Muslim Brotherhood Document of the Muslim or Islamophobic Lunatic Fringe? - updated 5/13/2015

Sheila Musaji

Posted May 13, 2015      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Muslim Brotherhood Document of the Muslim or Islamophobic Lunatic Fringe?

by Sheila Musaji

During the Holy Land Foundation trial, a document was entered into evidence claiming to be written in 1991 by a person named Mohammed Akram (a.k.a. Mohammed Adlouni).  The document “An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” appears to be the work of this self-described Muslim Brotherhood member, and purports to lay out the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.

Sarah Posner has reported in an article Welcome to the Shari’ah Conspiracy Theory Industry that:

... This claim that the Muslim Brotherhood’s aim is a worldwide theocracy, and that all American Muslim organizations fall into lock-step with it, stems solely from a single 20-year-old document written by a single Brotherhood member in 1991. In the controversial terrorism financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which first resulted in a mistrial in 2007, and convictions in a 2008 re-trial, federal prosecutors introduced a document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”

Gaffney and others have seized upon this document developing theories that the goal of “radical Islamists” is a global theocracy and that the Muslim Brotherhood lurks in every corner of America. GWU’s Brown, who testified in the first Holy Land Foundation trial, said, “Nobody has ever produced any evidence that the document was more than something produced by the daydream of one enthusiast.” Noting that he has been studying Palestinian, Egyptian, Kuwaiti, and Jordanian Brotherhood movements since 2005, Brown added, “Nothing in anything that I have heard has ever struck me as similar in tone or content to the ‘master plan.’”

Yet this single document has been used to create a mythology around a supposedly global plot. Brown, addressing the document, notes that “The prosecution in the Holy Land Case painted with a broad brush and probably should not be relied upon. There is indeed a loose coordinating international structure for the Muslim Brotherhood, but it has no real authority over the chapters.” But that hasn’t stopped Gaffney, who said recently, “It is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the MB or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

Based on the “explanatory memorandum” document identifying a number of American Muslim organizations as allies in its author’s aspirations, prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial publicly labeled over 200 American Muslim organizations “unindicted co-conspirators,” a highly controversial move derided at the time by legal experts as contrary to Justice Department policy and in violation of the groups’ constitutional rights. Eventually, the court ruled, on the motion of three of the groups, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), that publicly identifying them as “unindicted co-conspirators” did violate their Fifth Amendment rights. That didn’t stop the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy—a former federal prosecutor himself—from falsely claiming at CPAC, “those people were all convicted” in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

Assistant Professor of Public Policy Tarek Masoud testified April 13, 2011 before Rep. Sue Myrick’s House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counter-intelligence (TAHCI) about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics.  His testimony is here

According to Loonwatch, in response to a question from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Tarek Masoud dealt with the MB document as follows:

Chairman Myrick, you mentioned this 1991 explanatory memorandum, Lorenzo mentioned it as well, this document that was written by this Brotherhood guy named Mohammed Akram. So I got it and I read it, it seemed to be a document where this Brotherhood member in the United States is writing to his people back home, trying to encourage them to try and make the United States a priority for proselytization, for political activism, for all kinds of things. And the page in that document that has caused the most controversy is the page that lists all of these organizations, that Lorenzo called Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. My question, if you look at the title of that page, it says “there are the organizations of us and our friends in America,” second line says in brackets “imagine if they all marched together,”and I thought to myself, what a really odd thing for an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood to be saying. If these were really the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood octupus then why would he need to whimsically think, “if only one day all these organizations could work together,” and this is important because it seems to me that that list is an aspirational list, it may include movements or groups that emerged out of the Brotherhood, I’m not making a factual statement, but based on interpreting that document, I am surprised that we jumped to saying that these are Muslim Brotherhood front organizations because it seemed to me to be a list of Muslim organizations that the Brotherhood would like to organize and coordinate. I would like to find out if there is some information there that some folks like me don’t have?

As a Buddhist site, The Mahablog points out

I take it there’s a document called “An Explanatory Memorandum” attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood that has taken on a role analogous to that of the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The document is not necessarily fraudulent; the Muslim Brotherhood is an extremist Sunni transnational organization that might very well be planning for world domination. Of course, they are about as likely to achieve this goal as Pinkie and the Brain. And the Muslim Brotherhood does not speak for all of Islam. It doesn’t even speak for all Sunni jihadists; I understand there is a nasty rivalry going on between MB and al Qaeda.

In another article Rep. King politicizes “unindicted co-conspirator” Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy theory, Sarah Posner notes:

Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and convener of the hearings on American Muslim “radicalization,” has “demanded an explanation” from Attorney General Eric Holder why he isn’t prosecuting the unindicted co-conspirators from the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. (Could it be because they wereunindicted?) ...  Holder hasn’t prosecuted these groups because they were unindicted. That means there wasn’t enough evidence to indict them, much less prosecute them. A federal court ruled that publicly naming them as “unindicted co-conspirators” violated their constitutional rights. King is trying to make political hay out of a long-discredited theory that the right somehow nonetheless persists in promoting. Nothing to see here.

( See also Unindicted co-conspirator Designation Not a Proof of Guilt and The “won’t condemn” Hamas/Hezbolla” accusation against American Arabs & Muslims for in depth discussions of the other two terms associated with this Muslim Brotherhood document claim. )

This document has been used by individuals like Bryan Fischer of The American Family Association as a justification to declare war on every Muslim in the U.S..  Fischer wrote

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

Each one is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the “Grand Jihad” of which Andy McCarthy has written.

