“The Muslim Brotherhood and the Gospel of Christ”

An astonishing guest opinion piece 1 featured in the February 11 edition of Christianity Today Direct challenges Christians in the West, including “many evangelicals,” to rethink what the author describes as “a deep and abiding prejudice” against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt (a prejudice which he says evangelicals share with “the U.S. foreign policy community”). The article was written by Bob Kubinec, who is described as “a consultant who lives in Washington, D.C. He has studied and done research on religious and political issues in Egypt and Jordan, and has an M.A. in Middle East Studies from George Washington University.”

Christianity Today notes that as a guest opinion piece this article does not necessarily represent CT‘s opinion. However, CT chooses what to publish and bears the responsibility that goes with that decision. Unfortunately, it seems to be yet another example in a growing list of articles which represent poor decisions on the part of Christianity Today’s editorial staff, particularly for a publication that claims to be a voice for evangelicalism. Historically, a large segment of evangelicalism has tended to carefully analyze both U.S. foreign policy and events in the Middle East in light of their potential impact on Israel, in addition to Christians in the region. This article fails to do that.

Although we may not support or be able to defend every Israeli policy, it is at our peril, as individuals, as a body of believers and as a nation that we ignore the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant which make it very clear that to set oneself against Israel is to set oneself against the Lord himself (Genesis 12). Yet, by portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as more or less benign, Mr. Kubinec ignores the fact that the MB could pose a serious threat to Israel’s national security, and even its very existence, if it becomes a major player in the new Egyptian government. This is not tangential to the subject of the article because this has significant implications for the Christians in Egypt (and those throughout the region).

As late as last week, on 2/1/11, the Jerusalem Post reported:

Muhammed Ghanem - Muslim BrotherhoodMuhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al-Alam* that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.” 2

(*Al-Alam, is the Arabic-language Iranian news network.)

Oddly, the title, “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Gospel of Christ” reflects one purpose for Kubinec’s article, while the subtitle seems to reflect an entirely different one: “Why Egypt’s Christians might actually be safer if the Muslim Brotherhood were a part of the ruling government.” The title comes from the thesis that American Christians could “make quite an impact—and make a statement about true Christlikeness—if American Christians refrained from knee-jerk criticism of the party.” However, the subtitle reflects the thesis that “The worst that could be said of the Brotherhood is that they would continue the status quo.” The worst?

Thus, the article is far more than just a call for Christians to genuinely act like Christians toward our Muslim Brotherhood “neighbors.” Rather, it largely has the feel of an apologetic for the Muslim Brotherhood. It attempts to persuade the reader that the MB is not so bad—certainly not as bad as radical Islamic groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas or Hezbollah as has been suggested—and at the very least, it is definitely not as bad as the Mubarak regime.

However, the impending rise of the Muslim Brotherhood has been one of the most-discussed topics by a broad range of analysts over the last few days. Profound concern has been almost uniformly expressed because of the Brotherhood’s long history of direct connection to extreme Islamic movements and what this might mean for Egypt, the entire Middle East, the United States and (most importantly, in my view) Israel. And, if things go south, as many believe they could, Egypt’s Christians would almost certainly find themselves in dire straits. (To be fair, Kubinec does include one qualification when he writes, “The debate about the Muslim Brotherhood is not whether they currently support democratic reform in Egypt, but whether they will still support reform after they are in government.”)

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, himself a devout Muslim and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum For Democracy (AIFD), made the following statement for immediate release on Thursday (2/10/11):

Zhudi JasserThe Muslim Brotherhood is the antithesis of a secular organization as asserted today by James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. Clapper’s statement presents a significant concern that our primary Intelligence officer has a complete lack of understanding of an organization that presents the greatest threat to the security of the United States. The Director of Intelligence is either grossly naïve or covering up for an ideology that is in an ideological war with the United States and western society. 3

On Friday evening (2/11/11), I watched an interview by Greta Van Susteren with Egypt’s ambassador to the United States. She asked about James Clapper’s statement and whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular or religious organization. His reply was that they are known for their religious ideology and that they are an unknown as a political entity, so “we will have to wait and see.”

