Fall of Humanity Mask from Islamic Relief Organization

Summary:

Between the MB’s attempt to appear civilized and open and the previous methodology, their coups continue and the curtain of openness does not last long, whether in their countries and their support for extremism and  mono-sect, or in European countries. The most prominent example of the falsehood of their claim is the Islamic Relief Organization, which was founded by Hani Al-Banna in Britain in 1984, and it was the first association to receive British government funding, as a result of its humanitarian activities. But recent reviews of the organization’s activity have shown that it promotes extremist preachers. The Middle East Forum, a think-tank in Philadelphia, has released a report that extensively examines the activities of Islamic Relief: its affiliates, its ties to the MB, Hamas, the extremism of its officials, its promotion of hate preachers against both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims, and the speech of its members that considers the other an infidel and incites a culture of hatred

This study attempts to clarify the foregoing through the following axes:

  • Introduction: Religious Freedom
  • Countries of the Islamic world: minorities between religion and politics
  • The Islamic State and minorities (the Yazidis as an example)
  • The MB: establishment and the touchstone of minorities
  • The MB and the curtain of openness
  • The MB, Humanitarian Relief (False Slogan)
  • Conclusion

Introduction: Religious Freedom

Among the problems that were established because of religion in the ancient empires, ideas and laws developed to reach the guarantee of human rights and religious freedom, and their bearers was theologians. From Martin Luther and his overtake of Rome and his call for religious freedom in an open letter to the Christian nobles” (1520), his recognition of the right of every believer to rule himself and his objection to compulsion to profess religious beliefs, to the French theologian Sebastien Castellio and his criticism of Calvin’s death sentence against Servetus in the year (1553) (1). The theologians, before other thinkers and philosophers such as John Locke, Spinoza, Pierre Bayle, and Voltaire, provided a foundation for the religious freedom’s concept, the possibility of rationalizing religion, a path out of the imposition of religious conformity and the persecution of every different religious opposition. (2)

However, this path was only consolidated after catastrophic wars and thanks to the arguments and response of philosophers and political theorists, who argued about religious belief and claims of religious right that lead to the persecution of others, and that true faith is not based on coercion and restricting the freedom of minorities, to become an integral part of Western political institutions After the American and French Revolution.

After the variables constituted a motive to move away from the past of empires to the present of states, and in some way established the state of modern disparity between East and West, the history of empires that was disposed of in the West still represents nostalgia for some members of the Islamic world, the majority of Islamic religious organizations, and Islamic religious fundamentalisms which represents the embodiment of a past tendency that was not prompted by the events of social and political transformations in the world as a whole, the establishment of states and the different foundations of regularity to abandon their past, in which nostalgia for the past is mixed with the standard of strength that Islamic fundamentalisms seeks.

This is reinforced by the existence of countries that have not resolved their matter towards modernity and the establishment of rights for all, to make a mixture of religion and the state, which is fueled by the stagnation of religious thought in general and its lack of conception of God, the universe and human life in a rational manner.

Islamic Countries: Minorities between religion and politics

The West achievements centuries ago and the rules contained in the international law for Human Rights did not constitute humanitarian law in all the countries. The Arab States that have ratified it as a charter are still avoiding putting them into force.

Most Arab countries make religion an official belief for society and the state together, knowing that most of them live ethnologically and religiously diverse; The presence of other minorities did not prevent the political authority from using the religious field and controlling it in the service of its political goals and

objectives, by siding with a particular religious ideological trend against other religious streams.

