On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to downplay the momentousness of this major policy shift by portraying it during a stopover in Budapest as follows: "The Obama administration is continuing the approach of limited contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood that have existed on and off for about five or six years." In fact, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out in a characteristically brilliant, and scathing, dissection of this announcement, Team Obama's official, open legitimation of the Brotherhood marks a dramatic break from the U.S. government's historical refusal to deal formally with the Ikhwan.
To understand why the Obama administration's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood is so ominous, consider three insights into the organization's nature and ambitions:
First, here's the MB's creed: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." (Source: Husain Haqqani and Hillel Fradkin, "Islamist Parties: Going Back to the Origins.")
Second, here's the Ikwhan's mission in America:
"A kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, sabotaging its miserable house with their [i.e., Americans'] hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." (Source: Muslim Brotherhood's "Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goals of the Group," entered into evidence by the Department of Justice in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism-finance trial. Archived at the NEFA Foundation.)
Third, here are excerpts from the Muslim Brotherhood's "phased plan" for accomplishing that mission:
Phase One: Discreet and secret establishment of leadership.
Phase Two: Phase of gradual appearance on the public scene and exercising and utilizing various public activities. It greatly succeeded in implementing this stage. It also succeeded in achieving a great deal of its important goals, such as infiltrating various sectors of the Government.
Phase Three: Escalation phase, prior to conflict and confrontation with the rulers, through utilizing mass media. Currently in progress.
Phase Four: Open public confrontation with the Government through exercising the political pressure approach. It is aggressively implementing the above-mentioned approach. Training on the use of weapons domestically and overseas in anticipation of zero-hour. It has noticeable activities in this regard.
Phase Five: Seizing power to establish their Islamic Nation under which all parties and Islamic groups are united. (Source: Undated Muslim Brotherhood Paper entitled, "Phases of the World Underground Movement Plan." Archived at Shariah: The Threat to America.)
In short, the Muslim Brotherhood is deadly serious about waging what it calls "civilization jihad" against the United States and other freedom-loving nations in order to secure their submission to the Islamic totalitarian political-military-legal doctrine called shariah. The MB's goal in this country is to replace our Constitution with theirs, namely the Koran. And they regard this task as one commanded by none other than Allah. (For more details on the nature, ambitions and modus operandi of the Ikhwan, see the Team B II Report, Shariah: The Threat to America). To this end, as Andy McCarthy notes in the aforementioned essay, the MB's senior official, Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi, has effectively declared war on the United States.
Were there any doubt that legitimacy is what the Ikhwan is taking away from this gambit, consider this assessment from an expert in Islamic groups, Ammar Ali Hassan, cited by Associated Press: "...The Brotherhood will likely try to float ‘conditions' or ‘reservations' on any dialogue to avoid a perception that it is allowing the U.S. to meddle in Egypt's internal affairs. But in the end, the talks will give a boost to the group, he said, by easing worries some in the Brotherhood and the public have of a backlash if the Brotherhood becomes the dominant player in Egypt. ‘Now the Muslim Brotherhood will not have to worry [about] moving forward toward taking over power,' Hassan said."
Unfortunately, the U.S. government's dangerous outreach to the Ikhwan is not confined to Egypt but is systematically practiced inside the United States, as well. For example:
Muslim-American organizations identified in court by the U.S. government - and, in many cases, by the Muslim Brotherhood itself - as MB fronts are routinely cultivated by federal, state and local officials. Representatives of homeland security, Pentagon, intelligence and law enforcement agencies frequently meet with and attend functions sponsored by such groups.
MB-associated individuals are sent as our country's "goodwill ambassadors" to foreign Muslim nations and communities. MB-favored initiatives to insinuate shariah into the United States - notably, the Ground Zero Mosque and shariah-compliant finance, conscientious objector status for Muslim servicemen and stifling of free speech in accordance with shariah "blasphemy" laws - are endorsed and/or enabled by official institutions.
A blind eye is turned to the presence across the country of shariah-adherent mosques that incubate jihadism. A peer-reviewed study published last month in Middle East Quarterly determined that 81% of a random sample of 100 mosques exhibited such qualities - constituting an infrastructure for recruitment, indoctrination and training consistent with the Brotherhood's phased plan.
Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, individuals with family and other ties to the Muslim Brotherhood have actually given senior government positions. The most recent of these to come to light is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin (who also happens to be former Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife).
It seems a safe bet that, as Team Obama legitimates Muslim Brotherhood organizations and groups overseas, it will feel ever less constrained about further empowering their counterparts in the United States. If so, the MB will come to exercise even greater influence over what our government does and does not do about the threat posed by shariah, both abroad and here.
The absolutely predictable effect will be to undermine U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East and further catalyze the Brotherhood's campaign to insinuate shariah in the United States and, ultimately, to supplant the Constitution with Islamic law. Consequently, the Obama administration's efforts to "engage" the Muslim Brotherhood are not just reckless. They are wholly incompatible with the President's oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" and the similar commitment made by his subordinates.
These officials' now-open embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a geo-strategic tipping point, one that must catalyze an urgent national debate on this question: Does such conduct violate their oath of office by endangering the Constitution they have undertaken to uphold?
At a minimum, such a debate would afford a much-needed opportunity to examine alternatives to the administration's present course - as well as the real risks associated with that its intensifying pursuit. For instance, one of the most astute American authorities on the Middle East in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular, Dr. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in a posting at The American blog yesterday:
"Rather than embrace the Brotherhood, the Obama administration should be seeking to ensure that the group cannot dominate Egypt. Most analysts agree that the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the best organized group in Egypt, but that it only enjoys perhaps 25 or 30 percent support. The secular opposition remains weak and fractured. If the Obama administration wishes to remain engaged in Egypt's future and shape the best possible outcome for both U.S. national security and the Egyptian people, it should be pushing for electoral reform to change Egypt's dysfunctional system to a proportional representation model in which the secular majority can form a coalition to check a Muslim Brotherhood minority for which true democracy is anathema."
The same goes for the enemy within. Instead of relying upon - let alone hiring - Muslim Brotherhood operatives and associates, the United States government should be shutting down their fronts, shariah-adherent, jihad-incubating "community centers" and insidious influence operations in America. By recognizing these enterprises for what they are, namely vehicles for fulfilling the seditious goals of the MB's civilization jihad, they can and must be treated as prosecutable subversive enterprises, not protected religious ones under the U.S. Constitution.
Let the debate begin.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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