23 Mar 2021

Muslim Brotherhood’s ways of building a separatist identity

Dr. Mohammed Farid Azzi
23 Mar 2021

Muslim Brotherhood’s ways of building a separatist identity

Dr. Mohammed Farid Azzi

Introduction

What is the secret behind the Muslim Brotherhood’s continuity from the 1920s till today, surviving the many bans and dissolution decisions? The Brotherhood was dissolved three times in Egypt — the first time was in 1948 during the period of the monarchy, the second was in 1954 during the rule of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the third time was in 2013 when it was classified as a “terrorist group” by the Egyptian government.

Besides the group’s ability to exist and survive, its ability to spread and expand is remarkable. After its establishment in 1928, the number of Brotherhood branches exceeded 100 by 1935, reached 400 by the end of the 1930s, and the rate of expansion and dissemination doubled in the 1940s, bringing the number of branches to 2000 by 1949. The number of its affiliates was estimated to include between 300,000 and 600,000 members at that time. [1]

Many explanatory models have been used from different fields of knowledge, including sociology, political science, social psychology, and anthropology, to find out how the Brotherhood expands so rapidly and penetrates all segments of the society.

Most studies deal with the phenomenon of political Islam within the confines of three basic models:

  1. The political economy model (a physical model)
  2. The cultural identity model (a cultural model)
  3. The social movement model

The political economy model, in its interpretation of the Islamist phenomenon represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and its expansion, attaches specific importance to factors attributable to the state’s failure to meet the people’s needs of employment, housing, and health in the context of modernization, industrialization, urban expansion and migration from the countryside to cities. It considers the failure of secular regimes that have dominated the region since decolonization to provide economic growth, social justice, political rights, and social prosperity. These regimes were unable to ensure that the bulk of their national labor forces, especially the youth, were absorbed in the modern economic sector. Consequently, large numbers of people affected by authoritarian governance and incomplete modernization processes joined the Islamic movements that provided material support and services, using ideology as a tool to give meaning to their lives and existence. [2]

The cultural identity model considers the rise of Islamic activity as a reaction to the West’s domination of Islamic societies, [3] starting with European colonial expansion and its continuation in various forms. The West interfered not only in Islamic societies’ economic and political fields but also in imposing cultural influences. According to this perspective, the Islamic renaissance is a collective protest against decades of Western cultural hegemony, in which Muslims have restored their Islamic heritage as a positive and “authentic” source of identity and values.

Although these two models have shed some light on the reasons that attract broad social groups to political Islam in general, they do not explain the continuity of their involvement in the face of the Brotherhood’s prohibitive conditions and the end of the colonial era. This is where the social movements model becomes relevant.  The Brotherhood, in its quest to gain power and rule society, was able to build a collective and distinctive identity that was akin to a hard shell resistant to breaking. The identity that the group built for its members was independent and unique, with a strong sense of difference from the others. This differentiation is what enabled the Brotherhood to recruit its members, reshape their visions of the world and generate collective action. [4]

Identity building

According to sociologist Alberto Melucci, the collective identity is the process by which the actors produce common cognitive frameworks that enable them to assess their environment and calculate the gains and losses resulting from their actions. They perform three functions that ensure the continuation of the social movement: organizing membership, determining the requirements for joining the movement and establishing rules and standards through which the members get to know each other, and the others get to know them. [5]

One of the characteristics of group identity is that it is discriminatory. It sets imaginary boundaries that separate members from non-members; it forms standards and values ​​that describe membership criteria and separate themselves from other social groups. Membership criteria define group boundaries and define the systems of meanings and frameworks within which members interact and understand the social environments around them. [6]

 Brotherhood identity

In the early 20th century, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt witnessed an extensive debate about its national identity, and this debate was coupled with conflicting intellectual and political visions. One group called for more openness, secularism, and modernization of economic and social structures in accordance with modern laws and values, while the second team focused on Egypt’s Islamic identity and adopting laws and values ​​that are in line with the Islamic authority, especially Shariah. [7] As part of this perspective, Hasan Al-Banna formulated his ideological project in which the issue of identity occupies a prominent position.

