The Obama administration took the rare step Thursday of correcting its own intelligence chief after the official claimed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular."
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper discussed the Islamist group during a hearing on Capitol Hill earlier Thursday. He testified that the organization has "pursued social ends" and a "betterment of the political order," and downplayed its religious underpinnings.
"The term 'Muslim Brotherhood' ... is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam," Clapper said. But the DNI later issued a statement to "clarify" that claim.
"To clarify Director Clapper's point, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak's rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation. He is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization," DNI spokesperson Jamie Smith said.
While the Brotherhood has renounced violence, one of its goals is to pursue the creation of an Islamic state. The CIA's own website lists the Brotherhood as a "religious-based" party.
Clapper's claim quickly drew scrutiny on Capitol Hill, even before his office walked back the statement. "I am concerned that the DNI's assessment does not agree with recent public statements by senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood nor does it agree with the organization's publicly stated goals," Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said in a written statement, describing the group as "radical." "They're as secular as Billy Graham and the pope are secular," former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said.
The Clapper remark came amid new developments in Egypt. Some expected President Hosni Mubarak to step down in the face of massive protests, but he instead announced that while he was transferring some authority to his vice president he would remain in power until elections in September.
Regardless, a number of U.S. officials have expressed concern about the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is officially outlawed under Mubarak, seizing political power in the state.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the United States should facilitate a "post-Mubarak transition in order to avert further violence and restore calm." As part of that, she said the United States should "guard against the use of the transition process by nefarious elements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to directly or indirectly undermine Egypt's evolution to a democratic republic."
This isn't the first time Clapper has stumbled on the public stage.
During a televised interview in December alongside other top security officials, Clapper was stumped when asked about a major set of terror arrests in Great Britain.
The White House later acknowledged that Clapper had not yet been briefed about the sweep, while defending him as "the consummate DNI."
by FOX News
What is Muslim Brotherhood?
Since its founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) has profoundly influenced the political life of the Middle East. Its motto is telling: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
The Muslim Brotherhood applied the term jahiliyya to all societies not practicing a government ruled by Sharia, Islamic law. Accordingly, only societies governed by Sharia are recognized as true Muslim societies through their recognition of Allah’s divine Book (Quran) and their dedicated efforts to create a purified Islam polity.
The Brotherhood argued that it is every Muslim’s duty to fight for the establishment of a true Islamic State, and in doing so they accept and live by Sharia. Qutb and his followers carried the idea of jahiliyya to a more extremist level and argued that nations not governed by Sharia are open to attack from Sharia practicing Muslims. Terrorist groups, such as Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq justify their attacks on other nations (ex: suicide bombings) by preaching these ideas imbedded in the Brotherhood and Qutb’s philosophies.
Qutb thus provided an ideological frame work based in principles of Islam (jahiliyya and jihad) with which Muslims could fight an unjust government.
For Hassan al-Banna jihad represented each Muslim's duty to Allah to follow Islamic law even when it is difficult to do so. Jihad offers a manner in which Muslims can prove their loyalty to Allah by not backing away from their beliefs even when hostilely confronted about them. Al-Banna witnessed how Muslims had abandoned Jihad, a prominent practice of Islam. Therefore, al-Banna called for a return to militant jihad and he stressed its importance by switching from teaching the traditional schooling of Islam to its young members, in favor of educating them in religion and physical education in order to prepare them for a jihad: a system of training called jihadia (Hiro 61; Spears). According to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology, those who abstain from jihad will be dishonored and punished by Allah in death.
The Brotherhood, also, revived and reinstated the Islamic doctrine of Martyrdom. Al-Banna said that muslims should “learn the art of death” and they should “deliberately and purposefully plan how hard to make their deaths count for the cause of Islam” (Brown 215).
Thursday, February 10, 2011
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -