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Muslim Brotherhood (2)

Description: The image centers on crossed swords with a green Koran between them. The Koran bears the legend, "The Generous Koran." To the right and left of the swords, the Arabic translates as: "The Muslim Brotherhood." The Arabic below the swords says "Be prepared."

Explanation: The swords reinforce the group's militancy and, as traditional weapons, symbolize historic Islam. They also reinforce the group's commitment to jihad. The Koran denotes the group's spiritual foundation. The motto, "Be prepared," is a reference to a Koranic verse that talks of preparing to fight the enemies of God.

Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities

Name Variations

Society of Muslim Brothers, The Brotherhood, Al-Ikhwan


The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, an Egyptian seeking to overthrow Egypt's monarchy, expel western influences and establish an Islamic theocracy. Since its founding, the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamic movement, has pursued these goals through political activity, ideological influence and acts of violence. The group became known for its extensive terrorist operations, including the failed assassination attempt of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. Its activities led to violent crackdowns by the governments of Egypt and Syria; it is banned in those countries.

While forced to limit its violent activity, the Muslim Brotherhood continues to have a large following throughout the Muslim world, where many of its supporters are politically active. The group has influenced many terrorist leaders – including Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri – and many of its members have engaged in terrorist activities.

Focus of Operations

Headquartered in Egypt; satellite groups throughout the Muslim world

Major Attacks

The Muslim Brotherhood no longer openly conducts terrorist operations; it is primarily a political organization that supports terrorism and terrorist causes. Many of its members, however, have engaged in terrorist activities and the group has spawned numerous terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.



The Muslim Brotherhood's theology is based on the doctrine of salafiyya: the belief that present-day Muslims have been corrupted and must return to the pristine form of Islam practiced at the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslim Brotherhood members believe in a radical application of Jihad, which was developed by their ideological leader Sayyid Qutb. Qutb advocated a violent and belligerent approach to the concept of Jihad. This ideology was adopted by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, and Hamas. The group motto is: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." The Muslim Brotherhood aspires to establish a caliphate unifying all the Muslim nations.


Establishing theocracy in Egypt, the Middle East, ultimately worldwide.


Preaching, political agitation and advocating terrorism. The brotherhood participates in elections and attempts to gain influence through the political process. Although it is banned in Egypt, members of the brotherhood have been elected to the legislature there and in Jordan. It also promotes violence against the U.S. and Israel.


Although banned by various governments, the Muslim Brotherhood presence is generally tolerated amongst Middle Eastern countries.

U.S.-Related Activities

A document that has surfaced in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity long suspected of supporting terrorists by funneling money to Hamas and its officials, purports to outline a strategic vision of the future of Islamic work in North America.  The document - An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America - appears to be the work of the Muslim Brotherhood.  It is written by Mohamed Akram (Adlouni), an alleged Muslim Brotherhood official and one of many unindicted coconspirators in the HLF trial. Some observers suggest that this document identifies a conspiracy by the Muslim Brotherhood to convert the United States to an Islamic nation.  Other observers suggest that the document proves how several Islamic organizations are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and are working together to achieve the goals listed in the document.