The question then is: How did the Muslim Brotherhood manage to build its Brotherhood identity? The answer to this question lies in the group’s success in linking a set of dimensions and levels in its religious-political project in parallel steps, matching the ideological and advocacy dimension, the organizational and mobilization dimension, and by linking all of this to the daily lives of Egyptians, their concerns and aspirations.[8] Thus the group’s success in linking ideas with organization and achievement enabled it to establish a collective identity that is distinct from the Egyptian national collective identity.

The Muslim Brotherhood resorted to positioning itself within a community that has its own values, standards and vision of the world.  It used a number of economic, social, cultural and educational vehicles to achieve this, such as the formation of associations and companies, charities and medical clinics, schools, cultural bodies and the media. The group’s success is attributed to the fact that it effectively fuses all these dimensions into one melting pot that ultimately formed an integrated Brotherhood identity that competes with the national identity.

The process of building the identity of the Muslim Brotherhood began a few years after its inception and progressed in parallel on various fronts simultaneously but in a gradual manner. In this paper, we present the Brotherhood’s ideology, administrative organization, social services and economic activity, and the role of each of these elements in building a closed Brotherhood identity.

Ideological foundations

The strategies and mechanisms of the Brotherhood stem from its ideological concept that was developed by Hassan Al-Banna, who considers Islam as a comprehensive system that includes all aspects of life and is able to translate them into practices and behaviors. Al-Banna expresses this by saying:

“We believe that the rulings and teachings of Islam are comprehensive and regulate the affairs of people in this world and the hereafter, and that those who think that these teachings only deal with the ritual or spiritual aspect without any other aspects are mistaken in this thought, for Islam is a doctrine and worship, a homeland and nationality, religion and state, spirituality and work, and a Quran and a sword, and the Holy Quran speaks all of that and considers it part of the core of Islam.” [9]

Based on this perception, Al-Banna believes that Islam is the solution to Egypt’s problems in their various political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions. From this standpoint, he also laid down his strategy for Islamic action to achieve comprehensive social change. Al-Banna clarified his strategy for change when he announced at the group’s sixth conference in 1941 that the Brotherhood was working to achieve two goals:

  • A close goal, which is achieved when the individual joins the group and becomes a contributor to the “common good” regardless of his field. What is required at this stage is that the individual purifies his body, mind and spirit for the long jihad.
  • And a faraway goal, which is to achieve the desired reform that the group aspires to, in which it is necessary to wait and anticipate opportunities, prepare well and set up the formation. [10]

In order to achieve comprehensive reform, some stages must be achieved, according to Al-Banna: [11]

  • To have the typical Muslim brother who is well educated, has a strong body, worships correctly, and perseveres in his work.
  • To have the Muslim home and the Muslim family in their thought and creed to apply the principles of Islam in all aspects of domestic life.
  • To have a Muslim society in which solidarity prevails and in which the call for good, enjoining good, and fighting vices is spread.

Al-Banna’s strategy pursued in thought and behavior to push the process of social and political change reveals the fluctuation between peaceful action and the pursuit of force. The first aspect was pursued through legal frameworks, which he listed in a general way in his memoirs, lectures, and lessons in mosques. The establishment of divisions in Cairo and expanding them into other regions, focusing advocacy work in universities and schools of all kinds, organizing sports formations and holding several periodic conferences for the Brotherhood members and the wider public, and dealing with political and social reform aspects with statements, guidance and participation in the representation process were all part of that strategy.