In the next segment, she interviewed former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. He discussed the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is now demanding that Egypt’s military relinquish power to civilians and that they want to establish Islamic law.

Islam is neither philosophically nor theologically compatible with other religions or with democracy. Therefore, it is difficult to take seriously the Muslim Brotherhood’s claims that it wants nothing more than a democratic government. If they were planning to establish a genuinely democratic republic then surely AIFM and Dr. Jasser would be throwing their support behind them, rather than warning the United States that it “presents the greatest threat to the security of the United States”—which seems to imply that they see the threat represented by the Muslim Brotherhood to be even greater than that of the looming specter of a nuclear Iran.

And, again, this warning is not coming from the U.S. State Department nor from conservative evangelicals. Nor is it coming from Israel, although the Israeli government has also expressed grave concern. On January 31, in a joint press conference with Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu made the following direct statements concerning the crisis in Egypt:

“In a state of chaos, an organized Islamic group can take over a country. It has happened. It happened in Iran. A takeover of oppressive regimes of extreme Islam violates human rights, grinds them to dust … and in parallel also pose a terrible danger to peace and stability.” 4 (source)

Mark Heller, (senior analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv), has expressed that Israel’s primary concern is:

“That a radically aggressive, Islamist regime might take over in Egypt and, among other things, direct its hostility and aggressiveness against Israel.” 5 (source)

In the same February 2 article, Voice of America (VOA) quoted Israeli President, Shimon Peres as saying:

“We always have had, and still have, a great respect for President Mubarak, and we do not say everything that he did is right, but he did one thing, which all of us are thankful for him. He kept the peace in the Middle East.” 6

Many news outlets published this photo from the above-noted press conference with the following caption:

NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s primary concern is that the current crisis in Egypt could create a void in which Islamic militants put the two countries’ three-decade-long peace agreement in jeopardy, during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (unseen) in Jerusalem, January 31, 2011. 7

Predictably, al Qaeda has been calling for jihad in the wake of Mubarak’s resignation on Friday (2/11/2011). In response, it is reported on the Muslim Brotherhood website that the editor of the English version has rejected and renounced these efforts:

Khaled Hamza, Ikhwanweb’s chief editor, strongly condemned statements by jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda  concerning the ongoing protests in Egypt, calling for Egyptians to wage violent “Jihad” to topple the regime in Egypt.

Hamza confirmed the Muslim Brotherhood’s firm stance against use of violence to achieve legitimate popular demands, rejecting any interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs. He stressed that Egyptians are capable of solving their problem without intrusion, meddling and prying from foreign groups such as Alqaeda and simialr [sic] groups advocating the use of violence.

The MB is confident that Egyptians will ignore latest al Qaeda statements and its ideology, which contradict with the basic tenets of Islam and the peacedul [sic] nature of the Egyptian people.

However, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in Egypt in 1928, cannot be forgotten.  It continues to be widely reported across the internet that the MB has retained the motto established 80 years ago by its founder, Hassan al-Banna:

Allah is our purpose.
The Prophet our leader.
The Qur’an our constitution.
Jihad our way.
And dying for Allah’s cause our supreme objective.

In her 2006 book, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror, Mary Habek presents the results of extensive research into the roots of Islamic extremism. Quoting al-Banna, she writes :

Our task in general is to stand against the flood of modernist civi­lization over flowing from the swamp of materialistic and sinful desires. This flood has swept the Muslim nation away from the Prophet’s leadership and Qur’anic guidance and deprived the world of its guiding light. Western secularism moved into a Mus­lim world already estranged from its Qur’anic roots, and delayed its advancement for centuries, and will continue to do so until we drive it from our lands. Moreover, we will not stop at this point, but will pursue this evil force to its own lands, invade its Western heart land, and struggle to overcome it until all the world shouts by the name of the Prophet and the teachings of Islam spread through out the world. Only then will Muslims achieve their fundamental goal, and there will be no more “persecution” and all religion will be exclusively for Allah.

