The Muslim Brotherhood: Is Wagdi Ghoneim, the New Qaradawi Waiting in the Wings?

By J. Millard Burr*
Friday, September 19th, 2014 @ 3:57AM

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Yusuf Qaradawi, the octogenarian and putative senior cleric of the international Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun), has reached an age where he is not now expected to play a significant role in what has become a cloudy Ikhwan future.

Among those waiting in the wings is Wagdi Abd al-Hamid Mohamed Ghoneim.  Ghoneim is a sixty-three year old cleric who, like the aging Ikhwan spokesman Qaradawi is Egyptian, lives in exile in Doha, Qatar, and like Qaradawi rarely misses a chance to flaunt his Islamist credentials.  Still, it is unlikely that Ghoneim will ever achieve Qaradawi’s eminence.  The latter was an academic of renown, publishing more than 120 books. In one case alone, Qaradawi’s book, “The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam,” has been translated into many languages and has sold more than a million copies.  It is said to be the most popular book purchased after the Koran.

It will indeed be difficult to replace Qaradawi because the Islamist theologian is very well known and respected public figure.  His television and radio program “Sharia and Life,” broadcast by Qatar’s al Jazeera, has had an estimated audience of 60 million Muslims.  He was also adept at using the Internet, and had many followers on his IslamOnline program.

In addition, Qaradawi has served as advisor to the largest of Islamic banks (some of questionable reputation), of which many have emerged over the last quarter century.   Like Ghoneim, he has been refused entry to the United Kingdom (2008) and from the United States after he issued a ruling (fatwa) that condoned the killing of U.S. soldiers active in the Dar al-Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood, A Review

The first Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun) challenge to the Egyptian military was initiated the mid-nineteen fifties. The final crackdown, which dispersed the movement, occurred in the mid-nineteen sixties.  By the time of President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s death in September 1970, the Ikhwan was practically moribund.  Its resuscitation followed the propaganda “victory” that resulted from the Ramadan War (Yom Kippur War) initiated by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October 1973.  Thereafter, a small number of Ikhwan were released from prison.  In the next decade the Cairo center slowly but surely began to revive what had become a moribund international movement. Simultaneously, Ikhwan chapters in Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq “agreed to join the Egyptians with their headquarters in Egypt,” and with an Egyptian “murshid” (authority) serving as the organization’s leader.  Importantly, the Saudi royal family and Kuwaiti millionaires opened their wallets to favor an organization that was badly in need of funding.

By 1974 President Anwar Sadat was confident enough of his own personal hold on government to free the military grip on Ikhwan activity that had existed for nearly twenty years.  As a young man Sadat (1918-1981) had plotted to overthrow the monarchy and expel the British from Egypt.  And when Sadat formed in 1939 “the first secret organization of army officers” devoted to revolution, his close friend and second in command Abdel Munim Abdul-Rauf would eventually become an Ikhwan leader.  Sadat would never admit that he had joined the Ikhwan, but he did attend Ikhwan meetings and he even helped Ikhwan figures and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to mount what would be a failed revolution against the British presence in Iraq.

During the Sadat regnum that lasted until his assassination in 1981 the Ikhwan was allowed to revive (albeit slowly and without fanfare).  Thereafter, with Hosni Mubarak as president, the Ikhwan had an on-again, off-again relationship.  The Ikhwan was at times attacked indirectly, but its members were allowed to enter politics as long as they did so under the aegis of a recognized political party.  Thus, that was how matters stood, when in January 2011 the aging Mubarak administration was attacked by a number of “Arab Spring” forces active in Egypt.  The Ikhwan, the largest of Egypt’s social and quasi-theological movements, did not light the fuse that led to Mubarak’s demise.  It did, however, take advantage of the chaos that followed to take charge of the incipient revolution.  And its members like Qaradawi and Ghoneim were only too ready to play a part.

Ghoneim: The Early Years

Wagdi Ghoneim was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and his date of birth is given as either 1949, or February 8, 1951.  He became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood while still quite young.  During the turbulent years of brutal state repression Ghoneim, like other Muslim Brothers, was arrested and imprisoned several times.