The aspect of strength was also evident in Al-Banna’s endeavor to instill militarism among the Brotherhood members, his formation of the touring, roving, and scouting teams, then the battalion followed by the special system. What strengthened the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy and helped it penetrate the social segments of Egyptian society was that it sought to present numerous reform proposals to implement on the ground a series of economic and social projects and activities, which made the Brotherhood distinct from all political forces and parties at the time. [12]

Administrative organization

The unique characteristics of the Brotherhood’s administrative organization contributed to the consolidation of its identity. This organization combined the characteristics of a central organization with a hierarchical command structure, whereby the main authorities belong to the Office of the General Guide and the Guidance Office, and the features of a federal organization, where “the internal organizational lines of communication did not necessarily follow the same hierarchical patterns; especially since the group made improvements to the communication system which does not rely on a tiered model within vertical communication from top to bottom. Instead, it uses multiple frameworks that allowed the leadership to continue broadcasting and flowing information in a relatively continuous manner, vertically and horizontally.” [13]

This led one of the researchers to describe the functioning of the Brotherhood’s administrative organization as flexible centralization, where centralization of decision-making and decentralization of implementation prevails.  This approach gives the administrative divisions and offices a high degree of independence in formulating local policies, organizing events, and supervising social activities. [14] This type of organization allowed the group to adapt to the developments and changes that occurred in the surrounding environment. In particular, it enabled the Brotherhood to resist and overcome all the state’s attempts to eliminate it.

This type of organization showed some effectiveness when the group was banned in 1948 during the monarchy, and later in 1954 during the Nasser era. It also proved effective during the rules of presidents Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak during the arrests of the group’s leaders from time to time. Therefore, “the Muslim Brotherhood has accumulated skills that enabled it to transfer information between members in prison and abroad or in exile through a complex horizontal network that relies on personal relationships, not just on vertical lines of power.” [15]

In such cases, the group would transfer the responsibilities of its central structures to the divisions’ administrations, as the latter represented the basic administrative units of the group spread in all the cities and villages of Egypt. On the other hand, the divisions included a series of families whose members had direct and regular relationships, and the members showed complete loyalty to their families, their people, and the group in general. The division chief plays an important role, in this case serving as the link between the group’s base and its leadership. [16]

 

 Figure 1) Organization structure of the Muslim Brotherhood

Organization structure of the Muslim Brotherhood

Source: Trends Center for Research and Consulting, the organizational structure of the Muslim Brotherhood: Goals, Functions, and Operations, (Abu Dhabi, Trends Center for Research and Consulting, 2020) p. 110.

Since the group’s early years, the divisional system formed the basic structure of the organization. The divisions are located under the administrative office, which plays a major role and acts as a link between the organizational bases of the members and the central leadership. This organization shows its effectiveness, especially when the group is exposed to dissolution or faces state-imposed restrictions.

There is more cooperation and communication between the branch offices and the people down to the family, the smallest organizational unit during such situations. The second rung leaders of the Brotherhood continue to manage the organization and work independently without checking with the central leaders. Thus, the structure helps the group maintain its cohesion and continue its activities even if it is formally dissolved by the state or subject to continuous monitoring by the security services. [17]

Essam Al-Erian, a Brotherhood leader, says: “An important development occurred in the 1980s in the way that the organization itself was managed as it began to depend on decentralization. And the idea of ​​decentralization in administration was proposed in the 1980s as a means of developing the effectiveness of the movement.” [18]

In addition to the flexibility of the organization and its administrative structures that allow it to continue in times of crises, the ideological saturation of the members with the vision and goals of the group, as well as the pledge of allegiance (which is the declaration of loyalty and obedience to the General Guide as the head of the group) play an important role in the survival and continuity of the group.  These leaders’ commitment to the foundations laid down by Hassan Al-Banna is the one that guarantees, in particular, the continuity of rules characterized by loyalty and faithfulness, without depending on guidance from above during crises. The result is that the organization can continue to work for a long period without daily instructions and administrative directives. [19]

