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Corporatism and the Muslim Brotherhood

Hamas (Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) Soldiers Saluting

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COMMENT: For many years, we have covered the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fascist organization allied with the Axis in World War II and nurtured by elements of Western intelligence during the Cold War as anti-communist cadre.

They have functioned–and continue to function–as foot soldiers for the Underground Reich. The German/Islamist alliance is old and continues to this day.

We have also covered the profound relationship between the GOP and the Brotherhood, manifested in the alliance between the Ikhwan and Grover Norquist and Karl Rove’s Islamic Free Market Institute. (The latter elements were centrally involved in the institutions targeted in the investigation into terrorist funding under Operation Green Quest.)

As the mainstream press and the so-called progressive sector were falling all over themselves hailing the “Arab Spring,” we noted that WikiLeaks-assisted covert operation was designed to bring “corporatism” to the Muslim World. (Mussolini called his fascist system “corporatism.”)

In January 2012, Salon.com published a very revealing piece that pretty much lays it all out. The only flaw in the article is its downplaying of the endemic violence which characterizes the Brotherhood–Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are offshoots of the Brotherhood.

While perusing this, do examine a previous post on theocratic free-market capitalism (featuring an important update since first published.)

As the fascist regime of Mohamed Morsi sings its swan song, it is worth contemplating the nature of the forces embodied in it.

“The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt” by Avi Asher-Schapiro; Salon.com; 1/25/2012.

EXCERPT: While Western alarmists often depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a shadowy organization with terrorist ties, the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.

The Brotherhood, which did not initially support the revolution that began a year ago, reaped its benefits, capturing nearly half the seats in the new parliament, which was seated this week, and vaulting its top leaders into positions of power.

Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat Al-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda.

At Al-Shater’s luxury furniture outlet Istakbal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egyptian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. currency. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clientele is largely limited to Egypt’s upper classes.

Although the Brothers do draw significant support from Egypt’s poor and working class, “the Brotherhood is a firmly upper-middle-class organization in its leadership,” says Shadi Hamid, a leading Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Not surprisingly, these well-to-do Egyptians are eager to safeguard their economic position in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the Brotherhood does not back radical changes in Egypt’s economy.

The FJP’s economic platform is a tame document, rife with promises to root out corruption and tweak Egypt’s tax and subsidies systems, with occasional allusions to an unspecific commitment to “social justice.” The platform praises the mechanisms of the free market and promises that the party will work for “balanced, sustainable and comprehensive economic development.” It is a program that any European conservative party could get behind. . . .

Discussion

5 comments for “Corporatism and the Muslim Brotherhood”

  1. David Atkins has a great piece exploring the conflicting principles at work when a military overthrows an elected government that appears intent on imposing a theocracy (or some other form of totalitarianism). There’s also a clip of Chris Hayes’s All In from last night’s episode that starts off with an interview of one of the Egyptian protesters explaining what prompted protests on this scale. It’s worth watching for some of the context around what the protesters are looking for in future governments.

    And here’s a reminder from back in March of the kind of permanent direction institutional formal Islamist rule that Morsi and his allies were trying to take the country during the battle over Egypt’s new constitution last year. The Muslim Brotherhood made it clear over the last year that is wasn’t interested in building a real democratic society. It wanted a future that would look a lot like this on a bad day for the MB:

    Egypt’s Islamic authority asserts role, clashes with Brotherhood

    By Tom Perry

    CAIRO | Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:31pm GMT

    (Reuters) – Egypt’s leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar said on Thursday its clerics must be consulted on a law allowing the state to issue Islamic bonds, setting it at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood which drove the legislation through parliament last week.

    It marks the first time Al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old seat of Islamic learning, has said its Senior Scholars Authority should be consulted on issues pertaining to Islamic law as set out in Egypt’s new, Islamist-tinged constitution.

    Al-Azhar’s intervention could set a precedent for clerical oversight of other affairs of state. The Salafi Nour Party has said Al-Azhar must also approve an agreement Egypt is seeking with the International Monetary Fund because it includes a loan upon which Egypt will pay interest.

