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From the Muslim Brotherhood to contemporary Islamism

From the Muslim Brotherhood to contemporary Islamism
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Dr. Esther Webman, Prof. Meir Litvak

The distorted interpretations of history so present inside Sayyid Qutb writings was widely adopted and is still advocated today by thinkers and leaders active in the Islamic world. As mentioned before, scholars trace a direct connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. What are the common characteristics of the Muslim Brotherhood and these contemporary radical groups and what place does antisemitism hold in these organizations? The perceptions of Qutb in fact informed all the Islamist radical movements which came after the Six-Day War and especially in the 70s.
Different groups in Egypt, of course - El Gama’a El Islamiyya, the Islamic Jihad, and then gradually we have those global - which meant to be global originally - but remained local and typical to the Egyptian scene. From them we have people who later on join those forces in Afghanistan, which became to be known later as Al-Qaeda. And from Al-Qaeda we have ISIS which is in fact a faction of Al-Qaeda originally, which became even more radicalized than Al-Qaeda and its perceptions of its struggle with the Christian-Jewish civilization. All Islamist organizations, and here especially ISIS and Al-Qaeda, believe that there is an historical, what they call “Jewish Crusader” or “Jewish-Western onslaught” against Islam that goes back to the 10th century.
Both believe that this joint Jewish-Western offensive and onslaught intends to eradicate Islam. And therefore all Islamic organizations developed a very strong anti-Jewish ideology. I would also say that all Islamist organizations associate the Jews with modernity. They associate the Jews with global culture and economic processes which undermine the Muslim world. And therefore, of course, they hold a very strong anti-Jewish position and ideology. Ironically, on the other hand, even though ideologically they hold a very strong anti-Jewish position, on the practical level the Jews are not the number one enemy.
In fact Al-Qaeda, for quite a few years, gave priority to fighting Muslim governments, out of the belief that first you have to purify the Muslim camp and then confront the external enemies of Islam. It’s what they call the near enemy and the far enemy. ISIS, which holds a very strong anti-Jewish ideology, for the time being gives priority to fighting the Shi’a. In fact ironically some of the Islamist organizations have a statement that says that the Shi’a are worse even than the Jews.
And the reason is that the Jews don’t hide their evil nature, they are very open about their evil character, whereas the Shi’is hide their evil character, and therefore ISIS, for instance gives priority to fighting the Shi’a and gives priority to exterminating the Shi’a right now than fighting the Jews. So we can make a distinction between very deep brutal ideological animosity and practical policy which right now, for the time being, gives priority to other elements. At the same time we should not overlook the fact that in various terrorist attacks in Europe, Jews were the targets.
We saw it in France. We saw it in Belgium. And here this is again an example of the manifestation or implementation of this deep animosity toward Jews.

Dr. Esther Webman, Prof. Meir Litvak

Scholars trace a direct connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

What are the common characteristics of the Muslim Brotherhood and these contemporary radical groups? What place does antisemitism hold in their ideologies and actions?


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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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