Such a united and coherent structure of the group keeps the third level of leaders and ordinary members updated about the organization’s policies, reinforcing ​​the overlap between ideas and the organizational structure. This helps to ensure loyalty among the members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization[20]. Consequently, as Rafiq Habib, a former leader of the Brotherhood notes, the goal entrusted to the administrative organization was “always and forever to maintain the organization as it is the only vessel capable of carrying the idea, method, and means, in addition to achieving the goals.” [21]

Despite the populist character of the Brotherhood, belonging to it is not easy, as individuals go through many stages in which they undergo a delicate process of indoctrination before becoming full members of the group. [22] Individuals, some researchers argue, do not join but rather are chosen. The selective admission into the group aims firstly to avoid any penetration by the state apparatus and secondly to instill Brotherhood standards and regulations in the minds of new members. [23]

Another feature that is unique to the administrative organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is the three-tiered membership system, and this division determines the degrees of commitment of the members.

  • At the first level are “assistants” whose obligations are limited to signing the membership card and paying contributions.
  • At the second level are “associates” who must demonstrate their knowledge of group principles, attend meetings regularly and take an oath of obedience.
  • At the third level is the “working” members, who are expected to give their entire lives to the community, memorize parts of the Quran and hadith, respect all Islamic obligations, and engage in regular physical training sessions. [24]

Sociologist Ziad Munson highlights the overlap of organizational and ideological aspects in the administrative structure of the Muslim Brotherhood. “The organization, with a three-level federal structure, has led to a partial and gradual immersion in the Brotherhood’s ideology. The ideas and the organizational structure are intertwined. The latter provides the basis for an educational introduction to the former in a way that corresponds to the daily experiences of the Egyptian people and their needs.” [25]

The relationship between the membership system and the enhancement of identity is very important, as each membership level requires a pattern of formation and indoctrination commensurate with the member’s age, degree of commitment and personality. [26] In parallel with the official network represented in the administrative structure, the Brotherhood relies on informal networks whose strength greatly contributed to the survival and cohesion of the organization.  These networks were able to provide various services to different segments of the society, particularly the poor ones, and thus doubled the group’s ability to mobilize and influence. [27]

Academic Diane Singerman offers the following description: “Informal networks transcend spatial, cultural, class and gender boundaries, integrating men and women, and different social classes, into complex networks. Teachers, religious leaders, craftsmen, bureaucrats, police officers, spouses and leaders, etc. maintain ties and networks with each other to advance their interests. These networks have value and material dimensions as they facilitate the production, distribution, and redistribution of goods and services.” [28]

The success of the Muslim Brotherhood in mobilization, expansion, and continuity lies in the fact that it built a collective identity for its members by spreading its vision and ideology in which they often rely on informal personal networks and religious and cultural ties. [29]

The familial character prevails over Brotherhood social networks as one of the important tools in managing the organization and facilitating communication between its members. There are countless examples of family ties and intermarriages that bind members of the Muslim Brotherhood together, and these links create relatively closed networks and offer reliable means of communication. At the same time, these personal and family relationships constitute a shield against penetration attempts, potential infiltration and exposure, especially as these relationships are supplemented by employing social media and Brotherhood media to pass on information. [30]

Social services

The Muslim Brotherhood presented itself from the beginning as a social organization whose aim was primarily to reform the individual, the family, and then society, using a gradual Islamic approach. The group considered social reform a necessary condition for political reform. Based on this vision, the group focused its efforts in the first 10 years of its founding on the social and moral aspects, and refrained from formally engaging in political issues. [31]

Nevertheless, it must be noted that exclusive attention to the social dimension in the first phase of the group’s path was not an objective in itself but was an effective means of forming a broad social base from which it can get hold of the state. [32] In this regard, researcher Ammar Fayed says: “Hassan Al-Banna has defined stages for advocacy: introducing the idea and preaching it, selecting supporters and members, forming a solid base for the organization, and implementation. [33]

Based on this approach, the social work of the Muslim Brotherhood reflected caring for the issues of the poor social groups, including workers, farmers, and students, and providing them with solutions through various means, including legal, professional, service, and in-kind assistance. It is an important entry point for the group to gain support and expansion. The group made great efforts in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s to protect workers’ rights in the face of domestic and foreign exploitation and capitalism. [34] The Brotherhood did the same towards farmers, students and employees, so they continued to provide a wide range of services to these groups, including health, education, economic support, relief, and other services, in order to expand and impose hegemony on society.

