1992 Kansas City ISNA Convention promotes Muslim Brotherhood (VIDEO)

Posted on March 21, 2018


After watching the 1992 ISNA Islamic Society of North America convention video above from Kansas City, I read the following article. from Dr. Andrew Bostom. This is an eye opening combination for anyone who is wanting to learn more about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Robin Fedden’s Syria: An Historical Appreciation (London, 1947, pp.221-222) captured the combined effects of  the “terrifying power” of zealous Islamic communalism, and class hierarchy — “faith and feudalism” — so evident during his mid-1940s visit to Hamah:

Islam colours its temper, and there can be few places outside the Holy Cities of Arabia where the Faith has remained so aggressive and fanatic. As in the eighteenth century, the Muslim is ipso facto the master and the Christian dog exists on sufferance. As for Jews, not one is allowed in the town. [emphases added] Faith prohibits the sale of alcoholic drinks in hotels and public places … All the women are veiled with the greatest strictness … Even the Syrian Christians adopt a protective mimicry, veiling their women and assuming a Muslim pose whenever they can, while the sisters of the Sacré Coeur are obliged to tuck their crucifixes out of sight when they go abroad. The mosques are always crowded at prayer time and the movement of the suks seems to overflow into them spontaneously. Faith intrudes even on merchandising … There are times when the intensity of the town’s belief seems to excuse all that it involves of intolerance and prejudice.

The Great Mosque … is the focus of Hama’s life. It is built upon the site of an earlier Byzantine basilica [church]. The carved lintel and capitals of what was once presumably the west door of the church are particularly fine … That even such stone reminiscences should remain is recognizably fortuitous where the tide of Islam runs so strongly and so deep. These stones are merely debris, incorporated into a now Muslim wall, and its at Hama that the stranger understands better than elsewhere in the country what must have been the initial force which overspread half the Byzantine Empire and submerged all ancient Syria. The terrifying power of belief, and the absolute demands it makes upon passions and energies, good or bad, remain very evident in this lovely and aggressive pocket in the plains. It is the spirit of the Islamic past that moves in the narrow streets…

In such a setting of faith and feudalism it is not surprising that the population should be notoriously farouche [sullen; recalcitrant], hostile not only to the European, but even to the neighbouring inhabitants of Homs, and indeed to all ideas and persons unfamiliar. Their mood is expressed in sudden violences and rash riots … Prior to 1932 disturbances closed the Hama suks twenty-one times in three years, and the same sporadic unpredictable outbreaks still occur. It is a place of fanatical certainties and uncertain passions which it is difficult for the western mind to comprehend.

Richard Mitchell’s seminal analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s advent, and formative initial quarter century, concludes that by its fifth general conference (in 1939), the Brotherhood had produced an ideology based on three traditionalist, “insistent” Islamic pillars:

(1) Islam as a total system, complete unto itself, and the final arbiter of life in all its categories; (2) an Islam formulated from and based on its two primary sources, the revelation in the Qur’an and the wisdom of the Prophet in the Sunna; and (3) an Islam applicable to all times and all places.

Mitchell adds that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna defined the movement’s scope within this framework as “a Salafiyya message, a Sunni way, a Sufi truth, a political organization, an athletic group, a cultural-educational union, an economic company, and a social idea.”

Hama came to embody the “Salafi-Sufi” synthesis in harmony with al-Banna’s vision, due to the efforts of Sheikh Muhammad al-Hamid (1910-1969), a (Naqshbandi) Sufi adept, and founding member of Hama’s Muslim Brotherhood branch. Al-Hamid was educated at Al-Azhar University in Egypt where he first met his fellow student and eventual founder of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian affiliate, Mustafa al-Sibai. A close associate of Hasan al-Banna, al-Hamid committedhimself to political activity following his return to Hama in 1942, taking an active part in fomenting the jihad against the French via sermons delivered from the minbar of Hama’s Sultan mosque. (He personally hung the flag of independence on the barracks of the jihadist garrison in Hama upon victory). Shortly afterward, consumed by the jihad against the Jews of Palestine, al-Hamid devoted many sermons to the matter, arguing the only solution was the Jews’ forcible removal. (Urgent appeals from local ulama [Muslim religious leaders] to remain in Hama prevented him from joining the battle.)

Said Hawwa, the Hama Muslim Brotherhood ideological leader, renowned for his struggles against the Syrian Baathists, acknowledged al-Hamid’s earlier profound contribution to Hama’s post-independence Brotherhood environment:

[Sheikh al-Hamid] molded his town Hamah in such a way that he made it capable of every good. From here there emerged in Hamah a generation that is an example of how the people all over the Muslim world should be … [H]e educated his brothers to adhere to the Scriptures, to respect the religious scholars and the jurists, and to follow the Sufis while adhering to the Scriptures and to the precepts of the Law. He educated his brothers to love Hasan al-Banna, to love the Muslim Brothers, and to love all Muslims …

The Muslim Brotherhood formed the core of the opposition to secular and socialist Baath party rule of Syria, beginning in 1963. Syrian ulama and the Muslim Brotherhood rejected even the somewhat more permissive and pragmatic rule of Hafiz al-Assad, starting in 1970, given that he was from Syria’s minority non-Sunni, heterodox Muslim Alawite community. Not surprisingly, Hama was the hub of the Muslim Brotherhood opposition to the Baath, which intensified under Hafiz al-Assad’s reign during the latter half of the 1970s, culminating in the mass uprising of 1982, and its brutal, murderous suppression.  Pace Farouk Tayfour’s recent bowdlerized appraisal during a January, 2012 interview with Al-Hayat, the Muslim Brotherhood bears responsibility for precipitating the catastrophic events that concluded with the disproportionate, wantonly destructive, and bloody carnage Hafiz al-Assad’s regime wrought upon Hama in 1982.

David Kenner published a re-capitulation of the events leading to the 1982 Hama uprising on the thirtieth anniversary of their convulsive resolution. Kenner’s essay opens with this chilling anecdote:

It was a massacre. On June 16, 1979, Capt. Ibrahim Yusuf ordered some 200 cadets at the Aleppo Artillery School to attend an urgent meeting in the mess hall. Once they were assembled, he opened the door to a squad of gunmen who opened fire on the defenseless crowd. At least 32 cadets, most belonging to then President Hafez al-Assad’s Alawite sect, were cut down in the hail of gunfire and grenades.

Kenner acknowledges that opposition to the Hafiz al-Assad regime was expressed by non-violent means as well, and the Syrian military engaged in violence “that far exceeded anything that the Sunni insurgents could muster.” However, