ECSSR organises lecture on Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadist Groups

  • 4 February 2016

The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), organised a lecture on Wednesday entitled: “The Intellectual Similarities between the Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadi Organisations (Insights from The Mirage)” by the Egyptian writer and expert in political sociology, Dr. Ammar Ali Hassan.

The event was attended by Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, a number of diplomats, intellectuals, researchers, writers and journalists, as well as a group of people interested in public affairs.

Dr. Hassan thanked Dr. Al-Suwaidi for his invitation to deliver his lecture. He pointed out that the lecture is basically a discussion of the book, The Mirage, authored by Dr. Al-Suwaidi, and of its ideas, theses, and conclusion as to the orientation of these political and religious groups and their exploitation of Islam to achieve political ends.

In discussing intellectual similarities between the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist organisations, Dr. Hassan focused on three main points: the first concerned the relevant similarities and differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadi organizations that are present in the Muslim world. The second concerned the outlook of political religious groups and their objectives. The third point related to the shared concepts that the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadi organisations all agree upon.

Dr. Hassan said that the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to present itself as being wholly independent and dissimilar to other political and religious groups. However, the Brotherhood cannot conceal the similarities it shares with jihadi organisations when it adopts violence.

He discussed links between the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist groups. He indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood moved the so-called “Islamic revival” from the theory to practice, through which a lot of jihadist groups derived their ideas and principles. In their interaction with the Muslim Brotherhood, these groups split, rebelled, or tried to establish competing entities.

Moreover, Dr. Hassan said that a reverse migration exits between the Muslim Brotherhood and these groups. The Muslim Brotherhood has often sought to take advantage of the presence of these groups by presenting itself as an alternative to cooperating with the governing authority.

Dr. Hassan stated that there are divisions and classifications for many political and religious groups and The Mirage addresses these clearly.

He discussed the goals and objectives of these groups, pointing out that they include the restoration of the influence of Islam in the world, the legislative power to establish an Islamic state and the subsequent application of Sharia. He stated that there are differences among these groups in terms of organisational structure, methods used, and length of time needed to achieve their goals.

He said that The Mirage provides extensive details about the differences among these groups and how they achieve their goals and objectives.

Dr. Hassan discussed the shared concepts among these political and religious groups. He highlighted three main concepts: divine sovereignty (Hakimiyya), the vanguard of true believers and mastership of the world (Ustatheyat Al-‘Alam). He then explained that the idea of divine sovereignty has produced three things: Takfir (calling others apostates), the rejection of democracy, and the use of violence.

Dr. Hassan said that the Mirage discussed “Daesh,” which embodies the natural evolution of these groups and ideas.

Dr. Hassan argued that a state of “emotional isolation” has occurred as members of these groups feel that they are different from others in society. Furthermore, these groups perceive modern society as the embodiment of pre-Islamic society.

The idea of “Mastership of the World” (Ustatheyat Al-‘Alam), based on divisions of Islam into the “House of Islam” (Dar al-Islam), and the “House of War” (Dar al-Harb), promotes the so-called “historical inevitability” that these groups would govern the world at the end. However, this is a misguided and unrealistic idea.

Regarding how to confront these groups and ideas, Dr. Hassan said that the use of excessive force against them only enables them to be portrayed as victims, thereby gaining sympathy.

He stressed that the confrontation with these groups is mainly ideological, based on several aspects including education reform in order to encourage reasoning, creativity, innovation, criticism, and discourage indoctrination.