The Brotherhood helped build social, organizational extensions such as associations, health centers, mosques, and other institutions of social nature that support its general objectives. Perhaps this explains the reasons for its continuity despite the many criticisms directed at its political performance, as the diversity of its activities and social roles have always remained strong. [35]

The group was active in various aspects of social work early on, as it was able to establish 102 branches for social services in 1946, strengthening to 500 branches in 1948. It also extended its involvement to various aspects of life in Egyptian society and its educational, health and social institutions became very important pillars that enhanced its position, supported its finances, and strengthened its roots among the masses. [36]

The Brotherhood achieved popular participation as it focused on offering services in poor communities. Its social assistance base is made up of branches spread throughout Egypt, about 6,000 mosques, 2 million members, and 20 hospitals, not counting clinics and orphanages, and about 20 Egyptian non-governmental organizations. According to some sources, the group had 1,200 civil society institutions before its rise to power in Egypt. [37] Perhaps these service networks explain the reasons for the strong rise of the Muslim Brotherhood during the 2012 parliamentary elections. [38]

The social services sector performs multiple tasks in the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood. As we have seen, it is an effective means of expanding the group’s social base, and enables it to emerge as a positive actor in civil society. Emphasizing this role, researcher Egbert Harmsen says in his book Islam, Civil Society and Social Work: “Islamic voluntary societies have filled a gap left by the state.” It is an implicit criticism of the state’s inability to provide adequate services, especially to non-elite sections of the society, and an alternative to expensive private institutions and low-quality and overcrowded public utilities. [39]

Harmsen also explains that the social work of the Muslim Brotherhood helped it create its own identity among its members, [40] even though the group claims that it provides its services to everyone who needs it and adheres to the principle of equality and does not discriminate in this between people according to religion, gender, and tribe, nationality or ethnicity. The practical reality reveals that it depends on family ties, friendship, neighborhood, and social trust networks in providing its social services.  Therefore, it is not surprising that blood ties and ethnic identity are very important factors in determining who receives these services, [41] and these will be primarily members of the group or at least sympathizers.

 The most important service provided by the group, in which the identity dimension is clearly embodied, is education, as Hassan Al-Banna considered education as “the rope that binds the Brotherhood together.” [42]

The Brotherhood economy and identity

The group has tended to present itself as a mass movement that attracts different segments of Muslims. It claims that its totalitarian discourse represents the essence of Islam, as it represents a broad and wide social current that adheres to the vital role of religion in various aspects of life. It recognizes the need to use the economy to strengthen its political, legal, and Shari’ah position in achieving its societal spread.

The economic dimension was present at an early date in Hassan Al-Banna’s vision. The group laid the foundations of a special economic vision to highlight that it was distinct from other components of society. Simultaneously, it would open a new interface for social expansion by using Islamization.

The economy achieves several goals for the Muslim Brotherhood, some of which are related to taking care of people’s practical needs and provision of material support. Others are functional and emotional, which maintain and enhance the collective identity by integrating the group’s members into economic activities that guarantee their livelihood while enabling them to interact in society and engage in its multiple institutions. [43]

Some researchers see the Brotherhood’s economic discourse as a cover for defending its identity and an attempt to differentiate itself from Western culture and its dominant economy. One researcher on Islamic economics says: “The primary goal of Islamic economics is not to increase economic efficiency, because despite the claim that Islamic economics offers an alternative superior to secular economic principles in our time, the real purpose is to spare Muslims from integrating into the emerging global culture of which the West represents a solid core.” [44]