In 1988 the US Consulate at Alexandria, Egypt, issued a report that fingered the thirty-nine year-old Goneim as a “rising star” in that city’s burgeoning Islamist movement.  It provided little hard data on Ghoneim other than the fact that he began to serve as Imam in the early nineteen seventies.  He had studied business administration at the University of Alexandria, and he took various courses in Islamic religion at Muslim schools in that city.

From his base in a mosque located in the eastern quarter of Alexandria, by the force of personality, mesmerizing rhetoric, and the subtle use of anecdote he gained a large following.  Eventually, cassettes of his sermons were distributed throughout Egypt.  Consequently, his influence soon extended well beyond Alexandria and had a special impact in the Nile Delta and Beheira Governorate.  The Alexandria Consulate emphasized that, “The message propagated by Ghoneim is bluntly anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-Western. Observant Muslims are admonished to avoid western clothes, Western music, even to avoid shaking hands with non-Muslims.”

Ghoneim the Traveller

Always under surveillance in Egypt, Ghoneim was arrested eight times for anti-state activity.  In 1993, at a time when the Mubarak government was once again pressuring Ghoneim and the Muslim Brotherhood to cease their revolutionary rhetoric, the Canadian embassy in Cairo rejected Ghoneim’s request for a visa.  He was, however, allowed entry to the United States.  Once there, he preached to large and small audiences.  In 1997 and 1998, Ghoniem appeared at the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) of the United States, an institution known to support the positions of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian arm, the Hamas movement.  He also appeared at Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) conclaves held in local mosques and Islamic centers across the United States.  IAP was incorporated in Chicago in November of 1981.  By the early nineteen nineties it became known as the American Muslim Society.  (In June 1994 its leadership formed a splinter group and founded CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.) It was at a conference of American Muslim Alliance held at Brooklyn College on 24 May 1998 that he first received some notoriety by referring to Jews as “monkeys” and “pigs.”

During a lecture tour just prior to that event, Sheikh Ghoneim was denied entry to Canada in January 1998 when he tried to enter Windsor, Ontario, from Detroit.  Canadian Security Intelligence Service officials denied him entry, claiming he was a member of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.  In response, Muslim leaders in Detroit, Toronto and Windsor bitterly protested Ghoneim’s detention, arguing the denial of entry was evidence of an anti-Muslim bias.  Ghoneim was, they claimed, a “man of peace.”

Still under threat of arrest in Egypt, Ghoneim had begun his formal residence in the United States in 2001.  He served for a time as imam at the notorious Islamic Institute of Orange County, California. During his tenure there he was named chairman of the North American Imams Federation.  Ghoneim was awarded in 2004 an American Society of Muslim Scholars Certificate in “Handling Muslim USA Family Counseling & Crisis Management.”  Shortly afterward he was arrested in Anaheim for overstaying his visa.  Ghoneim claimed that he was in the process of applying for a visa extension, but his questionable activities, including his support for charities that funded a blacklisted Hamas, led to his arrest.  Held without bail, in January 2005 Ghoneim discontinued his battle with US officialdom and departed the United States.  He was then banned from re-entering the United States for ten-years.

After departing the U.S. he received a Master’s degree in Islamic Theology in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies in 2008.   From 2004-2008 Ghoneim was a “student” at the Graduate Theological Foundation, an upscale diploma-mill located in Mishawaka, Indiana.   The Foundation, a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, is authorized to award advanced degrees in various fields of theology.  Students are usually “working clergy, academics and administrators,” who wish to obtain advanced degrees while “retaining their current position.”  His “thesis” was reportedly titled, “Divine Shura and the Status of Democracy.”  (In an al-Jazeera interview granted on16 September 2011, Ghoneim claimed that democracy was “founded on principles of heresy.”)

Labeled a “fundraiser” for Hamas, in September 2005 Ghoneim was denied entry to Switzerland–whose officials noted his numerous arrests in Egypt and his expulsion form the United States.  Next, Ghoneim was expelled from Bahrain, where he had hoped to gain citizenship and thus make his pied-a-terre.  A Kuwait expose surfaced in November 2007 that reported the Egyptian cleric had supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.  It was an affront to all Gulf States and ended his stay in Bahrain.

