Why do conservatives hate handouts


Michael Kreutz

To person

Dr. Michael Kreutz is a political scientist and orientalist from Bochum. His work focuses on the modern history of the Middle East and Southeast Europe, the history of political ideas, Europe and Islam, religion and politics.

In June 2012, Muhammad Morsī was the first representative of the Muslim Brotherhood to take office in Egypt. One year later, the government was overthrown and Morsi's party was classified as a terrorist organization. Michael Kreutz informs about the eventful past and the current influence of the Islamist organization.

The "R4bia" emblem - a black hand with four outstretched fingers - has been a symbol for the demonstrations on Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo since the state crisis in Egypt in 2013. The protests were directed against the removal of President Mohammed Morsi and the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. (& copy picture alliance / ZUMA Press)


The Muslim Brotherhood (Arabic: ǧamāʿat al-iḫwān al-muslimīn) is the oldest existing Islamist organization. It inspired numerous other Islamist movements in the second half of the 20th century. In their understanding of Islam, religion takes precedence over man-made laws; the organization categorically rejects a separation of state and religion. [1]


The emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) coincides with the upheaval of the early 20th century. With the transformation of the region into a nation-state order, the dream of a unity of the umma (community of believers) had moved into the distance, which aroused opposing forces within the Muslim world who were not prepared to accept it. Relevant in this context are the Muslim reformers Ǧamāladdīn al-Afġānī and Muḥammad ʿAbduh, but above all his pupil Rašīd Riḍā (d. 1935). [2] Riḍā intended to interpret the Qur'anic formulation of the "trustees" or those "who have orders among you" (Qur'an 4,59) as political rulers who should at the same time be models of Islamic virtue on the path of internal missions [3] He linked this approach with the concept of pan-Islamism (unification of all Muslim peoples) under Arab supremacy, which became the program of the Oriental Alliance Society (yamʿīyat ar-rābiṭa aš-šarqīya) founded by him in 1922. [4] Riḍā had significant influence on Ḥasan al-Bannā (1906-1949), who founded the MB in 1928. If Riḍā was already more conservative than his teacher ʿAbduh, Bannā should be more conservative than Riḍā. [5]

The Muslim Brotherhood, initially as a rural populist movement, had an Arab rather than a transnational Islam in mind. [6] Bannā also appeared as a reformer for whom the Muslims could appropriate everything from the West, as long as it seemed useful to the umma and did not place the individual above the community. An integral part of this view was adherence to Muslim moral standards in the resistance against secularism. [7] He coined the slogan "Islam is the solution" (al-Islām huwa al-ḥall) and spoke for the first time of creating an "Islamic order" (niẓām islāmī) - a term that cannot be found in the constitutive sources of Islam .[8th] This order should be achieved by the Muslim convinced of the ideas of the MB founding a good family until enough families create an Islamic society, which in turn calls for an Islamic government. The individual cells of the MB are also called "families" (usar, so-called usra). [9]

Further development

From the beginning, the MB was marked by internal rivalries. [10] This is especially true with regard to their secret paramilitary division (an-niẓām al-ḫāṣṣ). Under ʿAbdarraḥmān alṣ-Ṣamadī, who took over its leadership in 1947, the secret department became autonomous and carried out terrorist activities in the streets against the British, unpopular politicians, Egyptian Jews and seculars. [11] The conflict over Palestine became the focal point of the MB's Islamic renewal program. [12] During the war of 1948 a total of almost five hundred Muslim Brotherhood on the side of Egypt, Jordan and Syria were involved in the fighting against Israel. [13] To this end, the organization maintained a training camp and an armory in a suburb of Cairo, the discovery of which fueled fears of a coup in the royal family. On December 8, 1948, at the insistence of King Fārūq, the MB was banned as a terrorist organization, and many members were imprisoned. Three weeks later, the Egyptian Prime Minister an-Nuqrāšī was murdered by a Muslim brother. [14]

Prohibited period: 1948-1950, from 1954

The ban initially lasted until 1950 and was renewed in 1954. Ḥasan al-Bannā therefore switched to a new course and tried to appease the Egyptian government. He put the responsibility for the escalation of violence on the secret department, which had been set up only for Palestine. To what extent this is credible can no longer be determined. On February 12, 1949, Ḥasan al-Bannā was shot in the street. [15] In the meantime, the organization received ideological impetus from the writings of Sayyid Quṭb, who declared emigration (hiǧra) to the "land of Muslims" (dār al-Islām) to be an obligation and considered it legitimate to fight people of different faiths even if Muslims were not directly threatened . Since his execution in 1965, the MB has not wanted to be associated with the Quṭb, which is considered radical. In any case, Quṭb had never held an official leadership position in the organization. [16] Since the 1970s, the Muslim Brotherhood has officially restricted the use of force to the struggle for Palestine. As a result of this restriction, various militant groups split off from the Muslim Brotherhood, including al-Jihād al-Islāmī and al-Ǧamāʿa al-Islāmiyya, from which al-Qaeda later emerged. [17]

