The international organization is of primary importance to the Muslim Brotherhood Group (MBG), not only because it plays the role of the group’s external arm, but also because it is one of its main sources of funding. The international organization also manages the group’s financial and business networks. The organization owns many media arms in European countries that facilitate its influence on international public opinion, in a manner that serves the group’s goals and its political project.
The International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is not limited to its branches in Arab, Islamic and Western countries, as it also includes some currents of political Islam that are in harmony with its vision, goal and ideology as well, such as the Da’wa and Reform Group in Iran.
The intellectual and religious foundations behind the establishment of the international organization, whether those related to the universality of the Da’wa, the professorship of the world, or the revival of the Islamic caliphate, reflect a superior view and a misinterpretation of the concept of Islamic religion, which rejects the idea of hegemony over the world in the name of religion. The organization’s principles also contradict the modern concept of the national state, which exalts the value of citizenship and the preservation of national sovereignty. The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and the philosophy of the international organization do not recognise geographical borders, and views the entire world as home to the transcontinental state of the Brotherhood.
At a time when the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to unify and coordinate positions with its sub-organizations, the reality indicates otherwise; many differences and divisions have transpired within the organization, especially that it turns a blind eye to the uniqueness of each country where the sub-organizations are located, it ignores them, and it takes up positions that contradict their national interests. A sound example would be the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd, 1990, when the international organization sided with Iraq, which at that time prompted the Kuwaiti Brotherhood to split from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The structure of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is not very different from the main structure of the Muslim Brotherhood group. There is a clear similarity between the organizational and administrative units on both sides, especially with regard to the central institutions affiliated with the organization, which include the General Guide of the International Organization, the General Guidance Office for the International Organization, and the general Shura Council for the International Organization, which manages the duties of the international organization of the group, and coordinates between its various branches. Still, what distinguishes the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is that there are several political, religious, media and intellectual organizations unofficially affiliated with it. For example, the International Union of Muslim Scholars and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe are two such groups that carry out missions that serve the aims and the political and religious project of the group. Although these organizations are not mentioned in the Special Regulations of the international organization, they embrace the organization’s position on many issues.
The GCC countries gain particular interest for the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood for several considerations, including financial funding and the ease of spreading the ideas of the Brotherhood among gulf societies, given that in the 1970s and the 1980s, the Brotherhood organizations in these states dominated educational, religious and cultural institutions, which take care of educating individuals – particularly the young generation -,educating them, and shaping their awareness. However, with the beginning of the new millennium, most of the Gulf states came to realize the danger of the Brotherhood organizations, took measures to confront them and worked towards drying up their resources and limiting their activities, whether through dissolving the group, banning their activities, or classifying them as terrorist organizations.
Although the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood bragged about having branches in many Arab countries and about its ability to coordinate among them, its continuous attempts to prioritise the interest of the mother group over these branches, and failing to take into account the uniqueness of the countries in which they are located have led to increased criticism of the way the international organization has been managed. Many questions came to the fore, for example: Why is the post of the General Guide limited to the Egyptian Brotherhood and not internationalised? Later, these criticisms developed into the detachment of many Brotherhood sub-groups from the mother group, or the international organization.
While the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood has been suffering since the revolution of 30th June, 2013, in the Arab Republic of Egypt, from an unprecedented state of weakness that made it unable to control other Brotherhood organizations in several countries around the globe and to temporarily abandon the global aims that it sought to achieve, it started to embrace a new strategy that aims to contain the pressure and the restrictions on the group, and to focus on its presence in the countries that provided the organization with safe havens to continue its activities through which it advocates the organization and promote its ideologies.