When Lawrence Wright set out to tell the story of the path to 9/11, he began with Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was the chief propagandist for the Muslim Brotherhood until his execution by the Egyptian government in 1966, and one of the leading contributors to contemporary Islamist ideology. Paul Berman calls him “The philosopher of Islamic terror.” Osama bin Laden was among his disciples.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest and most important Islamist organization in the Arab world. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get a handle on what it is up to. It conceives of its mission as a grand jihad of global Islamization. Patrick Poole makes the salient point that the Brotherhood has spawned virtually every Islamic terrorist organization in the world. Hamas, for example, is a formal branch of the Brotherhood. Discover the Networks usefully summarizes its history.
Andrew McCarthy explains in his most recent NRO column on the Brotherhood: “It is openly, unabashedly committed to the destruction of the United States and the West.” McCarthy’s NRO column is essential reading. Please check it out.
McCarthy’s column this week was provoked by news that the Obama administration is engaging the Brotherhood as part of its approach to the Arab world. The Wall Street Journal reports, for example, that Secretary Clinton said the Obama administration is now seeking “limited contacts” with Muslim Brotherhood members ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt later this year.
Clinton explained: “It is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence. We welcome, therefore, dialogue with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us.”
I find the explanation astounding. But that’s not all. The Obama administration would also like to extend American financial support to the fine gentlemen of the Brotherhood: “A senior Obama administration official said Muslim Brotherhood members would also be eligible to participate along with other Egyptian parties, if they choose, in U.S. taxpayer-funded political-party training seminars.” The only hitch is that the Brotherhood hasn’t so far shown much interest in taking part.
The charitable interpretation of events is that the Obama administration is clueless. These people are going to get us killed. I hope someone is paying attention.