Apparently in search of a new home, he next chose South Africa.  However, that did not last long.  Security forces in Johannesburg Airport arrested Ghoneim while he was ready to embark for Yemen to attend an Islamic conference.  By then he was a resident of South Africa, but he and his family had only recently been granted an official visa.  The Sheikh had left South Africa several times to attend conferences and seminars, but the government had apparently tired of his contentious ways.

Ghoneim next traveled to several countries including England, where he was denied entry and banned from re-entering the country.  He arrived in Yemen where he maintained residence for a time after his expulsion from Bahrain.  When the Yemeni government had reason to fear that Ghoneim was playing politics in an increasingly unstable Yemen, the government used the first chance it could to make him persona non grata and carry out his expulsion.  After Ghoneim travelled to Malaysia and then to Qatar, on his return to Sana’a with his wife he was arrested and forced to return to Doha where he was welcomed by the al-Thani ruling family, which has long supported the Muslim Brotherhood and provided a home to its preeminent cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Despite a series of arrests and expulsions, Ghoneim was hardly cowed.  He made no effort disguise his allegiance, revealing more than most Brothers by admitting, “I am [Ikhwan] to the core.”  Importantly, he acknowledged that Muslim Brotherhood offices had “spread to more than 60 countries around the world, including Arab countries, Europe, and the United States. The Muslim Brotherhood is an established reality on the ground; it is not an imaginary entity regardless of the fact that in the media outlets it is dubbed as a banned organization.”  (Wagdi Ghoneim interview appearing in Al Sharq al-Awsat, Muslim Brotherhood sources, 12 August 2009.)

Like Qaradawi, Ghoneim began to make frequent appearances on Qatar TV, where his rhetoric seconded Qaradawi in the hatred for Jews and support for Jihad.  In May 2009 the peripatetic murshid was placed on the British Home Office’s list of “Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred.”  He was “Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to foment, justify or glory terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.”  Indeed, Ghoneim spared no one in the West and, in a notorious lecture that appeared on al-Jazeera Television on 16 July 2009, he called French President Sarkozy a “criminal fornicator.” (MEMRI translation).   Nonetheless, Ghoneim made various trips to Europe where, inter alia, he was a welcome guest at Ikhwan meetings sponsored by the Union of Islamic Organizations in Italy (UCOII), the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland (ICCI), and the League of Swiss Muslims.

Ghoneim and Egypt

Despite his long exile, Ghoneim was still one of Egypt’s best-known clerics.  By then his research included studies on the life and practices of the prophet Muhammad, various Quaranic, Fiqh (works on Muslim law), and Sharia studies, the history of early Muslims and their battles.  He hosted many television programs in Doha, on Bahrain TV, Jordan TV, Iqraa TV, etc.  However, despite his years in exile Ghoneim had hardly mellowed.  In a February 2010 appearance on Al Aqsa Television he stated, “We pray to Allah that we be terrorists, if terror means Jihad.”  Then in another 2010 appearance on Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV, Ghoneim reportedly said, “We are a nation that excels in the production of the art of death. … I will die anyway, so I should be creative to make sure my death is for the sake of Allah.”  (Translation provided by Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.)

Ghoneim continually accused the government of Egypt of favoring the Christian minority by allowing the building of fifty new churches per year (a figure that would surprise several local priests who cannot even obtain permission to repair, for example, caved-in roofs). Ghoneim also charged that Egyptian Christians (Copts) were using monasteries and convents to hide arms that eventually would be used against Muslims. Then banging the drum of what had become a familiar strain he argued that the growing problem of drug abuse in Egypt “was not only straying from God’s established rules, but as the result of a Zionist-American conspiracy against the Islamic Umma.”

With the emergence of the Arab Spring in Egypt, in January and February 2011 Ghoneim used the media to exhort the mob that gathered at Cairo’s Tahrir Square to revolutionary activity. He also appears to have been behind a short-lived movement that urged he be made President of Egypt.

By late August the mob had been coopted by the Muslim Brotherhood. That month, Ghoneim was reportedly detained in Yemen. What he was up to was not explained, but the Ikhwan cleric was detained at the Sana airport and deported back to Qatar.

