The Muslim Brotherhood Deception & Education

By Rachel Ehrenfeld, J. Millard Burr
Thursday, April 18th, 2013 @ 4:23AM

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings is a good way to illustrate the “flexibility” principle that dictates the organization’s modus operandi.

Egypt serves as the MB headquarters. Its Freedom and Justice Party released a statement in English condemning the bombing and “offering heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims.”

On Facebook in Arabic, senior Brotherhood leader and vice chairman of the party Essam el-Erian suggested a Western conspiracy linking the Boston bombings to the French war in Mali, the “destruction” of Syria and Iraq, and the faltering rapprochement between the Turkish government and Kurdish rebels.

El-Erian asked “Who disturbed democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred, and intolerance to freedom, justice, tolerance, development, human dignity, and social justice?”

El -Erian continued to answer his own accusatory question with another one: “Who planted Islamophobia through research, the press, and the media? Who funded the violence?” Who?

El-Erian’s Arabic-speaking audience of course knows the answer because they’ve been fed it with their mothers’ milk. Who? The corrupt infidels, the U.S. and … the Jews…

This flexibility, i.e., deception, is used by the MB, and is central to their indoctrination methods and educational curriculum. For this reason, the MB aims to control the education system anywhere it can. Here is how it works:

The Muslim Brotherhood & the Education System

 J. Millard Burr

Senior Fellow, ACD

In the second week of April 2013, Egyptian papers were full of articles on the growing unrest within Egypt’s universities.

Students are especially incensed with a Higher Education Ministry decision to postpone student elections to the Federation of Egypt Student Union. Almost certainly the elections would have diminished the leadership role of the Muslim Brotherhood’s student wing within the education system itself. (See, “University students protest alleged Brotherhood influence on union vote,” Al Masri Al Youm, 10 April 2013)  Protests have most recently occurred at Helwan, Ain Shams, Mansoura, and Sohag universities. Meanwhile, recent elections “have witnessed a remarkable drop in support for Brotherhood-linked students. In greater Cairo and Alexandria they won less than 30 percent of seats.”
Remarkable indeed, especially in the case of Alexandria where its university has for more than thirty years been a Muslim Brotherhood breeding-ground, and where the Ikhwan had for years controlled student elections. In the May 2012, in the Alexandria teacher’s syndicate elections, Dr. Ahmed Halawani, the Ikhwan’s candidate from the Change and Reform list, was elected.  In all, the Brotherhood gained a majority of seats despite what the organization claimed was a “fierce and relentless smear campaign conducted by the media against the Muslim brotherhood … in a desperate attempt to undermine [its] popularity.”

Its popularity was truly undermined in September 2012 when some 133,000 teachers participated in a general strike demanding a substantial increase in pay and “removal of corrupt figures” from the Education Ministry. The teachers as a group remain unhappy to this day.  In less than a year, the Ikhwan domination of the teacher’s syndicate has been drastically reduced thanks in large part to student protests.  And in at least thirteen universities, including Cairo and Ain Shams, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate has lost its once commanding presence.

The student revolt has been used by the opposition Free Egyptian Party to condemn the numerous assaults on students carried out by thugs “affiliated with the ruling regime.”  The opposition argues that universities have become a “venue for violence,” and that President Morsi and his Ikhwan allies are attempting “to change the identity of Egyptian universities in favor of currents that embrace extremist thoughts.”

Control of Egyptian universities is still up for grabs, and significant events occurring almost daily are worth following.


In the quarter-century that began with President Gamal Abd al-Nasir’s smashing of the Muslim Brotherhood and ended with the return of the organization allowed under President Anwar Sadat, the Muslim Brotherhood survived thanks in large part to the efforts of expatriate Egyptians. The Ikhwan was kept alive thanks to them and to their tactics, which included the infiltration of education systems–especially in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Sudan, and among Muslims studying in the United States.

In April 2013, the Al Mezmaah Center for Studies and Research, a Dubai, UAE “think-tank,” published an article whose theme concerned the Muslim Brotherhood “conspiracy” against the UAE, a conspiracy it claims can  be traced to the late nineteen sixties.  (See Samir Salama, “Rise and Fall of Muslim Brotherhood in UAE,” Gulf News, 13 April 2013.)  

During those years, “the global movement of the Brotherhood decided to invade the UAE and other Gulf states, through recruiting students who studied abroad. Those students operated secretly through front organisations like mafia-style gangs, money-laundering and espionage rings,” [stated] Dr Ali Salem Humaid, chairman of the Al Mezmaah Centre for Studies and Research.  Dr Humaid added that the Brotherhood’s cell in the UAE influenced the country’s education and judiciary until its political society Jammiyat Al Islah was dissolved in 1994.

In the UAE, as elsewhere, potential Ikhwan were recruited in high school and college. A select few that showed real promise in various administrative capacities would be referred to the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office and be promoted.  The passage from neophyte to a major leadership position could take decades.

Tharwat Al Kherbawi, a UAE lawyer, recently broke the Ikhwan’s code of silence and produced a memoir that exposes the secrets of the Brotherhood. Addressing a recent UAE symposium titled “Challenges and threats posed by the Muslim Brotherhood to UAE and countries of the Region,” he claimed that “Emirati members of the Muslim Brotherhood take a proxy allegiance oath, where these members swear allegiance before another veteran leader in the UAE, who in turn swears allegiance before the Supreme Guide in Cairo.” He also noted that the “young initiates were taught that joining the movement was a religious obligation, like prayer, and that the supreme guide is above any mistakes.”

Al Kherbawi makes the interesting admission that the Ikhwan is comprised of three groups in every country where it is present: “a national group made up of citizens of the particular country, a clandestine cell comprising expatriate Egyptians in that country, and an international group that is based in New York.”  The last claim, that there is an international group based in New York is, the author believes, the first such mention of the Ikhwan operating from New York.

Regarding the UAE itself, the Ikhwan chapter Al Islah (Reform Society) was founded in 1974, with branches created in Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.  By the early nineteen eighties it had gained control of the public education system, which led the authorities to initiate a crackdown on the Ikhwan. They became especially vigilant after Egypt claimed that Al Islah was funding the Islamist Egypt Al Jihad. In 1994 Al Islah was officially proscribed.

In 2003 UAE authorities began transferring teachers with an Ikhwan background out of the education system. The following year known Ikhwan were removed from the Ministry of Education.

The Emirates remain vigilant to this day and, though they seek to create a strong relationship with Egypt, experience demands that they have every reason to be leery of its Morsi government.

As for the UAE handling of the Ikhwan penetration of its education system, it could serve as an example for both Jordan and Yemen, among other Muslim states.

Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, ACD/EWI Exclusive, Middle East Conflicts, Muslim Brotherhood

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