    The Islamic bond, or sukuk law, will allow Egypt to issue debt compliant with Islamic principles, allowing the state to tap a new area of finance as President Mohamed Mursi’s administration grapples with an unaffordable budget deficit.

    The sukuk law has been a source of friction between the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party leads the upper house of parliament, and more hardline Islamists who say it should first have been approved by Al-Azhar.

    At a meeting on Thursday, Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Institute chaired by Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said it shared the view that the law should have been referred to the Senior Scholars Authority, in line with the new constitution.

    “The Institute is of the opinion that the draft should have been referred to the Senior Scholars Authority for discussion and so it could give its legal opinion, in line with its duty,” it said in a statement.

    It criticised the law approved by parliament last week, saying it empowered the prime minister to form the body entrusted with issuing the Islamic bonds. It said this “disregarded the Senior Scholars Authority of the noble Azhar”.

    Al-Azhar’s role in affairs of state is embedded in article four of the new constitution. It says the Senior Scholars Authority must be consulted on all matters pertaining to sharia.

    It does not, however, say whether Al-Azhar’s view is binding on the government, nor does it make clear the scope of Al-Azhar’s role – ambiguity which critics say will cause future political and legal conflict.

    It’s pretty obvious that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning are far greater changes and more permanent changes to Egypt’s society. So while the military coup puts creates a number of very real dilemmas, it’s important to keep in mind the last year of extreme Muslim Brotherhood antics that created this awful situation where a coup is even considered. And maybe that will be their biggest weapon against the future: being so bad at democracy that they made a coup seem like a good idea. “Coups for freedom!” isn’t a healthy meme but it’s the perfect farewell for the Muslim Brotherhood’s first awful year of rule.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2013, 7:59 pm
  2. http://m.gulfnews.com/news/uae/connecting-the-dots-1.1204733

    Trial revealed complicated network of the Muslim Brotherhood finances
    Gulf News Report
    July 2, 2013

    Dubai: Little was known in this country about what has transpired as an amazing web of links and collaboration between the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated groups in the UAE and other Arab states.

    But the trial of 94 Emiratis, which concluded yesterday with conviction of 69 defendants of being members of a clandestine group that plotted to undermine security and seize power, revealed a vast political, ideological and financial network led by the Muslim Brotherhood main front, the Europe Trust, led by senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ahmed Al Rawi.

    According to documents obtained by Gulf News yesterday, investigators have concluded that “ the Muslim Brotherhood has a global footprint, with the UK and Ireland serving as important hubs for international Muslim Brotherhood leadership activity.”

    They also said that “members of the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Islah [whose members have been among those convicted in Abu Dhabi yesterday] are active in Muslim Brotherhood networks in the UK and Ireland.”

    “Entities affiliated with Al Eslah in the UAE and the UK have been tied to global terrorist support activity, as identified publicly by U.S and other counterterrorism authorities,” one document said.

    The documents also explain a long history of shadowy activities and links led by exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had escaped their homelands and found safe havens in the UK and Europe to lead and propagate the Brotherhood’s cross-border activities.

    In the Gulf, officials have always warned of the Brotherhood threat as the group doesn’t recognize modern state sovereignty and prevailing laws.

    At a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, in Abu Dhabi on October 12, 2012, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan denounced the Brotherhood as “an organisation which encroaches upon sovereignty and integrity of nations”.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood’s thinking does not recognise borders or sovereignty of nations. So, it is not unusual that the international Brotherhood organisation works to make inroads upon sovereignty and laws of countries,” he added.

    The court documents show how money was channeled from different charities in the UAE, run by some of the Islah members, to the Europe Trust though a complicated web of intermediate companies and institutions.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 15, 2013, 3:07 pm
  3. The Googlization of the Far Right: Why is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC?

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/11/12319/google-funding-grover-norquist-heritage-action-alec-and-more

    I’m not sure where to put this. I really just wanted you to see the article. Feel free to delete.

