Considering the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, Erick Stakelbeck's new book, "The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy," provides a fascinating lens into the Muslim Brotherhood's history, contemporary power structures -- and the level to which the journalist and national security expert believes that the Obama administration has empowered the group.
In an e-mail interview over the weekend, Stakelbeck answered some of TheBlaze's most burning questions about the Brotherhood and why he chose to pen such a fascinating book.
Photo Credit: Erick Stakelbeck
Why should Americans fear the Muslim Brotherhood?
First and foremost, Americans need to understand that the Muslim Brotherhood is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to modern-day Islamic terrorist groups. Al Qaeda and Hamas are direct offshoots of the Brotherhood—and if the MB was never created in 1928 in Egypt, 9/11 would have never happened. I know that may be a stunning statement to some, but think about it. The architects of 9/11 -- including Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- all belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood before they formed Al Qaeda.
As I show in the book, all of these Al Qaeda kingpins were heavily inspired and influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology of martyrdom and jihad. The Brotherhood is where they got their start. The MB is, in essence, the gateway drug to Islamic terrorism. Every Islamic jihadist worth his suicide belt today owes a depraved debt to the Muslim Brotherhood and its leading icons like Hassan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. To understand Islamic terrorism and the mess we’re in right now globally, you must first understand the Muslim Brotherhood.
What led you to write "The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy"?
I had become absolutely, positively fed up with the narrative being pushed by the Obama administration and the mainstream media that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “moderate” Islamist group that can be used to fight against Al Qaeda. First of all, as discussed previously, the Muslim Brotherhood spawned Al Qaeda. Secondly, this is an inherently anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic organization at its very core. Starting with its founding motto -- which reads, in part, “Jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” -- the Brotherhood and its ideology and goals are fundamentally incompatible with the United States.
Brotherhood leaders openly speak of reestablishing a global Islamic caliphate, or super state, that would unite every Muslim nation economically, politically and militarily and control a good amount of the world’s oil supply as it targets Israel for elimination (with assistance on that end by the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas). They praise suicide bombings against American troops and have called for jihad against the Untied States. As I document in “The Brotherhood,” the MB even collaborated closely with the Nazis during World War II in an attempt to extend Hitler’s Final Solution to the Middle East.
It’s so bad that my book could easily be titled: “The Brotherhood: Even Worse Than You Think.” I’ve been tracking the MB closely for 12 years and even I was shocked by some of what I uncovered in my research for this book. This is not an organization we should be embracing: it is a blood-soaked, totalitarian death cult that we must defeat and discredit at every turn.
What is the most terrifying detail about the Brotherhood that you've learned over the years?
What makes the Muslim Brotherhood so dangerous is their tactics: patient, stealthy, and deceptive, they are truly Islamists-in-sheep’s-clothing that most Western elites will never see coming until it’s too late. As I document in the book, I have interviewed Muslim Brotherhood operatives around the world face-to-face and spent time in their offices, mosques and enclaves. Their modus operandi is not flowing beards and robes and fiery rants against America. Rather, the Brotherhood operatives I’ve spent time with wear designer suits and ties, speak fluent English, are eloquent, and are often Western- educated. They come across very charming and reasonable and are extremely disciplined and clever with their messaging.
According to the Brothers, Hamas suicide bombers aren’t terrorists. They’re persecuted, impoverished orphans who are acting out of desperation against an unjust and murderous Israeli occupation! Western journalists -- who are predominantly liberal, ignorant of the enemy and predisposed to side against the United States and Israel -- lap this stuff up. So does, of course, the Obama administration. The Brotherhood and Al Qaeda may differ in tactics, but their endgame is the exactly the same: the return of the caliphate and the enforcement of Islamic sharia law for one and all whether we like it or not.
How would you respond to those who claim that the Brotherhood is an overseas operation with no chance of impacting Americans at home?
Here’s an example: the Boston Bombers attended a mosque near their home that is controlled by the Muslim American Society. According to federal prosecutors, the Muslim American Society is the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” Did the mosque radicalize the Tsarnaev brothers? We don’t know, and the Obama administration isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to ask. But given the Brotherhood’s history of radicalizing young Muslims, I think it’s worth exploring.
As I document in the book, I’ve been in American mosques from coast to coast where the radical, pro-jihad works of Brotherhood ideologues like Al Banna and Qutb are readily available. The prevalence of MB ideology (and Saudi and other overseas funding) at American mosques becomes even more chilling when you realize that the number of mosques in America has doubled since the year 2000 alone. Speaking of overseas, if the Brotherhood in Egypt decides, along with its Salafist allies there, to resort to terrorism and violence against the new military regime (a distinct possibility), what happens to the Suez Canal? A good amount of the Middle Eastern oil that flows through the Suez winds up in the West. If the Suez is shut down through terror, every American will feel the skyrocketing price of oil and gas in a major way. It’ll be a similar deal if Islamic terrorists working out of Egypt’s lawless Sinai Peninsula provoke some sort of military conflict with Israel.
Erick Stakelbeck (Photo Credit: CBN)
Is the Brotherhood active here in America? If so, where?
We know that the Brotherhood is active in America because the MB’s own strategic documents tell us so. In 2004, the FBI raided a leading Muslim Brotherhood operative’s home just outside of Washington, D.C. During the raid, the FBI uncovered dozens of boxes of official Muslim Brotherhood documents written in Arabic. One of these documents was titled, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America.” It was written by a top global Brotherhood operative and detailed the MB’s plans to subvert the West from within, declaring the group’s goal for the United States to be a, “’Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means.
The [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization 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.” That same strategic Brotherhood document, which I examine in-depth in my book, lists 29 American Muslim organizations that the MB identifies as “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” At least one of those MB-linked organizations, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has advised the Obama administration on its counterterrorism and Middle East polices and seen its members invited to White House Iftar dinners. As I show in the book, this is only the tip of the iceberg of the Brotherhood’s infiltration of the halls of power.
What do you want readers to take away from your book?
The Muslim Brotherhood—its thinkers, its ideology and its writings—serves as the primary fount and ideological driving force behind all of the Islamist mayhem we see today. The Obama administration and the mainstream media not only refuse to acknowledge this fact; they are, in many cases, actively aiding and abetting the MB’s subversive agenda. That leaves it up to we, the American people, to educate ourselves and sound the alarm about this dangerous organization. With my book, I attempt to do just that, using meticulous, firsthand research and in a bold and uncompromising manner, with no regard for political correctness. This is no time to mince words. The barbarians are not just at the gates: they’re inside them.
Below, watch the interview that TheBlaze's editor-in-chief Scott Baker did last week with Stakelbeck:
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