Shortly afterward, on 5 August, Ghoneim stated on al Jazeera:

“I do not acknowledge all these terms: secular, liberal, whatever… One thing I know: A Muslim loves and exalts his religion, and he wants to be ruled by Islam, because he is a Muslim. Let’s look at a simple example. Doesn’t a soccer fan love his team and want it to win the league, as well as the cup, the European Cup, the World Cup, and the African Cup? I have yet to see someone who hates his own religion. Someone who hates his own religion is a heretic. Someone who tells you that he doesn’t want Islam is a heretic. If he tells you he doesn’t love Islam, he is a heretic. If he tells you that God does not rule us, he is a heretic. If he tells you that we do not need Islam today, he is a heretic.”

Ghoneim, who despite the Arab Spring and the fall of Mubarak continued to live outside Egypt, continued to rail against Christianity. His hatred was evident in March 2012 and at a time when Egyptian Christians mourned the passing of Pope Shenouda III.  The 88-year-old Coptic patriarch who died at his home in Alexandria was the 117th Pope in the succession in the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist.

From his base in Doha, Ghoneim immediately caused controversy by issuing a video defaming Shenouda III.  Calling Shenouda the “head of infidels,” his nasty video that defamed the Coptic patriarch was seen by an estimated 150,000 viewers in its first twenty-four hours.  Ghoneim accused the deceased of having incited sectarian violence in Egypt by declaring that Muslims “occupied” Egypt.  Shenouda was also accused of having plans to challenge Muslims’ faith.  The video, which was eventually seen by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, led to heated protests from the Coptic community.  A complaint was filed with the attorney general and charged Ghoneim with defaming Christianity.  As one Copt put it, “There was no consideration whatsoever as to what the Copts are going through. This is a kind of hate speech.”

Ghoneim was unfazed.  He mocked the Copts, arguing, “What do you think–that America will protect you? Let’s be very clear, America will not protect you. If so, it would have protected the Christians of Iraq when they were being butchered!”–a reference to the fact that, after the U.S. ousted Saddam Hussein, “half of Iraq’s Christian population has either been butchered or fled the nation, and all under U.S. auspices.”

After elections were held and Morsi was made president on 30 June 2012, Ghoneim was hardly circumspect.

In September Ghoneim” was interviewed by Al-Jazeera media during which he claimed that Democracy was “founded on principles of heresy.”  At a time when Egypt was considering elections to replace the deposed President Mubarak, his fiery statements were thought to be of little help.

Ghoneim and Morsi

As the government of Mohamed Morsi hung by a thread, Ghoneim did him no favor by continuously urging the Egyptian President to eliminate his opposition.  He also made trouble abroad.  In February 2012, he was invited by Tunisian charities and Salafists–presumably including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ennahda party that dominated the government–to lecture on a variety of subjects, including the need to unite the Muslim community (Ummah).  Thus, he advocated the unification of Tunisian Salafists, a particularly reactionary Islamist strain, with the Ennahda. The Ikhwan and its powerful spokesman and Muslim Brother, Rachid Ghannouchi, dominated the latter.

That was fine until Ghoneim advocated female genital mutilation.  Uproar resulted because the practice was not at all popular in Tunisia.  His argument was even rejected by Ennahda, which claimed that the practice had “no connection to the Islamic tradition.”  And then in what was the unkindest cut of all, it added that the party was not responsible for extending an invitation to Ghoneim.  Before he could even leave Tunisia human rights activists filed suit charging him with inciting hatred.  He was also castigated for, among other things, advocating polygamy (outlawed in Tunisia).

Morsi was elected President of Egypt on 30 June 2012.  However his tenure began with the nation already in turmoil.  As he tried to move stealthily to cement the power of the Ikhwan and impose Sharia, only a month later his opponents to the street to protest Morsy and the Ikhwan’s increasingly dictatorial government and a deteriorating economy.  Day after day protesters massed even though they were warned that the Ikhwan would use violence against anti-Brotherhood elements.  (See August 20 and later reporting in Al-Masry Al-Youm.) In the meantime the military, the real power in Egypt, watched and waited expecting the Ikhwan to crumble in the face of widespread protests.