    Posted by Jim | December 4, 2013, 10:43 am
  4. @Jim: Maybe if Google cuddles up to enough corporatists they’ll finally get that Island Larry Page has been pining for recently where laws that get in the way of innovation won’t have to be obeyed. Someday Larry…someday…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2013, 2:54 pm
  5. The US electorate got a disturbing preview of the Trump 2020 campaign this week. Disturbing, but not unexpected. The campaign theme appears to be a racially-targeted version of “America, Love it or leave it!”, but closer to “Trump, Love him or leave!” It started on Monday when President Trump started rage-tweeting about his four favorite Democratic targets: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar. The Republican party and right-wing media are investing heavily into making these four members of congress the ‘face’ of the Democratic party so they can basically turn every congressional race into a symbolic proxy-vote on whether or not voters support those four members of congress. Trump tweeted that the four should ‘go back to where they came from’ for the audacity of ‘telling Americans how to run their government’:

    So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……&mdash, Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

    ….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….&mdash, Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

    ….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!&mdash, Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

    Note that Ilhan Omar is the only one of the four who wasn’t born in the US, but all four are non-white, making this series of tweets an unambiguous white nationalist dog-whistle.

    Two days later, dog-whistling exploded into crowd chants when, during a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump went off on a rant against Omar and the crowd started chanting “send her back!” while Trump stood there and let the chant play out. Then, the next day, Trump trolled to country by insisting that he didn’t approve of the “send her back!” chanting and had actually interrupted the crowd to stop it (despite the fact that it was televised). And, of course, he has flipped again and is now largely supportive of the “send her back!” sentiments by insisting that he will win Omar’s home state of Minnesota in 2020 because Omar is so hated because of her hatred of America.

    So it appears that Ilhan Omar might end up eclipsing AOC as the Republican Party’s political strawman-of-choice for 2020. Given that disturbing political dynamic, here’s an article from back in December that highlights one of the other Trump-aligned political factions that has already been waging a propaganda campaign against Ilhan Omar and, to a lesser extent, Rashida Tlaib: The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    Yes, it turns out that the Saudi and UAE governments have an extreme hatred of Omar and government-run media in those countries has been focusing so much on her that it has sparked debates online and on television over the extent of the coverage. It’s important to note that much of the anti-Omar coverage appears to be mixed with pro-Trump messaging too.

    The nature of the attacks tend to be accusations that Omar is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood and part of a larger alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Democratic Party, which is a particularly ironic charge given both the extensive ideological overlap between the Muslim Brotherhood’s corporatist and theocratic ideology and the Republican Party, in addition the very real history Republican operatives like Grover Norquist played in obscuring both Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood links to the 9/11 attacks. Omar is also being attacked by the Saudi and UAE media for her ties to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and CAIR’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which, again, is highly ironic given the extensive Saudi financial support and ideological influence over CAIR along with the extensive and long-standing close ties between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi government in general. Ties that only seem to have frayed in recent years following the Muslim Brotherhood’s success in coming to power across the region via the ‘Arab Spring’ protests. But some of the attacks on Omar are also simply racist in nature since Omar comes from Somalia and racism against blacks is apparently quite prevalent in Saudi and UAE media.

    That’s all part of the grand irony of the Trump/GOP focus on Ilhan Omar as a political strawman who hates America and democracy: they’re following the lead of Saudi Arabia and UAE:

    Foreign Policy

    Saudi Arabia Declares War on America’s Muslim Congresswomen
    Gulf Arab monarchies are using racism, bigotry, and fake news to denounce Washington’s newest history-making politicians.

    BY OLA SALEM | DECEMBER 11, 2018, 5:13 PM

    Ever since the midterm election, conservative media in the United States have targeted with special zeal Ilhan Omar, an incoming Somali-American Democratic congresswoman and a devout Muslim who wears hijab. In response to Democrats’ push to remove a headwear ban on the House floor to accommodate Omar, conservative commentator and pastor E.W. Jackson complained on a radio show that Muslims were transforming Congress into an “Islamic republic.”

