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Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between MB and Al-Qaida
NEFA Conference Slides: "The Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between the Brotherhood and Competing Salafi-Jihadists" My colleagues Doug Farah and Jeff Breinholt have written two excellent posts on points raised during discussions at a recent international conference on the Muslim Brotherhood hosted by the NEFA Foundation in Florence, Italy. I would concur with Doug tha
Tuesday, July 3,2007 00:00
by Evan Kohlmann, counterterrorismblog.org

NEFA Conference Slides: "The Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between the Brotherhood and Competing Salafi-Jihadists"

My colleagues Doug Farah and Jeff Breinholt have written two excellent posts on points raised during discussions at a recent international conference on the Muslim Brotherhood hosted by the NEFA Foundation in Florence, Italy. I would concur with Doug that one of the most interesting debates was over the tumultuous relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood (and its various organs) versus Salafi-Jihadists orientated towards Al-Qaida. During my own presentation at the conference, I approached this issue from a "web angle" in a section titled, "The Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between the Brotherhood and Competing Salafi-Jihadists." I present points from my speech and several of my Powerpoint slides as a basis for future public discussion.

- The Muslim Brotherhood has a fundamental ideological dispute with Salafi-Jihadists and Al-Qaida over participation in democratic elections. The Brotherhood believes that democratic activism is beneficial, while Al-Qaida regards it as treachery and apostasy.
- This ideological dispute came to a particular climax when the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine (Hamas) won democratic elections and took the reigns of the Palestinian government in 2006.
- On the Internet, hardcore Salafi-jihadists began getting into bitter online quarrels with Hamas supporters. In December 2006, Al-Qaida supporters on the Al-Hesbah forum accused the official Hamas website of suddenly refusing to re-publish Al-Qaida communiques and propaganda.
- On March 11, 2007, Al-Qaida’s As-Sahab Media Foundation released an audio-recorded address on the Internet of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, wherein he issued a sharp and unprecedented challenge to the Palestinian Hamas movement, accusing the latter of treachery and of abandoning its two decade-long armed struggle against the State of Israel.

“The HAMAS leadership has finally joined the train of Al Sadat for humiliation and capitulation. The HAMAS leadership has sold out Palestine, and earlier it had sold out referring to Shari’ah as the source of jurisdiction. It has sold all that to be allowed to maintain one-third of the government... For the sake of retaining one third of the seats in this ridiculous government, HAMAS leadership has abandoned the rule of Shar’iah. It has also ceded most of the Palestinian territories. For one-third of the seats of this ridiculous government, they abandoned the resistance movement and accepted the government of bargaining; they abandoned the movement of martyrdom operations and accepted the government of respect for international resolutions; they abandoned the heroic struggler movement and accepted the domesticated beggar government; they abandoned the movement of penetrating the enemy throngs with explosives and accepted the government of playing with words in the halls of palaces. For a third of the seats in the government, they abandoned the rule of Shari’ah and bowed to the international legitimacy.”

- On the same day, March 11, after Al-Qaida supporters on the Al-Hesbah forum listen to Zawahiri’s speech, they issue an immediate petition on the Al-Hesbah forum to officially ban any user expressing public support for Hamas.
- The Muslim Brotherhood’s central office fires back with a statement published on its official website (ikhwanweb.info) quoting Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan: "Al-Zawahiri’s statements and criticism towards Hamas movement have no effect on the movement’s attitude; this is because its participation in the political process and elections are due to the fact that all the movement members are fully convinced that there must be an effective political participation activate and maintain the resistance; we run the elections and participated in the government on the basis of the slogan (a hand to build and another hand to resists.)... this participation wasn’t a concession or abandonment of Islamic principles... What Al-Zawahiri said isn’t a criticism, it is an unjustified defamation and attack against Hamas movement and its leaders." The Brotherhood website went on to add, "Hamdan confirmed that Al-Zawahiri continuous attack against Hamas and its leaders is a clear evidence that the Hamas ideology is miles away from the ideology of Al-Qaeda whose method is based on the absolute enemy which is contradicting with the Islamic principles and Sharia."

 

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