The protesters used a Facebook page calling for “a second revolution on 24 August to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood and its party.”  The protesters were forewarned that the Ikhwan was preparing violence in the face of the protest.  It didn’t help that “a controversial fatwa was issued by radical Qatar-based cleric Wagdi Ghoneim” condoning the killing of anti-Ikhwan protesters.  Ghoneim argued that it was “legitimate to kill those who would protest Morsi’s rule, just like at Prophet Mohamed’s time, when outsiders (khawarij) to Islam were killed by the prophet’s men.”

It was then reported that Ghoneim had been “sentenced in absentia in January 2011 by the State Security Emergency Court to five years in prison … on charges of money laundering and financing the Muslim Brotherhood, then an outlawed organization. He was recently pardoned by Morsi, a former leader of the Brotherhood.”

The 24 August movement urged Morsi to reject Ghoneim’s fatwa, and urged the issue of an arrest warrant to bring him to justice.  It also urged Morsi to accept peaceful demonstrations and arrest ‘militias and armed gangs’ that publicly announced [their] presence among the Brotherhood leaderships.  They asked Morsi to use the power of his office to arrest anyone who attacked peaceful demonstrators.  When Morsi refused, or remained silent, his presidency was doomed.

An indication that Ghoneim remained his own man occurred in September 2012 when he publicly castigated President Morsi for just having declared Egypt “a civil state.”  The statement was politically expedient at the time, but it was not at all what Ghoneim–who argued for the imposition of Muslim Law (Sharia) and an Islamist State of Egypt–wanted to hear.  Chastised, it is believed that Morsi did not use that phrase again.

In late 2012, with the government dominated by Ikhwan under threat, Ghoneim publicly blamed Egyptian Christians (Copts) for President Morsi’s problems.  Copts, he argued, dominated the anti-Morsi sentiment then spreading through Egypt, and they were at the forefront of protests then occurring in Tahrir Square, Cairo.  Ghoneim, who in late 2012 had thanked Allah for the death of his personal enemy, the Coptic Pope Shenouda, issued a video–“A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt”–that reminded Christians “Egypt is a Muslim country,” and threatened the Copts with total annihilation. Downplaying the fact that there were some ten million Copts in Egypt, he stated:  “The day Egyptians–and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians–feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!”  Ghoneim then compared Christians to soulless animals, and he menaced Coptic places of worship.

Ghoneim argued that protesters were misguided souls, and he asked: “Why are you siding with crusaders and infidels against Sharia?”  He was known to quote the Koran 49:9: “If two factions among the believers fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah.”  There was no doubt in Ghoneim’s mind that those who opposed Sharia were opposing Islam itself.

By January 2013 Morsi had lost control of the streets.  In that month Ghoneim implored the president to kill the ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals’ who were “causing the unrest that has plagued Egypt the past weeks.” Ghoneim was also reported to have gloated over the recent devastation caused in the United States by Hurricane Sandy, claiming it was the revenge of God on the infidels.

In mid-June, Egypt’s opposition Tamarod (Rebel) campaign claimed it had gathered almost 15 million signatures supporting new presidential elections.  With that, Ghoneim responded publicly that participation in the Tamarod national protest scheduled for 30 June was forbidden.

Calling President Morsi a legitimately elected president, Ghoneim argued that those who took part in street protests were “disbelievers” and comprised “crusaders, criminals, thugs and traitors.” (Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, 16 June 2013)  Ghoneim added that Morsi supporters would not allow the disbelievers to take power.  To incite the Ikhwan base he then claimed that weapons had been stashed in churches, and argued that they all should be searched.

It was too late for Morsi.  In early July his administration, which had lasted only a year, was ousted by the military that promised new presidential and parliament elections.  The coup leaders led by General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, suspended the constitution, named an interim president and then jailed Morsi along with as many as 300 Muslim Brothers.  Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Ikhwan’s Freedom and Justice Party, was placed under arrest.  Wagdi Ghoneim was charged but could not be served as he remained at home in Doha.