    The Democratic Party has several rising political stars with Arab or Muslim backgrounds, all of whom have become objects of such conspiracy theories. But it’s not only American conservatives who have been indulging in this culture war. The organized attacks have also been coming from abroad—specifically, from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    The midterm elections have amplified an existing suspicion in Middle Eastern media of Muslim political activism in the United States. Academics, media outlets, and commentators close to Persian Gulf governments have repeatedly accused Omar, Rashida Tlaib (another newly elected Muslim congresswoman), and Abdul El-Sayed (who made a failed bid to become governor of Michigan) of being secret members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are hostile to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. On Sunday, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya published a feature insinuating that Omar and Tlaib were part of an alliance between the Democratic Party and Islamist groups to control Congress. The article accused the two of being “anti-Trump and his political team and options, especially his foreign policy starting from the sanctions on Iran to the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and all movements of political Islam.”

    In another example, a talk show on Saudi-owned station MBC discussed the Muslim congresswomen and more broadly the implications of Democrats taking the House. Prominent Arab anchor Amr Adib debated the matter with Egyptian political scientist Moataz Fattah, who suggested that Trump’s successful combating of Islamists would be undermined by the Democrats’ victory. The attacks have become so ubiquitous in the Persian Gulf that the trend itself is the subject of debate, both online and on television.

    Occasionally these attacks have been made by officials of those governments, in apparent anxiety that their countries’ expensive public relations and lobbying efforts might be undermined. Just hours after Omar won her election, for example, a staffer at the Saudi Embassy in the United States accused her of following the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he said has permeated the Democratic Party. “She will be hostile to the Gulf and a supporter of the political Islam represented in the Brotherhood in the Middle East,” tweeted Faisal al-Shammeri, a cultural advisor at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States, which is part of the embassy, and a writer for Al Arabiya.

    El-Sayed, an American born to Egyptian immigrants, noticed the attacks from the region during his campaign. Media in the Middle East amplified accusations by a Republican candidate for governor, Patrick Colbeck, that El-Sayed had links to the Brotherhood. Egyptian newspaper Youm7, for instance, reported that El-Sayed likely lost the election to his link to the “radical” Nation of Islam, and his relationship with Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour, “known for her radical views.”

    El-Sayed told me that political elites in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE felt threatened by American politicians who are also Muslim. For average Middle Easterners, his story is inspiring. (The clearest instance of Middle Easterners drawing such inspiration, ironically, was the first presidential election victory of Barack Obama, who faced false accusations of being a Muslim.)

    The rise of politicians like El-Sayed, Omar, and Tlaib also undermines a core argument advanced by dictators in the Middle East: that their people are not ready for democracy. “People would not have access to power in their countries but they would if they leave, this destroys the argument by Sisi or bin Salman,” El-Sayed said, referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “What’s ironic is there is no way I would aspire to be in leadership in Egypt, the place of my fathers.”

    American allies in the region also fear that the Democratic Party’s new Arab leaders will advocate for political change in their countries. Having spent millions of dollars for public relations campaigns in Western capitals, the Persian Gulf countries feel threatened by any policymakers with an independent interest in and knowledge of the region. They have thus framed these officials’ principled objections to regional violations of human rights and democratic norms as matters of personal bias. One commentator, who is known to echo government talking points and is frequently retweeted by government officials, recently spread the rumor that Omar is a descendent of a “Houthi Yemeni” to undermine her attacks on the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

    The most common attack online by the Saudi-led bloc on the Muslim-American Democrats has been to label them as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or more generally as ikhwanji, an extremist catch-all term. These attacks started long before this year’s elections. In 2014, the UAE even announced a terror list that included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The attacks attempting to tie Omar and Tlaib to the Muslim Brotherhood started in earnest after CAIR publicly welcomed their election to Congress. One UAE-based academic, Najat al-Saeed, criticized Arabic media for celebrating the two Muslim women’s victories at the midterms, and pointed to CAIR’s support for them as evidence of their ties to the Brotherhood.