Accordingly, the conceptual system of the Brotherhood’s economy is part of the ideological arsenal of the group that works on Islamizing (joining the brotherhood) society and building a Brotherhood collective identity. [45] Abul-A’la Al-Maududi, who was the first to use the term Islamic economics, used this term as a comprehensive ideological concept that aimed to establish a separate identity for the Muslims of India who separated from the latter in 1947 and formed the state of Pakistan. In addition to this, the term Islamic economics is used as a support for Islamic movements in their cultural struggle with Western civilization, which according to the Islamic movements’ perspective is a “home of infidelity” that must be confronted with all means, and the economy is one of them. [46]

The same is the case with the Muslim Brotherhood, which exploited the economy to form a Brotherhood identity among its members. The group’s economic activity contributed to strengthening its collective identity by imparting a distinctive mark of its activity based on Islamic principles in economic dealings in a way that distinguishes it from the other economies while offering a special framework for individuals belonging to the Brotherhood to make a living.

A separatist identity

The combination of ideology, administrative organization, social services, and economic activity resulted in an alternative Brotherhood society that is distinct from the general society. The dynamics governing the Brotherhood society, namely ideology, hierarchy, and values, created a subculture that one of the researchers called “Brotherhood tendency.” [47] It is, in fact, an expression of a special identity based on an “ideology and organization that enhances its cohesion and produces social and political activities and a sense of difference and distinction in the minds of its members and ensures their loyalty to the movement.” [48]

Brotherhood tendency in this sense is an identity and a way of life. Another researcher describes it as “an alternative society that has its own value system, and a system of penalties, rewards and punishments; this becomes a source of an alternative identity for its members.” [49] It was established by Al-Banna when he laid out a special world for his followers. Sayed Qutb made it more extremist, so it becomes emotional isolation that means the migration and retreat from society due to a sense of disharmony with it. [50]

This is considered a sectarian form of socialization that generates a counter-society within society, triggering an internal struggle.  So, the brother works in a business owned by the brother, marries the brother’s sister or daughter, and chooses to be treated by a brother’s doctor, and so on. This counter-society will have its own memory: a mixture of real and imagined events that tell a sacred story punctuated with trials or what is known in the literature of the Muslim Brotherhood by tribulation (suffering sent by God) and victories. These trials are not the result of a mistake on the part of the Brotherhood’s political leadership. Rather, they are always the result of the plots of the forces of multiple evil. [51]

The ideological indoctrination also reflects a politicized Brotherhood culture that is concerned with promoting certain values ​​that transcend religion and help create a common identity. Moreover, members are not only being trained to be preachers but also to be social and political activists. Abandoning politics means a fundamental change in Brotherhood indoctrination and socialization programs, something the Brotherhood cannot afford. [52]

Conclusion

The Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in creating a parallel society for its members, who live, marry, work and befriend in and through it. This was achieved by adopting a social structure based on multi-dimensional strategies encompassing ideological, organizational and educational initiatives. This process has led to the establishment of an individual and collective Brotherhood identity that gives the Brotherhood “a symbolic system of values ​​and norms in their daily lives, which enhances their sense of commitment and belonging to the movement. These rules have played a pivotal role in enabling the Brotherhood to maintain its internal unity and avoid disintegration.”

But the question that arises at this point is: To what extent has the Brotherhood’s identity in Egypt been affected after the group was dissolved and the rest of its leadership outside of prisons was divided into at least two groups, its economic activity was suspended and properties confiscated from schools, hospitals, factories, shops and associations, and the means of communication among its members and leadership were disrupted? There is no doubt that this identity that the group has been keen to build since its inception is facing a difficult challenge, especially since the group has lost many of the building blocks of this identity.

References:

[1] The figures on the number of the Muslim Brotherhood’s people and members were based on several sources, including:

Lia Bryanjar, The Society of Muslim Brotherhood: The Rise of an Islamic Mass Movement, 1928-1942, Reading, Ithaca Press, 1998, p.153.

