As anti-government protests continue brewing in Egypt, opposition groups such as the banned Muslim Brotherhood are gaining steam and popularity among disillusioned Egyptians bent on ousting President Hosni Mubarak from office. But excerpts of a 1995 book written by the Muslim Brotherhood's fifth leader and translated by Palestinian Media Watch are lending a disturbing look at the group's views and stated mission.
"Jihad is the Way" is the last of a five-volume work, "The Laws of Da'wa," written by Mustafa Mashhur, the reported leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 until 2002. The Jerusalem Post reports that excerpts from the book detail the Brotherhood's objectives, including the "global conquest of Islam" and "reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate, the "public and private duties of jihad" and the "struggles Muslims must wage against Israel."
“The Islamic ummah,” [the book] says, referring to the supranational community of Muslims, “can regain its power and be liberated and assume its rightful position which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men, as the leaders of humanity.”
Elsewhere, it exhorts Muslims, “Know your status, and believe firmly that you are the masters of the world, even if your enemies desire your degradation.”
The book's translation was compiled by Palestinian Media Watch founder Itamar Marcus and analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik. Marcus spoke to the post about what he sees as the danger of downplaying the Brotherhood's ideology and potential growing role in the political process.
According to Marcus, the Brotherhood differs from international terror groups like al-Qaeda only in tactics, not goals.
Marcus cited passages in the text that urge Muslims to wage jihad only when circumstances are ripe.
“The Brotherhood is not rushed by youth’s enthusiasm into immature and unplanned action which will not alter the bad reality and may even harm the Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood,” Mashhur wrote.
“One should know that it is not necessary that the Muslims repel every attack or damage caused by the enemies of Allah immediately, but [only] when ability and the circumstances are fit to it.”
In addition, "Jihad is the Way" stresses the importance of reinstating worldwide Islamic regime, noting that jihad is not only used to fend off "assaults and attacks of Allah's enemies from Muslims," but is also used to bring about "an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world."
“Jihad for Allah,” Mashhur wrote, “is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, and the State of Islam established.”
Hassan al-Banna, the movement’s founder, “felt the grave danger overshadowing the Muslims and the urgent need and obligation which Islam places on every Muslim, man and woman, to act in order to restore the Islamic Caliphate and to reestablish the Islamic state on strong foundations.”
The book also specifically singles out the Holy Land, praising "honorable brothers" who have waged "jihad against the criminal, thieving, gangs of Zion" in the past "on the soil of beloved Palestine."
“Still today, memory of them horrifies the Jews and the name of the Muslim Brotherhood terrifies them,” the book says.
Elsewhere, Mushhar wrote, “The imam and shahid Hassan Al-Banna is considered as a martyr of Palestine, even if he was not killed on its soil ... in all his writings and conversations, he always urged towards jihad and aroused the desire for seeking martyrdom ... he did not content himself only with speech and writing, and when the opportunity arrived for jihad in Palestine, he hurried and seized it.”
Wielding a broader brush, Mashhur wrote, “The problems of the Islamic world – such as in Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea or the Philippines – are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion.
They are the problems of Islam and all Muslims, and their resolution cannot be negotiated and bargained by recognizing the enemy’s right to the Islamic land he stole, and therefore there is no other option but jihad for Allah, and this is why jihad is the way.”
The book's full text, translated by PMW, will be posted Wednesday on the organization’s website, Palwatch.org.
Update: Full translation from PMW is available here.