeting earlier this year between Hamas and Taliban leadership in Doha, Qatar. During that meeting, the Taliban praised Hamas’ victory in the May 2021 flare-up of the armed conflict between militant Palestinian groups and Israel. According to Israeli media, the meeting took place in the Taliban office in Doha, where Haniyeh has been based for the past two years. The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine,” and a Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons. Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the GMB. Also, on 16 August 2021, the Palestinian terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has published a similar statement congratulating the Taliban on their conquest and hailing the “liberation” of Afghani land.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the most influential Muslim organizations in the US and a part of the GMB, has shied away from praising the prospect of an Afghanistan ruled by Islamist fundamentalists, although seemingly accepting the Taliban’s rapid assumption of power. Instead, CAIR focused on highlighting the need for humanitarian assistance, taking in Afghan refugees, and what it calls “Islam’s teachings” of fair treatment for women: According to a press release on the CAIR website:
August 16, 2021 The people of Afghanistan must now decide the future of that nation on their own, without foreign military interference. We hope and pray that the Afghan people will soon establish a representative government that reflects Afghanistan’s diversity and Islam’s teachings of justice, mercy, human rights, and fair treatment for all people, especially women, who have the God-given right to learn, travel, earn a living and live in dignity.
Read the rest here.
Earlier, CAIR said officials and journalists reporting about the political upheaval in Afghanistan should refrain from using terms like “Islamist” and “jihadist,” dubiously describing them as “fictional terms with no Arabic equivalent” and alleging they were used to misconstrue Islam as a political ideology. CAIR describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time.
In a 15 August 2021 tweet, British GMB leader Anas Al-Tikriti – while at the same time celebrating western defeat in Afghanistan – also stopped short of praising the Taliban movement outright:
I celebrate the defeat of any and all forms of occupation, wherever they stand. But to those who are demanding that I celebrate the coming of #Taliban I say; Fighting is easy. The hard part is running a country & building a society on the basis of justice & freedom.
In contrast, on 17 August 2021, British Islamic scholar Haitham Al-Haddad published a Facebook post referring positively to a future Taliban government in Afghanistan while calling to mind past failures of Islamist rule in the Arab world:
The Taliban’s recent victory should not only make us content and happy but rather should encourage us towards working hard to secure and maintain this victory by ensuring the uprightness of vision and governance. We have previously rejoiced over several victories, but they were soon followed by much pain, sadness and great losses.
Read the rest here.
Al-Haddad, the founder of the Muslim Relief and Development Foundation, rose to prominence as a Salafi extremist preacher and has been called “one of the most dangerous men in Britain” by the counter-extremist Quilliam Foundation due to his adherence to the Salafi movement within Sunni Islam. Reporting by our predecessor publication Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) has noted that Al-Haddad has been a featured speaker for the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, an umbrella grouping of most major university Islamic societies in the UK with close ties to the GMB.
On 18 August 2021, the head of Germany’s main GMB umbrella Deutsche Muslimische Gemeinschaft (DMG), published a tweet playing down the Taliban’s violations of women’s rights by comparing them to France’s anti-veiling laws:
What is the difference between France and the Taliban in terms of women and school? [France] says women are only allowed to enter school without a headscarf, [the Taliban] say that women are only allowed to enter school with a headscarf. In principle, it sounds the same. [Translated from German original.]
Swaid is one of the co-founders of the German MB youth organization Muslimische Jugend in Deutschland and at one time also headed its European parent Forum of Muslim Youth and Student Organizations. Swaid acts as the chairman of the association behind the German chapter of the Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines.
For the GIOR position on the Global Muslim Brotherhood as an influence operation, go here.