In light of US citizenship laws and policies, let us consider this scenario, an American citizen, whose father, grandfather, or perhaps himself, immigrated to the United States and acquired the citizenship. Now let us consider that this individual was brought up in an environment that was highly influenced by the values of the Muslim Brotherhood.
By “Muslim Brotherhood values,” I do not mean piety, righteousness, and fear of God, but rather, political radicalism.
Now what would happen if this individual became a member of the US government or an influential official in security and political issues concerning the Middle East? Or if that individual is an influential decision maker on matters related to the Arab country of his origin?
From early on, the migration of the Brotherhood to the West has long been established. And now, this segment found all over Western countries represents the third generation of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates.
Lorenzo Vidino, an Italian academic and security expert, published a study under the name The Muslim Brotherhood in the West: Evolution and Western policies in February 2011. In that study, the Italian researcher emphasizes the complexity and contrast of Western policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood. He emphasizes that the policymaking process of virtually all Western countries on the issue can only be described as schizophrenic, and incapable of reaching a firm judgment about the Brotherhood’s “nonviolent” Islamism.
According to Vidino, analysts can be divided into optimists and pessimists. Optimists argue that the New Western Brothers are no longer preoccupied with creating Islamic states in the Muslim world, but rather, they focus on social and political issues concerning Muslims in the West. Their main goal is simply to encourage the integration of Western Muslim communities, offering a moderate model in which Muslims can live their faith while becoming actively engaged citizens.
Meanwhile, pessimists believe that the new Western Brothers are engaged in a slow but steady social engineering program, aimed at Islamizing Western populations, and influencing their identity to serve the Brotherhood’s agenda.
The Italian writer also reveals one of the tricks that the new Western Brothers use to mislead the West and strengthen their position inside the community. He points to the constant discrepancy between the new Western Brothers’ internal and external discourses as a sign of their duplicitous nature. In the media and in dialogues, Brotherhood leaders publicly avow the group’s dedication to integration and democracy, tailoring their rhetoric to what they know their audience wants to hear.
Yet, when speaking in Arabic, Urdu, or Turkish, they often drop the act and foster an “us versus them” mentality that is the antithesis of integration and tolerance. While they publicly condemn terrorist operations in their official statements, they continue to raise money for these terrorist organizations.
Similarly, writer Martyn Frampton, in his book entitled The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement, reveals the history of relations between the West and the Muslim Brotherhood starting from their inception until 2010 by relying on British and American official archived documents.
Frampton believes that there is no doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood is inveterately hostile to the West; however, despite this enmity and lack of alignment in their ideologies, the West appears to be dealing with this movement and its affiliates in a ruthlessly pragmatic and opportunistic manner. These Western countries seem to be only concerned with serving their own interests.
As researcher Frampton says, UK’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood has always adopted the British Machiavellian principle of “the best of enemies.” The United States shared this view with the UK in its relationships with the Brotherhood, and perhaps the example on befriending the enemy is the British-American spy and orientalist Heyworth-Dunne, which was explained by the Saudi researcher Ali al-Omaim in the introduction of his book on Heyworth-Dunne.
Finally, researcher Hany Ghoraba said, the Muslim Brotherhood activists in the US have managed to reach various institutions. He cited the example of a key Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood proxy in the US, the “Egyptian-Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFAJ).” The EAFAJ met with Elizabeth Warren, a former Democratic presidential candidate, and one of the lead supporters of the Obama Administration.
This tells us that it is safe to assume that American officials appointed to key positions could have Brotherhood affiliations.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.