Muslim Brotherhood Speaker Appears at UC-Irvine
Today, Ibrahim Al-Houdaiby, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, appeared at UCI. He was invited to UCI by the Center for Research on International and Global Studies and the History Department. His topic was Religion and Democracy in the Middle East. Al Houdaiby portrays himself-and the Muslim Brotherhood as moderate and seeking to establish understanding between Islam and the West. They are opponents of the current Egyptian Government. The event took place as part of a class by Professor Mark LeVIne, a Middle East expert who is considered sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. (His critics consider him anti-Israel.) Members of the public were invited to attend the talk and the question and answer session. Aside from the students in the class, most of the attendees were Muslim students with a handful of Jewish members from the community. There were no incidents or heated exchanges.Prior to the event, the Brotherhood's website, Ikhwan Web.com, posted an article describing opposition to the appearance. The article linked to a Frontpage.com article. (Al-Houdaiby is a member of the Ikhwan Board.)
Due to my class commitments, I arrived about 30 minutes late, and shortly before the conclusion of Al-Houdaiby's remarks. I was able to attend the Q&A, however. My question was one of the last because Dr LeVine wanted to give his students the chance to ask questions first in the limited time. I would have liked to claim that I was the only skunk at the garden party, but a few students voiced skepticism about the Brotherhood in their questions about women's rights, the alleged role of the Brotherhood in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and other issues. One young lady described herself as a Coptic Christian and voiced concern about their rights in a Muslim society. (Coptic Christians are a religious minority in Egypt.)Al-Houdaiby denied any Brotherhood involvement in the Sadat assassination and tried to reassure the Coptic lady about the situation in Egypt as it pertains to Coptics. He insisted throughout that the Brotherhood seeks democracy in Egypt. While Al-Houdaiby speaks fluent English, he tends to speak quite fast and gives lengthy answers that tend to ramble, so (at least for me), it is difficult to follow his monologue.
In his statements, Al-Houdaibi insisted that the Brotherhood renounces violence, condemned 9-11 and only seeks understanding with the West.When I was called upon, I explained that I had arrived late and may have missed remarks that would pertain to my question, which was related to a Muslim Brotherhood memo dated May 22, 1991. I was holding a copy of the memo and passed English and Arabic copies up front for Mr Al-Houdaiby and Dr LeVine. I digress at this point to explain this memo to the reader. The memo in question is entitled: An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America-5/22/1991. It was written by Mohamed Akram and consists of 18 pages in English. It is addressed to several Muslim groups in North America. This document is stamped, "US v HLF (Homeland Foundation) and bears prosecution exhibit number 003-0085, which identifies it as a government exhibit in the the Homeland Foundation prosecution. It is now in the public venue. I directed Mr Al-Houdaiby's attention to page 7 of the document, section 4, which is entitled: "Understanding the Role of the Muslim Brother in North America". I then read aloud the passage, which follows below:"The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process' with all the word means. The Ikhwan 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 religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. 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 except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal".
I then asked Al-Houdaibi to comment and asked if this is the position of the Muslim Brotherhood.Al-Houdaiby expressed wonderment at where I had obtained the document, declared it false and stated that it had already been revealed to be false adding that there is no Muslim Brotherhood in the US. He went on to state that it did not reflect the position of the Brotherhood and was against the words of the Brotherhood founder, Hasan Al-Banna. I then followed up by asking if one of the founding principles of the Brotherhood was the imposition of Islam worldwide under Shariah law. This he denied. I then pinned him down by asking if it was his answer to me that the document was a forgery, reminding him that it was a prosecution exhibit used in the above-mentioned trial. He insisted the document was false.(I should add that I am paraphrasing his answers as I did not record them and I am writing from memory.)At this point, LeVine suggested that since time was short, perhaps I could chat with Al-Houdaiby later, and he could point out in the Ikhwan website the document was refuted.
I mentioned that I needed to rush off (since I had to take my mother to the doctor.) I then left at the conclusion of the talk while LeVine's class resumed. Al-Houdaibi was scheduled to meet informally with students later in the afternoon. I had no further exchange with him.Was I satisfied with Al-Houdaibi's answer? No. I don't see how he could look briefly at the document as I read one paragraph and conclude that the document was fake. Of course, I would have liked to delve further, but in these forums, you can't hog the floor. I will check out Ikhwan in the coming days to see if this document is addressed.
A note from Radarsite: Below is the comment Gary Fouse received on his original article at Foussquawk from El Houdaiby, and Gary's response.
I am Ibrahim El Houdaiby and my answer is rather simple, and straightforward.I have already read the entire holyland foundation thing, and there is no proof whatsoever, neither legal nor rational, that this group is associated with the MB, plus a US government has rejected these documentsAt any case, even if it did not reject them, the most important point which I made, and you mentioned but kept very low here, is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not in any way associated with that foundation, we do not have presence in North America to start with, and this goes against our ideology and what we stand forif you want to read (again) about the objectives of shariah I have spoken about during my talk you could find them in a book entitled: How to Deal with Holy Quran by Qaradawy, but I'm not sure thats translated to EnglishAnyway I hope your mum is fine and that there was nothing serious
October 8, 2008 10:21 PM
Gary Fouse said...
Mr El Houdaiby,First of all, I thank you for your good wishes about my mother. She is fine.As for the document I gave you, I would appreciate any information you could provide that shows that this document is not authentic and has been proven to be false.I wanted to ask you yesterday if that was the first time you had seen this document, I did not have unlimited time to ask questions. In that forum, a person really should ask only one question.As for the Muslim Brotherhood not being in the US, that may be true, but the document, if authentic, would indicate that the Brotherhood has contact with US groups, such as the Muslim Student Associations (MSA). It has been reported that the Brotherhood is associated with the MSA as a sponsor or founder. Perhaps, you could enlighten me on that.As for the current philosophy and aims of the Brotherhood, I want to believe that they are as you say. As for the government in Egypt, which you oppose, I take no sides in that issue. I too would like to see Democracy come to the Middle East, but I don't see how Sharia law and democracy come together, at least our idea of democracy. Let me take this opportunity to tell you why I have spoken out against the UCI-MSU (which I am sure you are now aware.) As a Christian, I have very strong feelings about anti-Semitism (Jewish). I have spent years in Germany, and am very-well versed in the Third Reich and Holocaust. The MSU at UCI regularly brings in virulent speakers who are not only anti-Semitic but anti-American as well)Amir Abdel Malik Ali, Alim Musa, Mohammed Al-Asi-Dr Levine can tell you who they are). These speakers also glorify suicide bombings in Israel. It is my position that this had led to an atmosphere of anti-Semitism on this campus whenever these people appear here. I have and will continue to speak out against this, as well as the unwillingness of the university administration to confront it. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that while our nation has a tradition of freedome of religion (which has included Islam), we would never submit to having a religion imposed on us. The Europeans might, but not Americans. We have fought too hard to win our freedoms to ever allow that to happen.I have one last question and one last comment.Question: Could you explain the connection between the Brotherhood and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who spent the years of the 2nd World War in Berlin as an ally of Adolf Hitler?Comment: I have said this before and will say it again. I have no problem with Muslims defending their religion. Muslims should, indeed, defend Islam. However, they don't need to defend it from non-Muslims. In my view, they need to defend it from those other Muslims who engage in terror in the name of Islam and thus, bring discredit to the religion all over the world.
I thank you for your response.
October 9, 2008 9:31 AM
October 9, 2008 9:31 AM