The Obama administration has a soft spot in its heart for the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood.
Just last month, the U.S. State Department went out of its way to insult the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom the Obama administration should be treating as a valuable ally in the fight against global jihadism, by hosting a delegation of leaders who have been aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. The State Department’s guests at the meeting, whose visit was arranged and paid for by Georgetown University, included former Freedom and Justice Party members (the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party). One of the State Department officials who met with the delegation was the deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki downplayed the importance of the meeting, which she said was “routine at the State Department as they meet political party leaders from across the world.” But the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned guests lost no opportunity to propagandize their grand reception at the State Department. One of them posed for a picture in front of the State Department’s logo, proudly displaying the jihadist group’s notorious four-finger symbol of defiance, known as the R4BIA salute.
Meanwhile, following the State Department meeting, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt called on its supporters to prepare for “a long, uncompromising jihad.”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry said that the meeting, far from being routine, was “not understandable as they are not a political party, and according to the Egyptian law they should be treated as a terrorist group.”
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are certainly in a position to know first-hand, have also declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group.
President Obama evidently believes otherwise. His favorable attitude towards the jihadist organization goes back to the earliest days of his first term as president, evidenced by his administration’s invitation to Muslim Brotherhood leaders to attend his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo on June 4, 2009. The administration’s outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood has continued unabated ever since.
Back in 2012, for example, members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood met with U.S. officials including White House staffers. “Following Egypt’s revolution, we have broadened our engagement to include new and emerging political parties and actors,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told POLITICO at the time.
In 2013, Mohamed Elibiary, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter who served as a member of the Obama administration’s Homeland Security Advisory Panel, tweeted that America is “an Islamic country” with an “Islamically compliant constitution.” He has argued that the Muslim Brotherhood is comparable to Christian evangelicals. He also displayed the “R4BIA” four-finger salute symbol associated with the Muslim Brotherhood on his Twitter profile. Elibiary quit his post a year later after questions were raised about his alleged radical Islamist ties.
In early 2014, a UK-based Muslim Brotherhood leader met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House, accompanying a delegation of the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.
In late 2014, the White House issued a statement claiming that “We have not seen credible evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its decades-long commitment to non-violence.” Apparently, the Muslim Brotherhood’s active support for Hamas, itself an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and still recognized by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, does not constitute “credible evidence” to the Muslim Brotherhood’s boosters in the Obama White House.
Indeed, the Obama administration is convinced to this day that the Muslim Brotherhood’s participation in Egypt’s political process should continue to be recognized as a legitimate path to genuine democracy in Egypt. On the other hand, they apparently question the legitimacy of President al-Sisi, whom they hold responsible for engineering the overthrow of the elected Muslim Brotherhood-supported former President, Mohamed Morsi.
Never mind that Morsi was usurping powers in his single-minded drive towards imposing a strict code of Islamic law on millions of unwilling Egyptian citizens, who rose up against him in a popular rebellion.
Never mind that President al-Sisi, whatever his own flaws may be, has reached out to the Egyptian Christian community and warned Islamic leaders, whom he addressed last month at Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most prestigious Sunni religious school, that “we are in need of a religious revolution.” He exhorted the imams to act because “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost – and it is being lost by our own hands.”
Obama did not embrace President al-Sisi’s call for Muslim scholars and religious leaders to examine their own “corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” as the dangerous ideological source of the global jihadist scourge. To the contrary, the Obama administration has embraced the embodiment of the jihadist ideology – the Muslim Brotherhood.
“What this shows is that the widespread rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, particularly the largest protests in recorded human history in Egypt on June 30, 2013, that led to President Morsi’s ouster, is not recognized by the State Department and the Obama administration,” said Patrick Poole, a terrorism expert and national security reporter. “This is a direct insult to our Egyptian allies, who are in an existential struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood, all in the pursuit of the mythical ‘moderate Islamists’ who the D.C. foreign policy elite still believe will bring democracy to the Middle East,” Poole added.
One of the State Department’s guests last month was Mohamed Gamal Heshmat, an exiled member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s shura council and former parliamentarian. Heshmat claimed he also met with “a representative of the White House.” He added that “The voice of the Egyptian revolution must be loud everywhere.” Heshmat has in the past posed with Hamas Chairman Khaled Meshaal.
Even in its non-violent pose, the Muslim Brotherhood engages in stealth jihad. Its document entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” which was published in 1991, declared: “The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] 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.”
That central goal of the Muslim Brotherhood has not changed in the nearly a quarter of a century since it was enunciated. President Obama, meanwhile, is serving as its enabler.