(location 263 in the Kindle version of Knowing the Enemy)

It has been countered that the Muslim Brotherhood of today is not that of 30-40 years ago, nor is it a monolithic organization, having multiple strands. On Friday evening’s Special Report (2/11/11), Brett Baier spoke with Ed Husain, (who is said to be a former Islamic radical) (source):

BAIER: Now, today, this historic change, and there’s all the celebration on the square, and throughout Egypt, that this 30-year dictator has been overthrown. The power has gone to the military, and there are still questions about what comes next. Some people are worried about the vacuum and possibly the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists stepping in. What are your thoughts about that?

HUSAIN: Well, as a student and subsequently after that I spent some time with the Muslim Brotherhood so I’m familiar with the thinking and its pragmatic strategy. The good news is — well, let’s start with the bad news. The bad news is the Muslim Brotherhood does play the mood music to which suicide bombers dance. It did traditionally have a very confrontational attitude towards the West. It’s very suspicious of Israel, to put it mildly. And, it tends to mobilize people around its own interpretation of religion. That’s the bad news.

But the good news is the Muslim Brotherhood over the last 30 years has abandoned violence, and it tends to be pragmatic and want to enter democratic politics. I think if the Muslim Brotherhood is brought into a broader coalition, but on condition that it respects the peace treaty with Israel, that it’s respectful towards the West and it respects human rights, which it claims to, then there’s good news. The debate and the discussion is whether we’ll get there, but keeping them outside [unintelligible]

How could anyone suggest that the “good news” he mentions somehow negates or nullifies the “bad news?” Within the space of just a couple of  breaths, Mr. Husain declares that the Muslim Brotherhood has abandoned violence over the last 30 years, while acknowledging that the MB “does play the mood music to which suicide bombers dance.” Can he be serious? What sort of tortured logic is this?

The overwhelming evidence suggests, and Husain noted this above, that the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing if not pragmatic. Pragmatism dictates that “you do what you have to do to achieve your goals.” If that means being patient, so be it. If that means doing a “head-fake,” then that is just part of the game. The issue is not what is being currently being said by the Muslim Brotherhood. The question is what has history established as their modus operandi, including since their claimed change-of-heart over the last thirty years? The applicable old adage is “what you’re doing speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

And knowing this, what level of naïveté could foster the suggestion that evangelical believers are in danger of hurting the cause of the gospel with their “deep and abiding prejudice” against the Muslim Brotherhood? It is rather difficult to see how Mr. Kubenic is giving an informed, accurate, fair and balanced, and agenda-free assessment of the situation. And because of its broad readership and influence, I would suggest that by publishing his article, Christianity Today is not free from culpability in this matter. Arguably, both have done a great disservice to the state of Israel, as well as to Christians in both in Egypt and the entire region, as well as to many evangelical believers in the United States.

What must be understood is that the revolution in Egypt has not occurred in a vacuum. There is an historical geo-political context throughout the Middle East that is deeply rooted in extreme religious ideology. Even if a case could be made that the Muslim Brotherhood has at least superficially reformed over the last thirty years, there is abundant evidence that it has been and continues to be an integral and ever-present part of that context—both directly and indirectly.

In a February 3, 2011 article, a senior staff writer for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) wrote:

The Muslim Brotherhood (known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) is Egypt’s oldest and largest Islamist organization. Founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, it is widely considered the world’s most influential Islamist organization, with numerous branches and affiliates. It is “the mother of all Islamist movements,” says Shadi Hamid, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. The group has emerged as Egypt’s biggest opposition movement. Many analysts expect the Brotherhood to play a larger role in the country’s future, following the anti-government protests of 2011 in which hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to call for political and economic reforms and the ouster of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak. “Without the Muslim Brotherhood, there’s no legitimacy in whatever happens in Egypt anymore,” says Ed Husain, a senior fellow at CFR. But there are concerns over the group’s aim to establish a state ruled by sharia or Islamic law, questions over its support for the Mideast peace process and its policy toward Israel and the United States, and ambiguity over its respect for human rights.

