GLOBAL SECURITY II: by Adrian MorganNews Weekly
Islamism's long-term influence operations in the West
, October 13, 2012
An extreme Islamist organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in many countries across the world, has been allowed to flourish unimpeded in Australia. In the wake of Muslim street demonstrations in Sydney on September 16 against the controversial film, Innocence of Muslims, Hizb ut-Tahrir refused to join many mainstream Australian Muslim organisations in condemning the violent actions of the hardcore militants.
In the Middle East, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) is seen as a threat to established orders and is banned in most countries in the region. Founded in 1953, it aims to re-establish a new caliphate, a pan-national centre of Islamic power and religious authority. Since the Ottoman caliphate was abolished on March 3, 1924, there has been no unifying caliphate in the Islamic world. Middle Eastern regimes, Russia and its allies in Central Asia, the Netherlands and Germany have outlawed HuT. In 2005 HuT was banned in Pakistan, and in 2011 it was banned in Bangladesh.
In Middle Eastern countries where they have been outlawed, both Hizb ut-Tahrir and the better-known Muslim Brotherhood (MB) have used aliases from necessity. One HuT activist has promoted his group’s cause under aliases.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian, was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1985 for establishing a branch of the banned HuT under the alias of “Al-Muhajiroun” (the migrants). Bakri fled to Britain where he co-founded the UK branch of HuT in 1986. When some of his followers murdered a student, David Ayotunde Obanubi, on the steps of Newham College, London, on February 27, 1995, there was pressure to remove him. Two people were later convicted.
On February 16, 1996, Bakri founded a group called Al Muhajiroun (the same alias he used a decade previously in Saudi Arabia) in Britain, comprising HuT radicals. These agitated in universities, and after 2001 assisted British Muslims to travel to Pakistani training camps and fight NATO troops in Afghanistan.
In April 2003, two British Muslims were involved in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Asif Hanif blew himself up and killed three individuals. He was a frequent visitor to Bakri’s London headquarters. In March 2004, several members were arrested after purchasing ammonium nitrate and plotting to make bombs. In October 2004, Al Muhajiroun was disbanded but re-emerged in 2005 under various aliases, containing the same core members.
Two of the four bombers who blew up London Transport targets on July 7, 2005, had links to Al Muhajiroun. At this time, the group was operating under titles of “The Saviour/Saved Sect” and “Al-Ghurabaa” (the strangers). Bakri fled Britain a month after the bombings and in November 2005 his deputy, Anjem Choudary, set up a front group called “Ahlus Sunna Wal Jammah”.
In 2006 the Saved Sect and Al Ghurabaa were banned in Britain; but the members set up new front groups, such as Shariah4UK, Islam4UK and then Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). In 2010 the group set up “Shariah4America” and “Shariah4Belgium” and in Australia a branch of its “movement” was set up in NSW by Ibrahim Siddiq-Conlon.
HuT claims to oppose the use of violence, even though in Russia and Central Asia there have been cases of HuT members involved in terrorism.
In Britain HuT uses aliases. Shortly after the murder of Ayotunde Obanubi, it was banned in universities and colleges by the National Union of Students, but in 2005 it was operating on campuses under the title “Stop Islamophobia”. HuT booked meetings in the Quakers’ Friends House in Euston in 2005 under the name: “Salsa Bill’s Publishing House”.
David Capitanchik of Aberdeen University said in 2006 that HuT and Al Muhajiroun operated under front groups named the Debate Society, the Muslim Women’s Cultural Forum, the Islamic Society, the One Nation Society, the Millennium Society, the Pakistan Society and the 1924 Committee.
The Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun) was set up by Hassan al-Banna in 1928 in Egypt. It works towards establishing Islamic hegemony, and was banned in some countries. In Jordan it is the Islamic Action Front; in Tunisia it is Ennahda. In Yemen, it is known as the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, or Islah. In Egypt it has been banned and unbanned several times.
The Egyptian constitution was amended to ban religious parties from the political process, but the MB campaigned under an umbrella group called Kifaya (“Enough”) until the Arab Spring. In 2011 the constitution was changed to allow it to campaign. It now governs Egypt.
Hizb ut-Tahrir aims to establish a caliphate within Muslim countries, just as Al Qaeda had a strategy to help create a caliphate in the Muslim world between 2013 and 2016, which will ultimately wage war on non-believing nations. The Arab Spring has brought such strategies closer to reality.
The MB has similar goals. In a document dated May 19, 1991, MB operative Mohamed Akram wrote: “The Ikhwan [i.e., the Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilisation 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.”
In 2001 a more complete MB strategy for control over Western nations was discovered near Lake Geneva in the house of Muslim Brotherhood banker Youssef al Nada. It is dated December 1, 1982, and appears to be the handiwork of Said Ramadan, son-in-law of MB founder Hassan al-Banna. It sets out specific means to infiltrate Western societies and gradually gain more political influence and control.