These countries, even those that claimed secularism, such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq, are still unable to perform their role without relying on religious institutions to carry out administrative tasks and provide public benefits. These religious institutions such as churches and monasteries in Europe, mosques and endowments in Islamic countries, were a key players at times of ancient empires, they provided education, helped the needy (3). However, building such institutions and entities in Arab and Islamic states is a thorny issue for both political and religious authority, as is the recognition of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

In general, the Islamic Arab countries have not resolved matters which help in building states that recognize human rights and respect for human beliefs. The issue of religious affiliation has remained part of building Arab and Islamic states as a value that has an impact on the stability of the social fabric and on the social and political scene that is expressed in the activity of extremist religious groups and associations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Accordingly, the situation of religious minorities in some countries remains a critical issue, and they are constantly subjected to exclusion and persecution by both the state and society. Thus, “the others” who are is religiously different, remain reluctant to express their right to religious freedom and right to their belief in the state of peace, and will always fear being subject to the most severe punishments because of their belief in a crisis state.

The Islamic State and minorities; Yazidis as Paradigm

Despite the many paradoxes between what the Islamic religion approves of tolerance with other religions and what is being practiced on the ground in some Islamic countries, the biggest paradox came with the chaos that pervaded the Middle Eastern countries after the Arab Spring, where the most extreme and strict models for Muslims appeared.

The building the “Islamic State” ISIS in Iraq and Syria, was a reality that cannot be overlooked, especially in terms of dealing with people of different religions. Regularity in accordance with religion requires restoration of the legal and legislative pillars derived from religions on the rules of identity, through different treatment of individuals according to their legal status or religion. The rules of identity were the prevailing criterion for ensuring the cohesion of the political system by religion in the ancient empires, as well as in its intellectual remnants carried by extremist organizations, and their various generations leading to ISIS. ISIS that applies all the Sharia rules such as: the penal system or the so-called limits of Islamic Sharia, namely the punishment for theft, adultery, slander, drinking alcohol, prostitution, apostasy etc. Given that the punishment prescribed for these crimes is the right of God, and necessitated by the public interest, and neither the individual victim nor the group executing the punishment has the right to change it. (4)

In addition to that, imposing tribute on the non-Muslims, which according to many heritage books, the tribute is a tax paid by non-Muslims who are considered as inferiors in the Islamic State so they pay tribute to be protected. (5)

With the developments of history, the problem of religious texts and the flaws of historical accumulation has become crystallized, to present the most blatant picture of abuse and the permissibility of the existence of those from different religions, especially those who were not treated fairly by an explicit religious text such as Jews, Christians and Sabeans. Those were not saved by the verses of tolerance or the existence of religion as a regulator of people’s acquaintance. Religious fundamentalisms recognize rules and legislation and use verses that serve their existence and interests.

Accordingly, ISIS took from the Qur’an fragment verses that serve the idea of jihad, to determine the fate of the others. The ISIS organization was very hostile to the Yazidi minority, and considers its members as “infidels.” At the times of ISIS, the history of slavery, and captivity was restored (6). It was not forbidden by the Islamic religion, but rather legalized for the permissibility of owning slaves and female slaves through purchase or captivity in wars or as payment of debts. Muftis and jurists neglected to address the reasons for permissibility of slavery and classifying it as exclusively belonging to that date, and forbidding it in our days, but they rather admitted it since “Islam is valid for every time and place.”

In this way, we can attribute what was practiced against the Yezidis to what the religion permitted in dealing with women in the event of their captivity in wars, “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess” (An-Nisa, 24). The Qur’an also recommends that whoever is financially unable to marry free women, he can wed female slaves: “If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess” (An-Nisa 25).

The shock caused by ISIS in treating the Yazidi women, the strong denunciation by most Muslims of the organization’s actions, and the increase in the argument that ISIS is made by Western “American” hands (7) did not deter ISIS from its inhuman and immoral practices against the Yazidi women. ISIS was not criminalized, even though there are many verses on freeing slaves as penance. Which highlights the crisis of the religious text, and its contradiction with the interest of religion and mankind. Failure to criminalize and prohibit these practices will make their repetition possible. Especially since the laws of Human Rights had no significant impact on the organization’s affiliates, whether they were from the Arab Islamic countries, or the Western countries, and more than this, the Yezidis still fear a future without justice. (8)