Note that Ed Husain, mentioned above in the discussion with Brett Baier, is identified in the above quote as a “senior fellow at CFR.” This would seem to indicate that for whatever reason, he may have been doing a bit of spinning on Special Report by trying to emphasize the “good news” over the “bad news.”

In the same CFR article, the author, Jayshree Bajoria discusses the history of the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Brotherhood’s original mission was to Islamize society through promotion of Islamic law, values, and morals. An Islamic revivalist movement from its early days, it has combined religion, political activism, and social welfare in its work. It adopted slogans such as “Islam is the solution” and “jihad is our way.” It played a role in the fight against British colonial rule and was banned for a short time in 1948 (BBC) for orchestrating bombings inside Egypt and allegedly assassinating Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi. It then experienced a short spell of good relations with the government that came to power through a military coup, which ended British rule in 1952. But following a failed attempt to assassinate President Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1954, the group was banned again.

At this time, Sayyid Qutb, a prominent member of the Brotherhood, laid down the ideological ground for the use of jihad, or armed struggle, against the regime in Egypt and beyond. Qutb’s writings, in particular his 1964 work Milestones, has provided the intellectual and theological underpinnings for the founders of numerous radical and militant Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda. Extremist leaders often channel Qutb to argue that governments not ruled by sharia are apostate and, therefore, legitimate targets of jihad.

The Brotherhood has spawned branches all across the globe. These organizations bear the Brotherhood name, but their connections to the founding group vary. Detractors of the Brotherhood argue that the group continues to have some links to Hamas, an organization termed as a terrorist group by the United States, European Union, and Israel, and originally a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestinian territories. But other analysts argue the nature of links is not entirely clear. In addition, some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists were once Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, including Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

On the Foreign Affairs website, Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke in a March / April 2007 article argued that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization. However, even in the midst of trying to portray the MB in this light, they join many other analysts in wondering if the face they are putting forward is anything more than an opportunistic ploy.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization. It is also the most controversial, condemned by both conventional opinion in the West and radical opinion in the Middle East. American commentators have called the Muslim Brothers “radical Islamists” and “a vital component of the enemy’s assault force … deeply hostile to the United States.” Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for “luring thousands of young Muslim men into lines for elections … instead of into the lines of jihad.”

Jihadists loathe the Muslim Brotherhood (known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) for rejecting global jihad and embracing democracy. These positions seem to make them moderates, the very thing the United States, short on allies in the Muslim world, seeks. But the Ikhwan also assails U.S. foreign policy, especially Washington’s support for Israel, and questions linger about its actual commitment to the democratic process.

The ambiguity surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood’s stand is all too apparent in the following video commentary, once again, by Ed Husain. Given the volatility of the entire region, and the clearly dangerous intentions of so many Muslim factions, this kind of ambiguity can never be a good sign.



What is not ambiguous are the well-known goals of the Muslim Brotherhood which have been outlined in a number of documents across the internet. One of these documents is a May 1991 memorandum, authored by Mohamed Akram: “General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America.” The following summary of some of the major points is from The Investigative Project on Terrorism website. (Of particular concern is the third quote.)

This May 1991 memo was written by Mohamed Akram, a.k.a. Mohamed Adlouni, for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the introductory letter, Akram referenced a “long-term plan…approved and adopted” by the Shura Council in 1987 and proposed this memo as a supplement to that plan and requested that the memo be added to the agenda for an upcoming Council meeting. Appended to the document is a list of all Muslim Brotherhood organizations in North America as of 1991.

Notable quotes:

  • Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic state, wherever it is.
  • In order for Islam and its Movement to become “a part of the homeland” in which it lives, “stable” in its land, “rooted” in the spirits and minds of its people, “enabled” in the live [sic] of its society and has firmly-established “organizations” on which the Islamic structure is built and with which the testimony of civilization is achieved, the Movement must plan and struggle to obtain “the keys” and the tools of this process in carry [sic] out this grand mission as a “Civilization Jihadist” responsibility which lies on the shoulders of Muslims and – on top of them – the Muslim Brotherhood in this country.
  • The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.

