Muslim Brotherhood

From the Hudson’s Insitute’s Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World, a talk by Gilles Kepel, one of the world authorities on Islamism, regarding the Muslim Brotherhood (along with Hillel Fradkin). Link to page here. Then click the link for 9:15-11:15 talk, it’s a transcript in pdf form of the discussion.

The two discuss the MB as the first truly Islamist organization (wiki on MB here, flagged for possible neutrality issues). Founded by Hassan al Banna, a schoolteacher, in 1920s Egypt, they are massively different than the rise of al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda’s main theorist, Ayman al Zawahiri, was an Egyptian who formed Islamic Jihad (later merged with bin Laden’s AQ) as a result of thinking the MB had sold out. The Brotherhood split around the detente with Anwar Sadat after the horrors perpetrated on the MB by Gen. Nasser (including killing Sayid Qutb, the godfather of international jihad).

The MB is what Ali Eteraz helpfully calls the “Islamic right”.

Interestingly, Salafism, as Fradkin writes, began with the forerunners of the “Islamic left” (modernizing Islamic reformers): Muhammad Abduh and his disciples al-Afghani and Rashid Rida. As Eteraz has shown, this line was the dominant one until the US started supporting the Islamic Right (big time the MB, also the jihad in Afghanistan, Saudi oil money, Israel supporting Hamas against PLO) as a bulwark against Soviet communism.

But Salafism in this sense means the critiquing of the medieval clerical phase of Islam (ulema). A “Protestant” move of individuals and small groups returning to the text and idealizing the earliest phase of the religion, while simultaneously being anti-Western imperialism. Abduh, a hero of liberal Islam, was still very anti-Western colonial occupation. He wanted to reform Islam so that it could kick out the European colonizers. (more…)

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Published in: on November 24, 2007 at 10:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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