Group threatens our values, security

fire big bang on black

Published in the Indy Star on March 23, 2012.

By Elliot Bartky and Allon Friedman

Having recently assumed positions of great political power throughout the Arab world, the Muslim Brotherhood is the most important organization that most of us have never heard of. Why should we care? Because the Brotherhood is a serious threat to American values, security and interests both abroad and at home.

Established in 1928 by Egyptian, and devout Hitler admirer, Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood has clearly defined its ultimate goal through words and deed: to conquer the globe through violent jihad if necessary and establish a reigning worldwide Islamic caliphate. Profoundly anti-Western and anti-democratic, filled with loathing for all non-Muslims, and embracing the values of jihad, death and martyrdom, its offshoots include the terrorist groups Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida.

But it reserves special hatred for Israel and Jews. Its views on this subject are encapsulated in the recent words of its spiritual leader, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who in a TV show watched by millions, said the Holocaust “was divine punishment for them (the Jews). Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers (Muslims).”

As members of Indiana’s only statewide Jewish advocacy group, we are under no illusion that he does not mean what he says, and nor should anyone else.

Although Muslim organizations in the United States have distanced themselves from the violent goals and rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood, there are disturbing signs suggesting some of these groups share the Brotherhood’s attitude toward Jews and Israel.

In Indiana, the Islamic Society of American of Plainfield says it has broken past ties with the Brotherhood. But within the past four years, anti-Semitic literature has been displayed at ISNA conventions, and speakers have apologized for Hamas and its attempts to annihilate Israel, minimized al-Qaida’s barbarism, and promoted Jewish conspiracies and Holocaust denial.

At the ISNA’s 2011 convention the discussion panel on Jerusalem was presented by American Muslims for Palestine, an organization dedicated to the justification of Palestinian terrorist acts and the eradication of Israel. Among the organization’s publications is the booklet “Jerusalem: Reclaiming the Palestinian and Muslim Historical Narrative in the Face of Zionist Repression,” according to which Abraham was not Jewish but Muslim, there was never a substantial Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and the Jewish Temple never existed.

Americans need to begin to look beyond our single-minded obsession with al-Qaida and realize that it represents only a symptom of a worldwide Islamic supremacist ideology shared by millions of individuals and dozens of groups, including the Brotherhood. By reaching out to the Brotherhood, the Obama administration has unfortunately made this task more difficult. When the current Obama-appointed director of U.S. Intelligence recently said that the Brotherhood is “largely secular, has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam,” it raises into serious question whether the administration understands much about the Brotherhood’s history or intentions.

 Bartky is president and Friedman is vice president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana.

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