It must also be noted that in 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood was just getting started in its current form—a start which cannot be remotely characterized as reflecting “a change of heart.” In January 2007, Militant Islam Monitor.org published a must-read article which analyzes a document known in the intelligence community as “The Project.” Excerpts from that article (which also includes the full text of “The Project”) are quoted here:

One might be led to think that if international law enforcement authorities and Western intelligence agencies had discovered a twenty-year old document revealing a top-secret plan developed by the oldest Islamist organization with one of the most extensive terror networks in the world to launch a program of “cultural invasion” and eventual conquest of the West that virtually mirrors the tactics used by Islamists for more than two decades, that such news would scream from headlines published on the front pages and above the fold of the New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Le Monde, Bild, and La Repubblica. If that’s what you might think, you would be wrong.

In fact, such a document was recovered in a raid by Swiss authorities in November 2001, two months after the horror of 9/11. Since that time information about this document, known in counter-terrorism circles as “The Project”, and discussion regarding its content has been limited to the top-secret world of Western intelligence communities. Only through the work of an intrepid Swiss journalist, Sylvain Besson of Le Temps, and his book published in October 2005 in France, La conquête de l’Occident: Le projet secret des Islamistes (The Conquest of the West: The Islamists’ Secret Project), has information regarding The Project finally been made public. One Western official cited by Besson has described The Project as “a totalitarian ideology of infiltration which represents, in the end, the greatest danger for European societies.”

What Western intelligence authorities know about The Project begins with the raid of a luxurious villa in Campione, Switzerland on November 7, 2001. The target of the raid was Youssef Nada, director of the Al-Taqwa Bank of Lugano, who has had active association with the Muslim Brotherhood for more than 50 years and who admitted to being one of the organization’s international leaders. The Muslim Brotherhood, regarded as the oldest and one of the most important Islamist movements in the world, was founded by Hasan al-Banna in 1928 and dedicated to the credo, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

The raid was conducted by Swiss law enforcement at the request of the White House in the initial crackdown on terrorist finances in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. US and Swiss investigators had been looking at Al-Taqwa’s involvement in money laundering and funding a wide range of Islamic terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, HAMAS (the Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood), the Algerian GIA, and the Tunisian Ennahdah.

Included in the documents seized during the raid of Nada’s Swiss villa was a 14-page plan written in Arabic and dated December 1, 1982, which outlines a 12-point strategy to “establish an Islamic government on earth” – identified as The Project. According to testimony given to Swiss authorities by Nada, the unsigned document was prepared by “Islamic researchers” associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rather than focusing on terrorism as the sole method of group action, as is the case with Al-Qaeda, in perfect postmodern fashion the use of terror falls into a multiplicity of options available to progressively infiltrate, confront, and eventually establish Islamic domination over the West. The following tactics and techniques are among the many recommendations made in The Project:

  • Networking and coordinating actions between likeminded Islamist organizations;
  • Avoiding open alliances with known terrorist organizations and individuals to maintain the appearance of “moderation”;
  • Infiltrating and taking over existing Muslim organizations to realign them towards the Muslim Brotherhood’s collective goals;
  • Using deception to mask the intended goals of Islamist actions, as long as it doesn’t conflict with shari’a law;
  • Avoiding social conflicts with Westerners locally, nationally or globally, that might damage the long-term ability to expand the Islamist powerbase in the West or provoke a lash back against Muslims;
  • Establishing financial networks to fund the work of conversion of the West, including the support of full-time administrators and workers;
  • Conducting surveillance, obtaining data, and establishing collection and data storage capabilities;
  • Putting into place a watchdog system for monitoring Western media to warn Muslims of “international plots fomented against them”;
  • Cultivating an Islamist intellectual community, including the establishment of think-tanks and advocacy groups, and publishing “academic” studies, to legitimize Islamist positions and to chronicle the history of Islamist movements;
  • Developing a comprehensive 100-year plan to advance Islamist ideology throughout the world;
  • Balancing international objectives with local flexibility;
  • Building extensive social networks of schools, hospitals and charitable organizations dedicated to Islamist ideals so that contact with the movement for Muslims in the West is constant;
  • Involving ideologically committed Muslims in democratically-elected institutions on all levels in the West, including government, NGOs, private organizations and labor unions;
  • Instrumentally using existing Western institutions until they can be converted and put into service of Islam;
  • Drafting Islamic constitutions, laws and policies for eventual implementation;
  • Avoiding conflict within the Islamist movements on all levels, including the development of processes for conflict resolution;
  • Instituting alliances with Western “progressive” organizations that share similar goals;
  • Creating autonomous “security forces” to protect Muslims in the West;
  • Inflaming violence and keeping Muslims living in the West “in a jihad frame of mind”;
  • Supporting jihad movements across the Muslim world through preaching, propaganda, personnel, funding, and technical and operational support;
  • Making the Palestinian cause a global wedge issue for Muslims;
  • Adopting the total liberation of Palestine from Israel and the creation of an Islamic state as a keystone in the plan for global Islamic domination;
  • Instigating a constant campaign to incite hatred by Muslims against Jews and rejecting any discussions of conciliation or coexistence with them;
  • Actively creating jihad terror cells within Palestine;
  • Linking the terrorist activities in Palestine with the global terror movement;
  • Collecting sufficient funds to indefinitely perpetuate and support jihad around the world;

In reading The Project, it should be kept in mind that it was drafted in 1982 when current tensions and terrorist activities in the Middle East were still very nascent. In many respects, The Project is extremely prescient for outlining the bulk of Islamist action, whether by “moderate” Islamist organizations or outright terror groups, over the past two decades.

All of this only begins to scratch the surface of revealing the true nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and the threat it poses. For example, Hamas is Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs “1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar bombs fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel in 2008.”

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are Sunni. Israel’s other immediate enemy is Hezbollah, which is Shia. This difference highlights yet another dimension to the entire situation in the Middle East and a development concerning the Muslim Brotherhood which could dwarf anything the world has seen thus far.

The schism between these two groups is rooted in a dispute over the succession of leadership after the death the Prophet Mohammed in 632. Because of this long-standing dispute, which has often resulted in violent conflict, it has been commonly understood that there is no real path to reconciliation. Since Shias only account for 10-15% of the Muslim world, they may not seem to be a significant factor until one realizes that Iran’s population is 89% Shiite and in Iraq 60% are Shia. (source) (“Shia” is the noun. Shiite is the adjective.)

Given the common elements in the Shiite and Sunni ideologies, which include the vision to bring the world into subjection to Islam, as well as the attitude of both factions toward Israel, the question that begs to be asked is, “What might happen if the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood could manage to bridge the philosophical gap with the Shias to allow cooperation in attaining mutual objectives?”

In May 2009, the Counterterrorism Blog carried an article by Douglas Farrah in which he reported:

A senior Hezbollah official has now stated publicly for the first time that his organization has been providing Hamas with “every type of support” for a long period of time.

“We have always said that we supported the resistance in Palestine, but we have not mentioned how or given details of such support,” Naim Qassem, the deputy leader of the Lebanese organization, said in an interview published by the Financial Times on Wednesday.

“But Egypt has now revealed that we have given military support to Palestine. We have done so for a while, but we have not talked about it,” he continued.

It is one of the secrets of the resistance that we don’t talk about the details of our support, but suffice to say that we are giving them every type of support that could help the Palestinian resistance. Every type that is possible,” he said.

The statements are the clearest yet of the ability and desirability of Shiite Muslim armed groups (Hezbollah) to tactically ally themselves with armed Sunni groups (Hamas). This means the transfer of technology, lessons learned, tactics, intelligence etc. is well advanced among groups that have long and valuable experience in terrorism and irregular warfare.