Ziad Munson, Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, The Sociological Quarterly, Volume 42, 2001 – Issue4, p.5.

[2] For more on the relationship about the studies that adopted the approach of non-normality, the social crisis, and the emergence of Islamic movements, see:

-Said Amir Arjomand )ed(, From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam (London: Macmillan, 1984)

-Dekmejian Richard, Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World (New York, Syracuse University Press, 1985)

[3] For more references on the cultural discourse on political Islam, see:

-Francois Burgat, Comprendre L’Islam Politique: Une trajectoire de recherche sur l’altérité islamiste, (Edition Decouverte, Paris, 2016).

-Burgat and Dowell, “Islamism as the Language of Political Reaction to Western Cultural Domination,” in: The Islamic Movement in North Africa) Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993 (PP 63–85.

– Leila Hessini, “Wearing the Hijab in Contemporary Morocco: Choice and Identity,” in: Fatma Muge Gocek and Shiva Balaghi(eds.)  Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity and Power (New York, Columbia University Press, 1994).

-Esposito John & Tamimi Azzam (eds), Islam and secularism in the Middle East (New York, New York university Press, 2000(.

[4] Khalil Al-Anani, Inside the Muslim Brotherhood: Religion, Identity and Politics, (Beirut, Arab Network for Research and Publishing, 2018), pp. 77-80.

[5] Alberto Meluci, changing codes: Collective Action in the Informative Age (Cambridge University Press, 1996) cited in Khalil al-Inani, Ibid, p.71.

[6] Dina Al Raffie, Social Identity Theory for Investigating Islamic Extremism in the Diaspora,

in Journal of Strategic Security, Nb.4, Vol.6, Winter 2013.  https://bit.ly/3r1xPBe, P.76-77.

[7] Numerous writings dealt with the issue of identity in Islamic societies and the conflicts that have emerged around it between the different intellectual currents since the beginning of the twentieth century, for more insights on the topic: see:

Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the liberal Age, 1798-1939 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 138-144.

– Dr. Muhammad Emara, “The Meaning of Arab Nationalism,” Free Arab Voice website, 20/9/2010, at the link: http://www.freearabvoice.org/?page_id=606

– Tariq Othman, “The Tragedy of Political Islam: A Century of Experiences with Modernity,” the quarterly magazine of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, at the link: https://bit.ly/2z57mOs

[8]  Ziad Munson, ISLAMIC MOBILIZATION: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 42, No (4), January 2002. p.24.

[9] Hassan Al-Banna, Collection of Messages, Part 1, (Beirut, The Quran House, 1984) p.171

[10] Ahmed Hussein Hassan, Islamic political groups and civil society: a study in the strategy of building political and social influence and intellectual penetration, 1st Edition (Cairo: The Cultural House for Publishing, 2000), p. 188.

[11] Hassan Al-Banna, Memoirs of the Dawah and the Preacher (Cairo: Islamic Publishing and Distribution House, 1986), p. 253

[12] Keddie N, Islamic Revival in the Middle East: A comparison of Iran and Egypt, In: Smith D, Frasous K (eds) Arab Society: Continuity and change) London: Croom Helm, 1985(, P. 68

[13] Trends Center for Research and Consulting, The Organizational Structure of the Muslim Brotherhood: Objectives, Functions, and Processes, (Abu Dhabi, Trends Center for Research and Consulting, 2020) pp. 227-231

[14] Khalil Al-Anani, previous reference, p166

[15] Previous reference, p41

[16] Ziad Munson, Op. Cit, pp.17-24.

[17] Ibid. p.25.

[18] “The Muslim Brotherhood in the Mubarak Era: From Truce to Confrontation”, Brothers Wiki website, at the link https://bit.ly/2o6EQGb

[19] Barbara Zollner, Surviving Repression: How Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Has Carried On, Carnegie Middle East Center, MARCH 11, 2019, https://bit.ly/3bTy9Oc

[20] Ibid

[21] For more details, you can see: Muhammad Habib, Memories of Dr. Muhammad Habib: On life, Dawah, politics and thought (Cairo, Dar Al-Shorouk, 2012)

[22] Khalil Al Anani, Ibid, p109

[23] Ibid

[24] Michells Richard, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). p.183.