Success and doom: The years from 1995

In 1995, the Egyptian government imprisoned more than five hundred Muslim Brotherhoods after the organization carried out an assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa. [18] However, the ban on political activity did not prevent members of the organization from being elected to parliament as independent candidates. When the ban was lifted, one of their ranks, Muḥammad Mursī, entered the presidency for the first time in 2012, although the election result was controversial. [19] Previously, a popular uprising had forced the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak. [20] When the Egyptian military overthrew the government on July 3, 2013 and arrested the entire leadership cadre of the Muslim Brotherhood and tried them in court, the MB sat down for several weeks on Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya Square, which was bloody disbanded by the Egyptian military. In addition, the MB was banned again on December 25, 2013 and classified as a terrorist organization. [21]


Since 2010, Muḥammad Badīʿ has been the general leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt the number of active members of the MB is estimated at around one million, in Germany at around 1,300 followers. In Europe, their ideology is disseminated through a network of associations, institutes and schools. Some offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood have become self-employed, including the Tunisian Ennahda, the Libyan "Justice and Construction Party" and the "National Congress Party" ruling Sudan. [22]

The Muslim Brotherhood gained a foothold in Germany in 1960 when Said Ramadan (1926-1995), then right-hand man and son-in-law of Bannā, founded the Islamic Center in Munich. [23] Since then, the MB has tried steadily to expand its influence in Europe. European organizations close to the Muslim Brotherhood find their umbrella organization in the "Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe" (FIOE) based in Brussels. According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, its most important actor is the "Islamic Community in Germany e.V." (IGD) German Muslim Community e.V. (DMG) renamed.

The IGD was a founding member of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) and through this was also involved in the founding of the Coordination Council of Muslims (KRM). There are no official commitments to the MB on the part of the IGD or DMG; instead, loyalty to the existing legal system is expressed. [25] The "Muslim Youth Germany e.V." (MJD), founded in 1994, was referred to by the authorities as being close to the MB a few years ago and, according to an assessment by the Bundestag, is intertwined with organizations that are in turn "close to the Muslim Brotherhood". The association has repeatedly made it clear that it is in line with positions of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Abu al-Ala al-Maududi and Sayyid Qutb. [26] The association "Islamic Relief e.V." (IR) became the main sponsor of the annual meeting of the "Islamic Community in Germany e. V. “(IGD), which is considered to be the most important organization of supporters of the MB in Germany. There is evidence that IR has also cooperated with MJD, which in turn maintains links with the IGD. [27] In France it is the "Union des Organizations Islamiques de France" (UIOF), which was founded from the ranks of the MB. [28] Its president is Amar Lasfar. [29] The UIOF has numerous branches in France and is itself part of the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM), which was founded in 2003. [30] In the UK, the closest organization to the MB is the Muslim Student Society UK, founded in 1961. It stands in the shadow of the far more important "Federation of Student Islamic Societies" (FOSIS), which it co-founded in 1963. The Islamic Society of Britain was also under the influence of the MB when it was founded in 1990. [31]

Outside of Europe there is a kind of hybrid form of MB and Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia with the so-called awakening movement (aṣ-ṣaḥwa). [32] The branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, Hamas, is particularly significant in terms of world politics. Founded in 1987/88 by Ahmad Yasin and others, Hamas carried out attacks on cinemas, bars and casinos in the 1980s and began smuggling weapons. [33] The resistance to the Israeli occupation means the destruction of Israel. All of "Palestine" therefore belongs to the Waqf (Islamic foundation country). [34] The then Hamas leader Maḥmūd az-Zahār made the fact that coexistence with Israel is also excluded in the future at the end of 2012 when he announced: "The time in which Enemy attacked us is over; now the phase has come in which we attack them. ”[35]

Influence and risk potential

In contrast to its founder Ḥasan al-Bannā, the MB no longer rejects the party system (ḥizbiyya) today. However, its relationship to democracy is a tactical one, since it propagates Sharia as the “highest constitution”. In addition, the “democratic path” that it allegedly pursues should be based on šūra (advice), which leaves no room for an independent judiciary. [36] Since constitutional structures, which allow her the freedom to agitate, are in her sense, the MB's renunciation of force is definitely plausible. In any case, she sees her task in spreading Muslim morality in society until a critical mass is reached that calls for an Islamic state by itself. Western lifestyle, striving for prosperity and the separation of state and religion are condemned across the board. Equality between men and women is rejected. [37]

Because the Muslim Brotherhood is linked to other groups through a network of innumerable institutions, clubs and associations and has produced autonomous offshoots, their influence on European societies remains difficult to grasp. [38] It is not uncommon for the ideology to be transported into society through its own, dialogue-oriented educational institutions. The MB therefore remains a permanent challenge for the rule of law, even without being a terrorist organization. That their involvement in democratic processes could make them more moderate is a myth fueled by Islamists like the MB itself. So far, this has only resulted in their extremist character becoming all the more evident. [39]

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