    The attacks on Omar have also indulged in racism. While Tlaib and Omar have both been the targets of smears, it’s been easier for Gulf Arabs to single out Omar for insults because of her African heritage. Negative stereotypes about Africans— who serve as poorly treated migrant workers in the Gulf’s oil economy— are widespread throughout the region.

    This was evident in the social media campaign launched last month against Omar by Ahmad al-Farraj, a Saudi writer and researcher with UAE-based Trends Research and Advisory—a firm founded by a former Dubai police official and consultant. He attacked Omar for criticizing Trump’s muted response to the CIA assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely directed the murder of former U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. “These miserable beings coming from the underdeveloped worlds are more hateful to their race and to you than any enemy,” Al Farraj tweeted to his more than 60,000 followers. A steady stream of racist attacks followed in response. One person tweeted a picture of Omar accompanied by the caption “whenever you buy a slave, buy a stick along with the slave. The slave is miserable filth.”

    Other than the flurry of racist comments, Omar was trolled based on two false accusations: that she was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that she had married her brother. Hashtags also began trending with dozens of anonymous accounts tweeting slightly different variations of the same language, and echoing known government-affiliated accounts. The pattern is typical of Twitter troll armies that seem to be used regularly by Mohammed bin Salman to silence the kingdom’s critics.

    ———-

    “Saudi Arabia Declares War on America’s Muslim Congresswomen” by OLA SALEM, Foreign Policy, 12/11/2018

    “The Democratic Party has several rising political stars with Arab or Muslim backgrounds, all of whom have become objects of such conspiracy theories. But it’s not only American conservatives who have been indulging in this culture war. The organized attacks have also been coming from abroad—specifically, from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Trump and the GOP are late the Ilhan Omar hate party. But it’s not just a hate fest. It’s also a love fest for Trump:


    The midterm elections have amplified an existing suspicion in Middle Eastern media of Muslim political activism in the United States. Academics, media outlets, and commentators close to Persian Gulf governments have repeatedly accused Omar, Rashida Tlaib (another newly elected Muslim congresswoman), and Abdul El-Sayed (who made a failed bid to become governor of Michigan) of being secret members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are hostile to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. On Sunday, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya published a feature insinuating that Omar and Tlaib were part of an alliance between the Democratic Party and Islamist groups to control Congress. The article accused the two of being “anti-Trump and his political team and options, especially his foreign policy starting from the sanctions on Iran to the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and all movements of political Islam.”

    In another example, a talk show on Saudi-owned station MBC discussed the Muslim congresswomen and more broadly the implications of Democrats taking the House. Prominent Arab anchor Amr Adib debated the matter with Egyptian political scientist Moataz Fattah, who suggested that Trump’s successful combating of Islamists would be undermined by the Democrats’ victory. The attacks have become so ubiquitous in the Persian Gulf that the trend itself is the subject of debate, both online and on television.

    Attacks that focus on the charge the Omar is secretly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that the Muslim Brotherhood is in an alliance with the Democrats. Attacks that appear to be driven, in part, by a fear that elected Muslims in the West might encourage their own populations to push for democracy.:


    Occasionally these attacks have been made by officials of those governments, in apparent anxiety that their countries’ expensive public relations and lobbying efforts might be undermined. Just hours after Omar won her election, for example, a staffer at the Saudi Embassy in the United States accused her of following the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he said has permeated the Democratic Party. “She will be hostile to the Gulf and a supporter of the political Islam represented in the Brotherhood in the Middle East,” tweeted Faisal al-Shammeri, a cultural advisor at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States, which is part of the embassy, and a writer for Al Arabiya.

    El-Sayed, an American born to Egyptian immigrants, noticed the attacks from the region during his campaign. Media in the Middle East amplified accusations by a Republican candidate for governor, Patrick Colbeck, that El-Sayed had links to the Brotherhood. Egyptian newspaper Youm7, for instance, reported that El-Sayed likely lost the election to his link to the “radical” Nation of Islam, and his relationship with Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour, “known for her radical views.”

