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The Role of Muslim Brotherhood in Arab Countries

posted on: Jul 16, 2020

Muslim Brotherhood

BY: Arab America contributing writer

Who is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most prominent revivalist organizations connected to political Islam. This organization advocates in favor of a universal Islamic system that aims to implement Islamic law. Regards political concepts and morals through the knowledge of the religion and its teachings. In essence, Al-Banna believed that the biggest threat to Islam was the rise of secularism. And the implementation of Western culture in Muslim societies.

This group has grown into the largest opposition group in Egypt. It has gained most of its support from middle-class sectors in Egypt. The organization dates back to 1928 in Ismailia, Egypt, where its founder Hassan Al-Banna taught. Al-Banna’s extensive background and life-long experience in moral behavior and religious affairs had led him to teach at a primary school in the city of Ismailia. Teaching close to the Suez Canal zone in the late 1920s, Al-Banna experienced a first-hand understanding of the insignificant perception and mistreatment of Muslims and Arabs


Al-Banna preached in local mosques, and cafe’s on the importance and needs for “Islamic renewal” and sharia. This stemmed from the underlying ideologies and development of the Muslim Brotherhood. Six Egyptian workers from a British labor force camp visited Al-Banna and complained of the lack of dignity and standing of Muslims. They agreed with Al-Banna’s perception of establishing an Islamic state and suggested that he should be the leader. This marks the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood as a means to provide a solution and guidance towards the construction of humanity and its growth. Moreover, this renewal ultimately aimed to use Islamic ideologies to build a basic foundation for politics by critically accessing political concepts through the knowledge of the teaching of Islam.

The Goals of Muslim brotherhood

The objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood are based on a foundation of an Islamic order. That sets basic moral and ethical standards for the states and government to abide by. Al-Banna’s vision for the organization was to reform the western-influenced political systems in Arab societies and shift to promote Islamic laws and policies. In the early 1920s, the Brotherhood leaders were committed to building Islamic societies, which naturally caused disruption in Western countries. The Western world was puzzled by the situation.

And whether the organization was doing this as a means of a dangerous tactic or simply a new political scene. This shines a light on the organization’s Sunni Islamist based ideology that Islam is not only religious practice. But a doctrine that plays a significant role in the structure of man, and serves as intellectual guidance in all aspects of society. Ultimately, the goal was to embed Islamic teachings into the political climate.

Role in Arab Society

The Muslim Brotherhood, as a political organization, initially functioned as a welfare society revolving around religious and educational programs. The organization started off working to establish mosques, Islamic schools, and necessary social services for the poor in Arab countries. The organization has historically supported a variety of programs that have targeted education and health for the lower-class Muslim population. Through these programs, the Muslim Brotherhood was able to grow and shift into a developing a political outlook in the 1930s. Initially, the group and its followers were interested in liberating from British control. In its early years, the organization began to protest against the Egyptian government. And played a prominent role in fighting against the British occupation. The early 1940s set a particularly negative view on the organization as they were linked to several acts of violence, bombings, and alleged assassinations.  

Impact on Egyptian Government

Eventually, the Egyptian government attempted to ban the organization. And in response, a member of the Brotherhood assassinated Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi. Soon after this, Hasan Al-Banna was killed, seemingly as retaliation from the government. This highlights the significant change of the Muslim Brotherhood. The organization shifted from initially being an active participant. In the Egyptian nationalist movement to being banned by the government and having no choice but to continue operations underground. The ideology itself has also shifted back and forth from being a revivalist-minded group to an armed group. Although the relationship with the group and the government was not too strong during the rule of Nasir. Things did begin to improve around 1970 during Sadat’s power. In fact, Sadat even removed some of the restraints that were implemented. During Nasir’s ruling and released many of the organization members from prison.  

Growth and Development

The growth of the Muslim Brotherhood has served a social and political impact on the Middle East that only a few other organizations can compare to. The group has helped to bring social justice and political freedom to the world of politics. Although the group was banned in Egypt, the branches of the organization are represented in more than 70 countries. Including the Middle East, the United States, and regions of Africa. In terms of political influence, the Muslim Brothers are not presented by the United States Foreign Terrorist Organizations. This ultimately opens doors to political communication between the U.S. and the members of the organization.


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