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The Muslim Brotherhood and Global Jihadism: What Does the Case of Spain Show Us? – USA News Web


From the introduction of global jihadism in Spain in the 1980s, thanks to the conversion of key figures of the phenomenon, which was still emerging at the time, through activities that culminated in the 1990s, the consolidation of a significant Al Qaeda cell in Spain and its rebuilding was the beginning of the 11-M terrorist network until the outbreak of the war in Syria, starting in 2011 for the same global structure and the propaganda of the Syrian branch of similar organizations, numerous activists, imams and alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood Personnel have had a significant impact within Spain on the violent radicalization process leading to participation in activities related to jihadist terrorism. The Spanish case thus refutes the vision of the Muslim Brotherhood as a group of groups differentiated by ethnic origin who collectively reject global jihad as a movement to organize and discipline young Muslims against violent radicalization in Western societies. Taken together, the available evidence in the Spanish case at the same time seems insufficient to substantiate an alternative view of the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and global jihadism.


What relationship can there be between the Muslim Brotherhood and global jihadism, especially with regard to open societies in the Western world? To speak of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Muslim Brotherhood, is to speak of the Islamic movement founded in Egypt in 1928 but now widespread and transnational in the Arab world.[1] It has operations in Western Europe and of course in Spain.[2] To talk about global jihadism is to talk about an ideologically and organizationally formed phenomenon in the eighties, of which jihadi terrorism is inherent.[3] Throughout the nineties, its actors began to gain a foothold in different Western European countries, including Spain.[4] There are, then, two opposing perspectives on the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and global jihadism in Western societies, especially European societies, whether regarding the threat of terrorism or the process of violent radicalization.

According to the first vision, the Muslim Brotherhood «is a collection of ethnic groups with different views», but what they have in common is that «they all reject global jihad and embrace elections and other features of democracy».[5] Moreover, always according to this view, the Muslim Brotherhood seems, through internal disciplinary and educational programs, to distinguish its members from radicalism and «work to prevent Muslims from using violence and directing them into political and charitable activities.[6] In short, the Muslim Brotherhood, which denounces jihadists for attacks in Western societies where they exist, will be successful or at least successful in preventing the cognitive radicalization of Al Qaeda’s ideology and as a way of opposing the radicalization that leads to participation Act effectively in activities related to jihadist terrorism.

Another view is that the ideas and goals of the Muslim Brotherhood are incompatible with the values ​​of an open society in a liberal democratic context. Thus, the Brotherhood and its associated entities support the radicalization of young Muslims who are alienated in the Western countries where they live, by Islamizing them in ways that emphasize their religious identity at the expense of citizenship.[7] While the Brotherhood condemns jihadist terrorism in the countries of the Western world where they were founded, they recognize «terrorism permissible under Islamic law».[8] If they present themselves as moderates and turn a blind eye to this terrorism, it is for utilitarian reasons to gain access to public resources, legitimacy among the elite, and power within the Muslim community. Some positions on the second view even suggest that the Brotherhood gave birth to jihadism, or that it was itself a jihadist group.[9]

As Lorenzo Vidino observes of the above, «Differences of opinion are a natural consequence of the difficulty in conclusively determining the effects of fraternities on radicalization and the security environment due to the lack of clear empirical evidence ’, and more so in rare cases. Active members of Western Muslim Brotherhood organizations have radicalized to the point of violence.[10] In this regard, the purpose of this document is to present sufficient evidence, with respect to the Spanish case, to tentatively confirm or refute either of the two views above regarding the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorism inherent in global jihadism .[11]

[1] Carrie Wickham, The Muslim Brotherhood: The Evolution of an Islamic Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015); Nawaf Obaid, «The Muslim Brotherhood. A Failure in Political Evolution,» Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, 2017; Khalil Anani, Inside the Muslim Brotherhood: Religion, Identity, and Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[2] Edwin Bakker and Roel Meijer, editors, european muslim brotherhood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 313-317; Lorenzo Verdino, The West’s New Muslim Brotherhood (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010); Lorenzo Verdino, closed circle of the muslim brotherhood (Barcelona: Gutenberg Galaxy, 2021); Elena Arigita and Rafael Ortega. «The Muslim Brotherhood in Spain», p. 95-98 in Frank Peter and Rafael Ortega, eds., Islamic Movements in Europe: Public Religion and Islamophobia in the Modern World (London: IBTauris, 2014); Elena Arigita and Rafael Ortega, «From Syria to Spain: The Rise and Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood», pp. 189–208 in Bakker and Meijer, european muslim brotherhood.

[3] Mark Sugman, Learn about terrorist networks(Philadelphia: University Press of Philadelphia, 2004), pp. 18-24; Jarrett M. Brachman, Global jihadism. theory and practice (London and New York: Routledge, 2009).

[4] Peter Nesser, Islamic terrorism in Europe. history (London: Hearst, 2015), p. 3. 34-35; Fernando Reinares, Carola García-Calvo and Álvaro Vicente, Jihadism and Jihadists in Spain

[5] Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke, «The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,» ed. Foreign affairs86: 2 (2007), p. 108; Dunia Buzar, L’Islam des banlieus. Les prédicaurs musulmans: nouveaux travailleurs sociaux? (Paris: La Découverte, 2001). Marc Lynch tends to the same argument, but with more nuance, «Islam Splits Between Jihad and Muslim Brotherhood», pp. 161-183 in Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, eds. Fault Lines in Global Jihad: Organizational, Strategic, and Ideological Rifts (London: Taylor and Francis, 2011).

[6] Leiken and Brooke, «The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,» pp. 112-113.

[7] This argument was made by Gilles Kepel in islamic suburb (Paris: Seuil, 1987).

[8] At the 1997 meeting of the European Council of Fatwa and Research (ECFR), formed by the global distortions of the Muslim Brotherhood, held in Stockholm in 2003, al-Qaradawi established different (5) categories of terrorism, but one of them was «Terrorist activities permissible under Islamic law», including from so-called martyrdoms. «Al-Qaradhawi speaks in favor of suicide at an Islamic conference in Sweden», Middle East Media Studies Initiative Special Issue No. 1. 542 (2003).

[9] David Patterson, Evil family tree.Anti-Semitism From Nazism to Islamic Jihad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), especially pp. 125-146.

[10] vidino, The West’s New Muslim Brotherhood,Page. 220-221.

[11] The information and data on which this study is based are drawn from primary sources such as judicial documents and police reports of relevant cases investigated in Spain, as well as secondary sources that correspond primarily to academic literature that is related in some way. theme.

Image: The figure at the end of the tunnel. Photo: Martin (@mrtnpro).


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