And if ISIS delt with minorities in the most blatant way, it was not the only one. The ideology that ISIS carried has its source and legislators, as do all organizations that are considered affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB’s womb gave birth to “Al-Qaeda,” and from it emerged “ISIS” and other local and regional terrorist organizations in the Arab region, Africa and the rest of the world. (9)

MB: Establishment and Touchstone of Minorities

In 1928, the MB was founded by Hassan al-Banna, as a result of the activity of religious charities under the auspices of the colonial countries, but it was not like other associations that were founded at the time, such as: the Sharia Association, Ansar al-Sunna, Muslim youth, Jewish youth, and the charitable projects in Lebanon. The majority of these associations were established to satisfy a religious community that sees religiosity as its primary means of doing good, and that resisting the occupation of these associations should have been combated by the community with all its might. All of these associations have no effect except the MB, which formed branches in Kuwait and Syria, and received wide support and attracted many supporters.

In the beginning, the MB were representatives of enlightened, popular and elitist Islam, and their position on minorities such as Christians was moderate, as the political authorities at that time were taking a rational position on the minorities. In addition to the MB’s relationship with Britain, where the latter donated 500 pounds to, Hassan al-Banna, the MB’s founder shortly after the group was founded in 1928. By 1941, this group had become so powerful that Britain began providing it with financial aid in exchange for not attack its interests. (10)

In general, all their opponents and critics did not criticize them during al-Banna’s life, but after his death, and they did not shed light on the greatest scientific defect that the group suffers from (imitation and immobility), and their failure to conceptualize God, the universe and things in a rational way. Even if it appeared among them in their first period who calls for religious rationality, the methodology of the MB is based on reviving the thought of Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, who sees the necessity of reconciling religion and reason in words, and emphasizing the necessity of applying Sharia. (11) The intellectual reference on which the MB relies, extending from Ibn Taymiyyah to Abu al-Ala al-Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, is based on major theses regarding political authority and its exercise through the Qur’an and Sharia, as a divine system to which Muslims must submit, and be nurtured by the Khilafah, which remains a strategic goal. (12) As a result, the MB will not depart in their thinking towards religious minorities from the circle of the past, and present a legal structure that simulates the eras of the Islamic empire and the organization of religious minorities in it, even if it is devoid of paying tribute. As far as religion is used as a source of political legitimacy, discriminatory laws based on religion will be generated.

MB Under Cover of Openness

During the period of the Arab Spring, the MB adopted a more calm and tolerant behavior and appeared more determined to get rid of the behavior of Islam developed by the radical takfiri trend, and they are trying, in their own way, to open up and accept participation in the democratic game, with the aim of integrating their movement into the institutions of secular states. According to the new doctrine, the seizure of power by the MB must take place in stages and without violence, which allowed their progress in the Egyptian parliament as well as with Hamas in Palestine, the JDP in Morocco and even Ennahda in Tunisia, as embodiments of the MB, in this Logic inspired by proponents of neo-theocracy (or democratic religious authority, according to Mawdudi. (13)

However, this attempt to open up is not without forms of mono-sect, which do not provide minorities with any state of reassurance, especially in religiously, sectarian and ethnically diverse countries. Rather, religion has become part of the tension in many Arab countries, including Syria, in which the activity of the MB and their control of the opposition coalition are not hidden, and their appearance as part of the conflict with other fighting organizations under the name of the Islamic religion, which pushed other minorities in Syria to retreat into the boundaries of their sects.