With such specific long-term global aims, it is worrying that the Muslim Brotherhood has been able to create so many beachheads in Western democratic societies, mostly using aliases. The first MB group in America was the Muslim Students Association (MSA) set up in 1963. A similar Ikhwanist group, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) was set up in Britain in 1965, and soon began to translate and distribute texts by Hassan al-Banna in support of jihad.
Soon, a wave of new Muslim “representative” groups, all with links to the MB, sprang up in North America. These included the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT, 1973), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC, 1986), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA, 1980), the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT, 1981), the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA, 1986). Another American MB group, the Muslim American Society (MAS), was founded in 1993. In 1971, an offshoot of the MSA was set up called the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which also has links to the South Asian Islamist group, the Jamaat e-Islami Party (JeI).
A senior Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member, Kemal el-Helbawy, who had helped set up the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), went to Britain. There, in 1997 he co-founded the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), an MB group, and also the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), whose leadership included MB and JeI figures. The MCB was an influential adviser to Tony Blair’s Labour government.
In Brussels the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) was founded in 1989 and claims to represent Europe’s Muslims. It is headed by MB activists. In France, the UOIF (Union des Organisations Islamiques de France) is a front for the MB.
In America, the controversial “advocacy” group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was set up in Washington DC in June 1994 by Omar Ahmad, who famously declared in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”
CAIR and various groups were listed by the US Government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial of leaders of the “Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development”. This group, founded in 1989, was accused and subsequently found guilty of funding the terrorist group Hamas.
Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement (Harakat al Mawqawama al Islamiyya), was founded in Israel in 1987. It has killed hundreds of Israeli civilians. Hamas explicitly states in Article 2 of its charter: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”
The Coordinating Council of Muslim Organisations (CCMO) has MB affiliates and has gained political prominence in the USA.
In Britain, Mohammed Sawalha, a former fundraiser for Hamas on the West Bank, is a past president of MAB. He now heads the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), and has made antisemitic statements. Anas Altikriti, a co-founder of the BMI and former head of MAB, now heads the Cordoba Foundation, a group described by British Prime Minister David Cameron as a “front for the Muslim Brotherhood”.
The international charity, “Union of Good” (Itilaf al-Khayr), is headed by MB ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Some of its 50 members are MB-based and funnel funds to Hamas. It was designated as a terrorist entity by the USA in 2008.
Australia already has a perplexing number of Islamic groups, including Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), which, although banned in numerous other countries, campaigns openly here.
So far, no one group has been linked to the MB, though it has been suggested that the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY), established in 1968, has links to the MB. FAMSY has previously hosted guests such as Mahdi Bray who is closely tied to the MB as leader of the MAS Freedom Foundation.
Islamist groups do not represent the majority of Muslims but the multiple “fronts” under which they operate make them appear more powerful and able politically to “punch above their weight”.
Though the MB is not prominent in Australia, some invited guest speakers have been MB-affiliated. This year, a Muslim motivational speaker, Tareq al Suwaidan, was invited to Australia. He is described as “moderate”, but is in fact a head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait. He has been accused of antisemitism.
The Arab Spring has brought little of the much-vaunted democracy promised by liberal media and politicians.
MB, particularly through the writings of Sayyid Qutb (who was hanged in 1966), promotes antisemitism and jihad. HuT and MB aim to destroy basic principles of liberty and democracy. As documented in their own manifestos, they will stick to these goals for as long as it takes.
Adrian Morgan has written for the UK Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society. He hosts a weekly internet radio show called Global Security Matters.
 David Charter, “Student knifing fuels race fears”, Times Educational Supplement (UK), March 3, 1995.
 Adrian Morgan, “How Britain encouraged radicalism and terrorism — Part Two of Four”, Family Security Matters (Center for Security Policy, Washington DC), May 8, 2007.
 Serge F. Kovaleski, “For Britain’s young Muslims, forks in the road”, International Herald Tribune (European edition), August 29, 2006. URL: www.nytimes.com/2006/08/29/world/europe/29iht-britain.2630813.html?_r=1
N.B: The source of this timeline, Seif al-Adl, was shortlisted as a possible leader of Al Qaeda after bin Laden’s death.
 Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America”, Investigative Project on Terrorism (Washington DC), May 19, 1991.
Also: Patrick Poole, “The Muslim Brotherhood ‘Project’”, FrontPageMagazine.com (), May 11, 2006.
And an English translation by Scott Burgess of the full text of the Muslim Brotherhood “Project”:
 Mahan Abedin, “How to deal with Britain’s Muslim extremists? An Interview with Kamal Helbawy”, Spotlight on Terror (Jamestown Foundation), Vol. 3, Issue 7, August 5, 2005.
 “Hamas Charter: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)”, Article Two (English trans.), MidEast Web Historical Documents, August 18, 1988.
 Sharon Lapkin, “Uni cycle: The Muslim Brotherhood infiltrates Australian universities”, Australia/Israel Review (Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council), April 3, 2006.