CAIRO – 22 July 2017: In 2014, the Muslim Brotherhood was recognized and announced as a terrorist organization by Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly voiced concerns of Qatar’s biased support of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar has supported Islamist groups in the region, chiefly the Brotherhood, as part of a drive to boost its influence. Qatar has often provided support to Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, so much so that there seems to be some kind of direct, intimate relationship between the two. Therefore, an exploration of important links between Qatar and the Brotherhood should be reviewed.
Hassan al-Banna on the right and Abdel Aziz al-Matow' on the left- File Photo
The Brotherhood dormant cells in Kuwait
In late July 2012, large audiences sat in front of television screens awaiting the results of the Egyptian presidential race between Mohammad Morsi and Ahmad Shafik. The biggest question was: Will the Muslim Brotherhood actually get into the limelight? Brotherhood “cells” (secrete Brotherhood affiliated minority groups) all over the Arab world were anticipating their mother group’s victory so that they could begin strengthened power in branch countries. They had what they wanted, as the Brotherhood voice was loud within all branches everywhere in the region. In Kuwait, these groups were involved in demonstrations with alliances much similar to those of the mother group in Cairo.
Kuwait City and Manama (Bahrain) were the two cities most negatively affected by the results of the election, as their political, social and secretarian environments gave way to increased influence of political Islam. Conversely, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi were the most steadfast capitals as they made initiatives to limit the influence of the rise of political Islam waves, which can lead to extremist and terrorism, in neighboring countries.
The collective memory of the Gulf states recall the early 1990s invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein as a bitter shock from the Brotherhood; at this period of time the Gulf countries, Kuwait in particular, were the most important source of the Brotherhood’s economy.
Why Qatar supports the outlawed Brotherhood?
The core motivation behind importing Brotherhood members to Qatar was the basic need for educated employees to undertake a range of roles, like teaching Islamic studies, mathematics and other subjects, to establishing and managing emerging bureaucracies.
From a historical analysis of Qatar’s early bureaucracies the Brotherhood has been highlighted as having a formative role in the establishment and staffing of social institutions. Particularly, as the small and relatively wealthy Qatari state provided necessary educational, health and social services to its citizens, Brotherhood members were able to expand its influence through their aloof presence within the various institutions, with the educational sector being the most prominent. Instead, with no real social inroads, the group in Qatar naturally developed an external focus. Palestinian immigrants played a similarly important role. Members of the Brotherhood were recruited, at least in part, for simple pragmatic purposes, as but one source of educated individuals who could fulfill a range of roles.
Brotherhood recruitment had other tangential advantages, such as allowing Qatar to develop an educational system that did not rely on Saudi Arabia and allowing Qatar's elite to play politics, supporting different pan-regional causes at different times.
Qatar supported Muslim Brotherhood organizations in countries across the region during the Arab uprisings in 2011, believing they represented the wave of the future. If Qatar was to have a chance to escape the diplomatic orbit of Saudi Arabia or the Gulf region, it would need links outside the region, a reason for Arabs in the wider region to consider and interact with Qatar as a country by itself.
“Qatar says it is doing that for Islamic reasons and that it is helping and aiding a Muslim group. In fact, however, it does not have Islamic reasons for that as it claims. It is because Qatar does not help the Brotherhood for Islam's sake but for political and strategic purposes,” Dahi Khalfan said in an interview with Al-Ahram newspaper in April 2014.
Khalfan added that these purposes were announced by Condoleezza Rice, former US National Security Official, as "creative chaos."
Most of the Brotherhood members doctors or engineers…why?
“Most of the Brotherhood leaders are graduates of prestigious faculties such as medicine and engineering,” Eslam el-Katatni told Egypt Today.
Eslam, who chose disassociate himself from the Brotherhood amid family outrage is the nephew of prominent Brotherhood leader Saad el-Katatni, illustrated the interest of the Brotherhood members in joining prestigious faculties.
According to Eslam, most of the Brotherhood members belong to poor families who grew up in poor and rural societies. “Therefore, those poor Brotherhood members try to level up their social prestige through joining the high-ranking faculties,” Eslam manifested.
“This is how the Brotherhood members try to overcome their complex,” Eslam added.
When Hassan Al-Banna formed the Muslim Brotherhood group in Ismailia city in 1928, he managed to recruit poor and illiterate members to his group.
Brotherhood leaders in Kuwait- file photo
Establishment of Kuwaiti branch of the Brotherhood
The migration of Egyptian Brotherhood members, under Abdel Nasser’s regime onwards, into the Gulf countries led to the evolution of Brotherhood branches in neighboring countries. The first Brotherhood organization in Kuwait was established in 1947 by Abdul Aziz Ali Al Mato'.
Later on in 1952, Al Mato' suggested to Hassan Al-Bana that the group’s name be changed from “Brotherhood” to the “Islamic Guidance of Society.”
With the disbandment of the Brotherhood in Egypt in 1954 by Abdel Nasser, a huge influx of Brotherhood leaders fled to Gulf countries—including Kuwait—due to its economic prosperity from the discovery of oil.
The Egyptian Brotherhood leaders and member that fled into Kuwait brought their Brotherhood influenced ideas along. Many of them were school teachers whose teachings were highly influenced by Brotherhood ideology. These school teachers soon helped Kuwait redraft their school curriculum.
According to reports circulated in Arab media outlets several years ago, Brotherhood teachers in Kuwait added texts extracted from Sayed Qutob and Hassan Al-Banna’s lessons and letters to the Kuwaiti curriculum.
Sayyed Qutub on the left, Yusuf Qaradwai in the middle and Hassan al-Banna on the right
Sayed Qutob, who was executed in 1966 by the Egyptian authorities, incited violence and urged the people to defy their regimes.
Following Kuwait’s independence of British rule in 1961, the Guidance Organization was terminated and the “Social Reform Association” was established.
In the aftermath of the 1990 Iraqi invasion, the Kuwait Brotherhood underwent a period of significant change, breaking organizational ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood over Islamist support for Iraq and founding a political party, Hadas, to participate fully in Kuwaiti politics.
Hadas was established on March 31, 1991 following the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion of the Gulf War. The groups of people who started the movement, and still control it, are Kuwaiti Islamists that follow the ideology of the Brotherhood.
Kuwaiti Brotherhood criticized June 30 Revolution in Egypt
Hadas responded to the protests and riots surrounding the June 30 revolution in Egypt by criticizing both the Egyptian and Kuwaiti governments. While Hadas condemned the June 30 revolution, it also criticized the Kuwaiti government for its support of Morsi’s removal. One such instance was in 2013 when the emir welcomed the former interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour to Kuwait and Hadas criticized the reception of the Egyptian president and the financial donations he had received.
Immediately following Morsi’s removal, Kuwaiti politicians called Hadas "dangerous," warning of the Brotherhood’s infiltration of sensitive government ministries, which could be used to spread its influence at the expense of the state, the Foreign Policy reported in November in 2013.
The Qatari regime has to stop funding and supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood that have tempered the Arab nations, and the Kuwaiti society in particular, otherwise Qatar should clearly announce that its agenda is to tear apart the unity apart.