The situation is not much different, whether the activity of the MB is within Arab Islamic or European countries, and whatever its existence is cultural or charitable, it is a current for the Islamic Da‘wah, and the issue of identity is a pivotal and nourishing issue for the conflict with the other. According to a research paper published by the Trends Center for Research and Consultation, political Islam groups have been active in European countries since the 1960s. Among them is the MB which expanded by following a long-term strategy developed by ,Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the movement so that the MB was the first to establish Islamic cultural centers and mosques in Europe, as well as to build diverse societies (women, students, workers, etc.), dedicating their services to helping Muslims, in their host countries, and the formation of a mass base of support for the group’s programs and activities inside and outside Europe. Where the MB cooperates in Germany and Syria, while the MB organizations in Britain work with their bases in Iraq and Egypt, and Islamic organizations in France are directly linked to political parties in Algeria and Tunisia. (14)

The work in the Da‘wah was the beginning of a hierarchical organization’s formation with a specific structure, and enabled the MB to establish 500 institutions in 28 European countries, through the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe. The MB’s activity varied according to the time periods experienced by their countries, for example, in the eighties of the twentieth century, they used the European political climate to protest against the Arab and the Turkish regimes, which they consider dictatorial regimes, as well as to criticize the European cultural and moral Western systems that Muslim societies suffer from, and to re-Islamize them.

In the later stages, emphasis was placed on the inclusion of Islamic practice in a non-Islamic context, finding their adaptations as minorities, and focusing on the theory of Islamic citizenship in European countries. Thus, their movement was limited to periods when they felt a threat to the Islamic identity, such as the issue of publishing cartoons of the Prophet, or the issue of the veil in some European countries, trying to appear as a different line from extremist religious currents, and as a partner for European governments in fighting extremism. (15)

But all the efforts to redefine the Islamic situation within the Western context did not lead to doctrinal development, nor did they make it able to fabricate continuously. Some European circles realized the dangers of the MB, and these circles expressed their concern about the group’s activity, and the potential dangers that threaten these countries.

“Our problem with the MB does not lie in the practice of violence, they do not do that in Europe as it happens in some countries in the Middle East, but their danger here lies in their constant work to create an ideological and religious environment that adopts such extremist ideas,” says Lourdes Vidal, Head of the Middle East Studies Unit at the European Institute of the Mediterranean. (16)

Which puts the MB under suspicion in most European countries, without taking strict measures to limit their activity, especially since their public activity is an association activity, which does not violate the laws adopted in Europe, but with their placement under control and preventive measures in most European countries following the terrorist operations that shook Europe.

However, reviews about the history of the MB in some European countries have prompted them to be considered a supportive group for terrorism, such as the British government’s statement after leaving the EU and the comprehensive review to determine the country’s political priorities. (17) Despite this, London remains a safe haven for the global organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, and for its leaders, who hold British citizenship, and the Brotherhood is still on its path and secret agenda to serve their interests, according to the statement of Hazem Saeed, a researcher at the European Center for Countering-Terrorism and Intelligence Studies. (18)

In 2018, the French government also froze the assets of the MB leader, Hani Ramadan, brother of Tariq Ramadan, as part of the fight against terrorist financing, and the funds of his brother, Tariq Ramadan, are under supervision. According to a memorandum from the official Tracvan agency affiliated to the Ministry of Economy and Finance in France and specialized in combating financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing in France, Tariq Ramadan was receiving about 35,000 euros per month from Qatar, in exchange for his services as an advisor to the Qatar Foundation, not to mention exposing the dark side of the personal Tariq Ramadan. (19)

MB Humanitarian Relief, Fales Slogan

Between the MB’s attempt to appear civilized and open and the previous methodology, their coups continue and the curtain of openness does not last long, whether in their countries and their support for extremism and mono-sect, or in European countries. The most prominent example of the falsehood of their claim is the Islamic Relief Organization, which was founded by Hani Al-Banna in Britain in 1984, and it was the first association to receive British government funding, as a result of its humanitarian activities. But recent reviews of the organization’s activity have shown that it promotes extremist preachers. The Middle East Forum, a think-tank in Philadelphia, has released a report that extensively examines the activities of Islamic Relief: its affiliates, its ties to the MB, Hamas, the extremism of its officials, its promotion of hate preachers against both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims, and the speech of its members that considers the other an infidel and incites a culture of hatred. On August 22, 2020, The Times, the British newspaper, confirmed that the Board of Trustees of the International Islamic Relief Organization in Britain submitted a collective resignation, after its members used racist expressions. The Times noted that this is the second time in one month that the global relief organization has faced scrutiny over Facebook comments. (20)

However, it was not long before Hani al-Banna, director and founder of the Islamic Relief Organization, made his statements about the Yazidis and described them as “devil worshippers” during a lecture last September, and the video was published on “Twitter”, showing the MB’s behavior and its intellectual and methodological extremism.