While the intelligence community for years denied such alliances were possible, they have long been operative. One of the key bridges between the Sunni and Shiite world has been the Muslim Brotherhood. (emphasis mine)

If this assessment is correct and pragmatism is genuinely a guiding principle, the world has yet to see what this might mean for Israel, the United States and Christians worldwide. (And this doesn’t even take into account what the Muslim Brotherhood has been steadily accomplishing throughout Europe—which could be the subject of a whole series of articles by itself.)

There is a very good reason why the international community does not want to see a Shiite Iran become a nuclear power in the region—and it is related specifically to the issue of Mohammed’s successor. Most Shia’s believe the last successor to be the “12th imam,” who lived in the 9th century—and who is still alive, being hidden by Allah. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, believes it is his destiny to inaugurate an Islamic caliphate which will be over the entire world. This will happen after the return of the 12th imam, whom he will usher in through world-events which he precipitates.

In November 2005, Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University published an article which included the following:

In a speech on November 16th, Ahmadinejad spoke of his belief in the return of the Twelfth Imam. One of the differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam is that the latter, who dominate Iran and form the majority in Iraq, believe that Allah shielded or hid Muhammad al-Mahdi as the Twelfth Imam until the end of time. Shi’ites expect the Twelfth Imam, which Jews and Christians would recognize as a messianic figure, to return to save the world when it had descended into chaos. Shi’ite orthodoxy has it that humans are powerless to encourage the Twelfth Imam to return.

However, in Iran a group called the Hojjatieh believe that humans can stir up chaos to encourage him to return. Ayatollah Khomeini banned the group in the early 1980s because they rejected one of the primary commitments of the Iranian revolution: the concept of Vilayat-i Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist). In other words, they opposed the notion of an Islamic republic because it would hinder the Twelfth Imam’s return on account of it being too just and peaceful.

Today, in addition to the possibility of Ahmadinejad himself being a member (or a former member), the group has connections to Qom ultraconservative cleric Mesbah Yazdi whom Iranians frequently refer to as the “crazed one” and the “crocodile.” Four of the twenty-one new cabinet ministers are purportedly Hojjatieh members. Some reports state that cabinet ministers must sign a formal pledge of support for the Twelfth Imam.

The prospects of a Sunni / Shia coalition, which would undoubtedly first focus on Israel, is not an overblown conspiracy theory. This is but one of many indications that the stage continues to be set for the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.

And returning more directly to the article in Christianity Today, whether or not some of the presently-visible Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt share these objectives is ultimately rather beside the point. As a worldwide Muslim organization, the benefit of the doubt, let alone trust, is not something that the Muslim Brotherhood has earned or presently deserves. It does not require prejudice for anyone, including evangelicals, to maintain a healthy level of skepticism. Egyptian Christians and Christians throughout the Middle East, as well as the nation of Israel have every right to be deeply concerned. Yet, Mr. Kubinec, and apparently the editorial staff of Christianity Today, do not see it this way. Instead, he admonishes Western Christians who express skepticism and concern toward the Muslim Brotherhood that this is indicative of attitudes unbecoming followers of Christ.

Such a view seems to be misguided, uninformed and conceivably harmful. Perhaps the retraction of this opinion piece should be seriously considered.


  1. Bob Kubinec, “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Gospel of Christ,” Christianity Today, accessed Feb. 11, 2011, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/februaryweb-only/muslimbrotherhood.html
  2. Yaakov Labinin, “Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Prepare Egyptians for War with Israel'” The Jerusalem Post, accessed Feb. 11/2011, http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130
  3. AIFD, “American Muslim organization calls remarks from DNI Clapper false and dangerous,” accessed on Feb. 11, 2011, http://www.aifdemocracy.org/news.php?id=6554
  4. AP “Israel worried about Islamic takeover in Egypt,” Fox News, January 31, 2011, accessed February 11, 2011, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/01/31/israel-worried-islamic-takeover-egypt
  5. Meredith Beul, “Israel Concerned Egypt Upheaval Could Radicalize Arab Neighbors,” VOANews.com, February 2, 2011, accessed February 11, 2011, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Israel-Concerned-Egypt-Upheaval-Could-Radicalize-Arab-Neighbors-115126899.html
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.

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