The clashes resulted after Morsi issued a decree that his opponents argued gave the President both illegal and extra constitutional powers.  Morsi and his presidential staff were later accused of using their supporters to attack peaceful protesters.  After Morsi was deposed the military claimed that he had ordered Ikhwan thugs to attack peaceful protesters who congregated in front of Ettehadiya.

When the Ikhwan leaders were brought to trail in criminal court on January 2014 the state had compiled 50 pages of evidence.  It was alleged that Morsi and thirteen others, including Goneim and Erian. committed acts of violence and incited murder at a protest held outside Ettehadiya presidential palace in Cairo on 5 December 2012.

But Ghoneim was safely abroad in Doha, an Ikhwan safe haven where he would not be arrested.  Not surprisingly, he has not since returned to Egypt.

Ghoneim in Qatar

While Morsi remained behind bars, Ghoneim was finding new ways to make trouble–this time in Qatar itself.  In July Ghoneim’s name appeared in the media following his comments on Qatar’s controversial World Cup bid scheduled for 2022.  Given the atmosphere that surrounds the event–rabid fans, expensive venues, and questionable weather–the plan appears optimistic at best, and goofy at worst.

Qatar’s Aspire Zone Foundation, established by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (1952-), member of the Al Thani Qatari royal family and ruling Emir of Qatar from 1995 to 2013, has sought to make Qatar a “world-class sporting power.” In July 2014 Aspire helped organize a festival in Doha that in effect honored a number of Islamist extremists, including Ghoneim.   While Ghoneim lectured at the festival, reporting on the event noted that he had been banned by Britain in 2009 as a “hate promoter,” and that Ghoneim had exalted Osama bin Laden as “hero and martyr.”   In effect, the reporting from Doha revived concern with not only with regard to Aspire and its jihadist heroes but in Europe critics observed that Doha was a site that would create a spate of security concerns.  Nonetheless, the fact that Europeans might avoid the World Cup was really of no practical concern in Qatar as the royal family seemed more interested in embellishing its reputation and taking a chair among the global football powers than worrying about attendance at World Cup matches. Lastly, it will continue to train young players at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence located at Doha and Dakar, Senegal, and educate a reported 500,000 youths a year in sixteen countries world-wide in the precepts of Islam

Ghoneim Escapes Trial in Egypt

Ghoneim was not affected by the trial against himself, Morsi  and their Muslim Brotherhood accomplices.  He was safely abroad in Doha, an Ikhwan safe haven where he would not be arrested.  Not surprisingly, he has not since returned to Egypt.

Ghoneim managed to stay busy.  It was reported that in April he had met in Khartoum with senior Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood leaders.  The group included Hasan al-Turabi, the godfather of the Sudanese Ikhwan and Secretary-General of the Popular Congress Party.  One could only speculate what was discussed, but Khartoum analysts felt that subjects surely included the provision of Iranian arms to Hamas in Gaza, with the Sudan serving as a waypoint.  It was also speculated that the meeting had something to do with the supply of arms to Ikhwan elements active in eastern Libya and in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Some Egyptians even argued that Ghoneim was laying the groundwork for terrorist attacks against the al-Sisi government.

In May, The Egyptian Independent reported that the secretary general of the commission assessing the funds of the Muslim Brotherhood members ordered the confiscation of “global Muslim Brotherhood figures such as Youssef Qaradawi (who was labeled “the most important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and the de facto spiritual leader of the movement,”) and Wagdi Ghoneim.  In all, funds were confiscated from 30 Ikhwan members, 12 Ikhwan associations, and from five of its companies.

Next, in August the Cairo Criminal Court postponed the trial of Morsi (and 35 other defendants), now accused of espionage, to 14 September 2014.  And among others, Ghoneim was charged with disclosing state secrets to foreign countries (specifically, Qatar) and funding terrorism.  It now seems possible that Wagdi Ghoneim will receive the death penalty, as many Ikhwan have before him.  Still, he and his mentor Qaradawi, remain free in Doha to do as they want.

It is not the last we will hear of either one.

* J. Millard Burr is a Senior Fellow with the American Center for Democracy.





Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Ghoneim, Hamas, Hamas/Gaza, Ikhwan, Iraq, Islam, Jihad, Latest News, Middle East Conflicts, Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Shari'a, Syria

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