This comment, which shocked the Yazidis who faced genocide at the hands of the terrorist organization “ISIS”, was made by an official in a humanitarian relief organization, which caused it to receive a lot of denunciation by the Yazidis and others. Such as the statement of Ahmed Khedida Barjas, Deputy Executive Director of the Yazidi Aid Society “Yazda”, and David Ibsen’s statement, the Executive Director of the Counter-Extremism Research Center, who considered what Al-Banna said, was “reprehensible”.

Dr. Raqib Ehsan, the researcher at the Henry Jackson Society, considered Al-Banna’s statements as similar to the thought and opinions of ISIS, and Ehsan indicated that they revealed what he described as “scandals and corruption” associated with prominent figures in the International Islamic Relief Organization.

A German parliamentary report at the end of last year revealed the MB’s relationship with financing extremist organizations by exploiting donation money. “The Islamic Relief Organization extends its activities to about 40 countries around the world, and international reports confirm that it is one of the most prominent sources of funding for the MB in the world,” according to what the German News Agency reported. (21)

With the successive criticism, the Islamic Relief Organization in many European countries faced sharp criticism and calls to suspend its funding and stop its activities, as the German Aid Alliance group “Aktion Deutschland Hilft” froze the organization’s membership until December 2021. (22)

Recently, German politicians have filed complaints against the Islamic Relief Organization, confirming its full cooperation with the MB, and calling to stop its activities inside the country. According to the German newspaper “Berliner Morgenpost”, German politicians have demanded urgent answers about the government’s funding of the Islamic Relief charity and its links to the MB. During the last period, the Islamic Relief Organization tried to improve its image, as it worked, according to the newspaper “Die Welt”, to intensify charitable work and carried out many social activities in Germany, but all this did not improve its image. (23)

Although the skillful game played by the MB has lost its usefulness, in the face of the failures that affected their leaders in Europe, it has not led to an alternative line to their downfall so far. The MB’s thought still represents a polarization for many young people in the Islamic world, as a result of the lack of an enlightening trend that contributes to offering acceptable alternatives.

Conclusion

Many centuries ago, Christian theologians contributed to rationalizing religious thought and preventing its assault on the individuals’ faith, in order to establish before other thinkers and philosophers a tolerant thought based on freedom of conscience and thought, prior to the arguments presented by John Locke, Spinoza, Pierre Bayle, and others.

Religious freedom, with its humanitarian symbolism, was not only established in the West as a response to the brutal religious wars, but also because religious thought constantly appeared by fanatics as an instigator of violence and physical and moral aggression.

Despite the advancement of ideas and the transformation of religious freedom into an absolute human value, extremist religious groups that have spread under the name of Islam are still pulling the trigger for violence and Takfir for others, and the catastrophe increases when a humanitarian relief organization resorts to Takfir the others. If the salt spoils, what will it salt?

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  7. ISIS an American MAde! Independent, Friday, 9 August 2019
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  19. European Centre for Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Studies – Germany and Holland – Contemporary Leaders of the organization
  20. Islamic Relief in UK Fueling Racism and Promoting Extremism, European Centre for Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Studies – Germany and the Netherlands, preparation of: Studies and Reports Unit 2 December 2005, 2020
  21. After offending Yazidis, New Wave of Indignation Hits MB in Europe. Excavation, 18/11/2020
  22. New scandal for an MB organization, Statements offending Yazidis, Sky News Arabic 18 November 2020
  23. Due to Connections with MB, German Politicians Call for Cessation of Islamic Relief Organization. 16 January 2021.

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