[25] Ziad Munson, op.cit. p.23.

[26] Khalil Al Anani, Ibid, 149

[27] Ziad Munson, Ibid. p.10-14

[28] Diane Singerman, “The Networked World of Islamist Social Movements”, in: Quintan wiktorowicz (ed)

Islamic Activism. A social Movement Theory (Indiana, Indiana University Press, 2004) p.155.

[29] Quintan Wiktorowicz, “The New Global Threat: Transnational Salafis and Jihad.” Middle East Policy, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2001, p15.

[30] Barbara Zollner, op.cit.

[31] According to Article 2 of the first law of the Muslim Brotherhood Association issued in Ismailia in 1930, the association has no interest in political work, as this article says: “This association is not exposed to political affairs of whatever nature they are”. See: The Brotherhood’s Association law issued in their official encyclopedia. At the link http://goo.gl/Dla0Oj

[32] Ammar Fayed, Will the elimination of the Brotherhood’s social activities in Egypt push the group to violence? Brookings Institution website, March 23, 2016, https://brook.gs/3cGlIV9

[33] Ibid

[34] For more information, see: Ahmed Hussein Hassan, previous reference, pp. 210-213

[35] Amar Fayed, Ibid

[36] Rifaat Al-Saeed, Hassan Al-Banna When, how and why? Edition No. 10 (Damascus, Dar al-Tali’a al-Jadidah, 1997) p. 112

[37] Amar Fayed, Ibid

[38] Zidane Meribout, The Arab Spring, the Weight of the Muslim Brotherhood – Their Vision of the State and Islamic Finance, translated by Bou Bakr Boukhresa, April 2013, at the link: https://bit.ly/3aDGna5

[39] Harmsen, Egbert, Islam, Civil Society and Social Work: Muslim Voluntary Welfare Associations in Jordan between Patronage and Empowerment. (ISIM Dissertations). Amsterdam: Amsterdam Univ. Press. https://nbn-resolving.org. p.53

[40] Ibid, p53

[41] Harmsen, Egbert, Op. cit. P 255.

[42] Hasan Al Bannah, Ibid, p44

[43] For more insight into the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood’s economy, see

– Trends Center for Research and Consulting, Economic Construction of the Muslim Brotherhood, (Abu Dhabi, Trends Center for Research and Consulting, 2020).

– Abd al-Khaliq Farouk, The Economies of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the World: A Preliminary Attempt to Estimate, (Cairo, Egyptian General Book Authority, 2014)

[44] Kuran, Timur., “The discontents of Islamic economic morality”, The American Economic Review; May 1996; Vol 86, No 2; ProQuest Research Library May 1989, P.438, https://bit.ly/3c2ypKF

[45] Trends Center for Research and Consulting, The Economic Construction of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibid, pg. 37

[46] Ibid, p37-38

[47] Khalil Al Anani, Ibid, p179

[48] Ibid, p179

[49] Halliday, M. A. K, Anti-Languages, American Anthropologist, New Series, 1976, Vol. 78, No. 3, https://bit.ly/2QtKD6Y

[50] Munir Adeeb, “The Brotherhood’s Ghetto… When an Ideological Organization turns into a Biological Organization”, Raseef 21, July 20, 2018, at the link: https://bit.ly/2ycCDyA

[51] Tewfik Aclimandos, The Brothers: Gnostic Reformers of Islam, Oasis center, 23/10/2018, https://bit.ly/2VB83r1

[52] Khalil al-Anani, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood faces a dilemma: Religion or politics? The Washington Post, June 20, 2016,  https://wapo.st/3cTQXKY

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