The Brotherhood’s fifth column

Hany Ghoraba
Thursday 23 Jul 2020

Muslim Brotherhood members are attempting a fifth-column strategy to undermine Egyptian security, underlining the need to confront them on every terrain

The moment a significant presence of the Muslim Brotherhood group is found within a country is the moment a fifth column is created within that country.

That has been the modus operandi of this Islamist group since its inception and throughout its spread across the world to over 80 countries over the course of the last century. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan Al-Banna, its cult-leader until his demise in 1949. His written works also became the guidelines of Islamists and terrorists over the decades to come.

From the early days after its inception in 1928, the group promoted the idea of reviving the past Islamic caliphate, which saw its last days in Turkey in 1923 with the establishment of the modern secular republic. Spreading the belief that Muslims cannot live as proper believers without a caliph ruling over them, the group then acted as an agent of mayhem in Egypt and across the Middle East from the early 1940s after having failed to persuade Egypt’s former king Farouk to become the next caliph of Muslims.

The group went on a terrorism spree in the country that ended in the assassination of former prime minister Mahmoud Al-Nukrashi in 1948, just days after he had outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. This was not to be the last of the terrorist group’s political assassinations in the country, however, as it went on to attempt to assassinate former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser in 1954 in Alexandria. It was successful in its attempt to assassinate his successor, the Egyptian war and peace hero president Anwar Al-Sadat, in October 1981. This assassination was carried out through the Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot group Islamic Jihad.

History seemed to repeat itself after the 30 June Revolution in Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian attorney-general Hisham Barakat in June 2015. Barakat had banned the group as a terrorist entity in 2013 following a horrific series of terrorist attacks in the country.

The hierarchy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was destroyed after June 2013, but as a result it has been resorting to the role of a fifth column in the country, meaning that it is now acting for the benefit of the country’s foreign enemies and even paving the road for the country to be attacked by those enemies. From the early beginnings of the present Turkish military intervention in Libya, for example, Muslim Brotherhood members have been praising this twisted interference on social media, claiming that it is integral to restoring order in Libya after a near decade of civil war. Of course, the truth is the complete opposite.

Messages and other posts can be found on Twitter and Facebook and other social-media sites by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups that do not attempt to hide their daylight treachery and their hatred for Egypt’s army, siding with the Turkish invasion of Libya against their own compatriots who have been protesting against it. This fifth-column strategy has carried a message of discouragement towards a possible Egyptian military confrontation with the Turkish army, pretending instead that it is only concerned about Egyptian lives in the face of the “powerful” Turkish army.

These Brotherhood fifth-column messsages ignore the fact that the Egyptian army is currently ranked ninth in the world. The group’s treacherous role is backed by some Egyptian media anchors situated in Turkey on Brotherhood-operated TV networks such as Mekameleen and the terrorist-supporting TV network Aljazeera, which broadcasts almost daily reports on the perils that will befall the Egyptian army if it faces up to Turkey from the network’s base in Qatar.

These twisted reports have also tried to magnify the crisis over Ethiopia’s building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when Egypt is using all the diplomatic means at its disposal to resolve the crisis peacefully. They are trying to belittle Egyptian national security, claiming that Egypt’s forces are faced by the forces of the Islamist Turkish state near the western border backed by tens of thousands of terrorist militias.


TREACHERY: Such blatant treachery can be traced back to the Muslim Brotherhood’s roots and ideology.

The average Muslim Brotherhood member is a cult follower who does not believe in a nation-state or borders except those drawn up by the conquests of an Islamic caliphate. Members of the Brotherhood believe they are on a mission to carry out God’s work on Earth by establishing a fabled caliphate that will bring justice and spread Islam’s dominion across the world, and this entails that they do not believe in the sanctity of their nation’s borders or its sovereignty.

They would rather serve a foreign invader who calls himself a caliph as loyal minions rather than the elected president of the country in which they were born and raised.

It is from here that stems the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood to the integrity and security of not just Egypt but also other countries worldwide. Those Western countries that are still harbouring elements of the Muslim Brotherhood or its Islamist affiliates such as the Salafis face the same danger. For decades, Muslim Brotherhood leaders have worked vehemently to convince the Muslim masses of the importance of their caliphate, despite the fact that this was never a part of the Muslim religion and was merely a form of imperial rule from the Middle Ages until the fall of the last caliph in Turkey.

The existence of Muslim Brotherhood elements in the world today constitutes a security breach that could lead to chaos in certain countries. However, there has been a late awakening of the dangers the Brotherhood represents in Western countries such as France and Germany, where the existence of people who are members of the Muslim Brotherhood or who pledge allegiance to terrorist-supporting leaders such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has too long gone unconsidered.

But if these elements are willing to betray their own native countries to foreign invaders and terrorist-supporting regimes such as that of Erdogan or the regime in Qatar, what might they be willing to do in countries that they deem to be run by “kafirs” or unbelievers according to their beliefs? The horrific waves of terrorism that many Western countries have witnessed over the past two decades are part of the answer to that question.

The case of the United States appears even more tragic, as some terrorist elements of the Muslim Brotherhood group are already supporting Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has sought the support of American Muslims, some of whom are supporters of the Islamists, including US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist body affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, is endorsing hundreds of Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood candidates for political office in the upcoming US elections, spelling disaster for the United States in the shorter and longer term should they be elected.

The Muslim Brotherhood may have found the answer to its nine-decades dream in the person of Erdogan, who follows the teaching of terrorist figures such as Brotherhood ideologues Al-Banna and Sayed Qutb. Erdogan’s fantasy of reviving the Ottoman caliphate and his megalomaniacal ambitions are music to the ears of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its members are willing to endorse it wherever they are found.

However, the Egyptian people are not falling for Muslim Brotherhood fifth-column games and treacherous propaganda, as all patriotic Egyptians are rallying behind their army and their president in the face of threats by Erdogan and his terrorist allies. That said, the current crisis in Libya is an existential crisis for Egypt’s security, and it cannot be taken lightly, even as the Egyptian army, backed by a strong nation, will ultimately prevail.


*The writer is a political analyst and author of Egypt’s Arab Spring and the Winding Road to Democracy. 

*A version of this article appears in print in the 23 July, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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