Here is the strategy, in their own words, in the words of “An Explanatory Memorandum” circulated by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1991 which outlines “the General Strategic Goal” for the Islamic movement “in North America.”

Read it and shudder:

Muslims “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…It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny…”

If this document was written by Mohammed Akram/Adlouni then I hope that he has been deported.  I don’t know who he is or whether or not he is actually a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  But, if he (or any one else) believes in the nonsense contained in this document, then they are part of what I call the Muslim lunatic fringe.  This document is reprehensible and the ideas it contains about violent jihad, establishing a Caliphate, etc. are all rejected by everyone I know in the American Muslim community.  I can only speak for myself, but I reject this document, and everything it claims to represent!

As I wrote in an article American Muslims must defend the Constitution of the United States

America is a secular and democratic nation with a clearly marked wall between church and state (thank God!).  One of the reasons America has been a beacon to the world is the freedom that all Americans have to practice any (or no) religion.  As an American Muslim I don’t believe that America can be defined as anything but a secular democracy (secular meaning neutral towards religion, not devoid of religion or hostile to religion) in which all religions are free to worship.

I don’t want to see Shariah, or Biblical law, or any other religious law replace the Constitution, and I don’t want to see any kind of a theocracy in place based on any religion.  I agree with Rabbi Arthur Waskow that “When those who claim their path alone bespeaks God’s Will control the State to enforce their will as God’s, it is God Who suffers.”

...  The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments to the Constitution) are the foundation of this country.  They represent the ideal of America.  America is a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation.  That’s a fact.  Members of many religious groups, races, nationalities, etc. are equally Americans, and none of them are going anywhere.  We are all in this together, and as Americans are all protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States.  That is fortunate, and something we must all work together to protect, as it is obvious that some among us just ‘don’t get it’.  It is obvious that our religious communities differ from each other, and that each of us feels called to observe their own faith.  It should be possible to do this while recognizing that we do hold many values in common, and that we can build on these in order to work together for the common good.  We can be good Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc. and also be fellow citizens of this great nation.

...  It is often stated by bigots that American Muslims are some sort of a fifth colum in this country just waiting to implement Shariah law and destroy the Constitution.  Actually most American Muslims are only too aware of the freedoms they have in America.  I am sure that there may be some such deranged Muslims who would like to see the wall of separation come down, and they should either go back where they came from if they are immigrants, or if they were born here, they should make hijra (emigrate) to a predominantly Muslim country.  Whatever thought process, or lack thereof that these Muslims are following to come to this conclusion is deeply flawed, not only on an Islamic basis, but also on a common sense basis.  If you are 1% of the population of the nation, and you are claiming that your goal is to “fly an Islamic flag from the Whitehouse” or to “replace the Constitution with Sharia law”, that is like waving a red cloth in front of 100 angry bulls.  It is ridiculous, foolhardy, and dangerous, not just for yourself but for the entire Muslim community who will inevitably be accused of secretly sharing your view and will bear the brunt of any backlash resulting from your words or actions.  Only a desire for self-destruction could lead a person not to see that the Constitution of the U.S. is the only thing protecting the Muslim community as well as any other minority community.  If these Muslims stay here and continue with this sort of rhetoric, they will be resisted by all patriotic Americans.  However, they are not the only ones who ‘don’t get it’.

I don’t know if this document is legitimate or a fake like the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”.  If it is legitimate, then I am ashamed of those who wrote it, if they call themselves American Muslims.  I pray that it will be investigated and shown to be a fake.  I, like Tarek Masoud, would like to find out if there is some information there that some folks like me don’t have?  It is a product either of the Muslim lunatic fringe, or of the Islamophobic lunatic fringe.  Either way, it has done its damage.

UPDATE 5/13/2015

David K. Shipler just published Pamela Geller and the Anti-Islam Movement in the New Yorker.  In that article, he notes:

... Virtually all the alarm over the coming Islamic takeover and the spread of Sharia law can be traced back to an old document of questionable authority and relevance, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” Dated May 22, 1991, it was found in 2004 by the F.B.I., buried in one of a large number of boxes uncovered during a search of a house in northern Virginia. (I reported on the discovery and the use of the document for my book “Freedom of Speech: Mightier than the Sword.”) It is cited on numerous Web sites, and in articles, videos, and training materials, which quote one another in circular arguments. Its illusion of importance was enhanced by federal prosecutors, who included it in a trove of documents introduced into evidence in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charitable organization ultimately convicted of sending money to Hamas.

The memo, however, is far from probative. It was never subjected to an adversarial test of its authenticity or significance. Examined closely, it does not stand up as an authoritative prescription for action. Rather, it appears to have been written as a plea to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership for action, by an author we know little about, Mohamed Akram. He is listed elsewhere as a secretary in the Brotherhood, but he writes in the tone of an underling. Islam watchers do not quote his appeal that the recipients “not rush to throw these papers away due to your many occupations and worries. All that I’m asking of you is to read them and to comment on them.” These lines reveal the memo as a mere proposal, now twenty-four years old. No other copies have come to light. ...


Rep. Sue Myrick’s hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheila Musaji 
Protocols of the Elders of Islam?, Nick Schou
The Roots of the American Right’s Muslim Brotherhood Panic, Sarah Posner
Unindicted co-conspirator Designation Not a Proof of Guilt, Sheila Musaji

Originally published 6/15/2011