    The rise of politicians like El-Sayed, Omar, and Tlaib also undermines a core argument advanced by dictators in the Middle East: that their people are not ready for democracy. “People would not have access to power in their countries but they would if they leave, this destroys the argument by Sisi or bin Salman,” El-Sayed said, referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “What’s ironic is there is no way I would aspire to be in leadership in Egypt, the place of my fathers.”

    American allies in the region also fear that the Democratic Party’s new Arab leaders will advocate for political change in their countries. Having spent millions of dollars for public relations campaigns in Western capitals, the Persian Gulf countries feel threatened by any policymakers with an independent interest in and knowledge of the region. They have thus framed these officials’ principled objections to regional violations of human rights and democratic norms as matters of personal bias. One commentator, who is known to echo government talking points and is frequently retweeted by government officials, recently spread the rumor that Omar is a descendent of a “Houthi Yemeni” to undermine her attacks on the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

    The most common attack online by the Saudi-led bloc on the Muslim-American Democrats has been to label them as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or more generally as ikhwanji, an extremist catch-all term. These attacks started long before this year’s elections. In 2014, the UAE even announced a terror list that included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The attacks attempting to tie Omar and Tlaib to the Muslim Brotherhood started in earnest after CAIR publicly welcomed their election to Congress. One UAE-based academic, Najat al-Saeed, criticized Arabic media for celebrating the two Muslim women’s victories at the midterms, and pointed to CAIR’s support for them as evidence of their ties to the Brotherhood.

    Now, it’s important to recognize that we shouldn’t be surprised if Muslim politicians are associated with CAIR and get endorsed by CAIR since it’s the best financed and most prominent American Muslim advocacy group. But it’s also important to recognize that many of the criticisms of CAIR, like charges from secular Muslims that CAIR is influenced by strict Saudi-based religious interpretations and Muslim Brotherhood organizations, are indeed valid but that conservative Islamic influence is invariably tied to the fact that CAIR has received much of its funding from large Saudi donations, like $500,000 from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and the extensive historical ties between the Saudi government and the Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, when the Saudi government attacks CAIR for being influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, they’re essentially attacking their own handiwork. It’s a complicated history.

    And then there’s the attacks on Omar’s race:

    The attacks on Omar have also indulged in racism. While Tlaib and Omar have both been the targets of smears, it’s been easier for Gulf Arabs to single out Omar for insults because of her African heritage. Negative stereotypes about Africans— who serve as poorly treated migrant workers in the Gulf’s oil economy— are widespread throughout the region.

    This was evident in the social media campaign launched last month against Omar by Ahmad al-Farraj, a Saudi writer and researcher with UAE-based Trends Research and Advisory—a firm founded by a former Dubai police official and consultant. He attacked Omar for criticizing Trump’s muted response to the CIA assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely directed the murder of former U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. “These miserable beings coming from the underdeveloped worlds are more hateful to their race and to you than any enemy,” Al Farraj tweeted to his more than 60,000 followers. A steady stream of racist attacks followed in response. One person tweeted a picture of Omar accompanied by the caption “whenever you buy a slave, buy a stick along with the slave. The slave is miserable filth.”

    Other than the flurry of racist comments, Omar was trolled based on two false accusations: that she was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that she had married her brother. Hashtags also began trending with dozens of anonymous accounts tweeting slightly different variations of the same language, and echoing known government-affiliated accounts. The pattern is typical of Twitter troll armies that seem to be used regularly by Mohammed bin Salman to silence the kingdom’s critics.

    So given that Trump and the GOP and planning on making the Saudi/UAE attacks linking Ilhan Omar and the Democratic Party to the Muslim Brotherhood a centerpiece of their 2020 campaign strategy, and given the very historical and ideological ties between the Republican Party to the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s worth keeping in mind that this represents a great opportunity for Americans to actually explore this complicated history. There’s a lot of valuable lessons under that rock.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2019, 2:25 pm

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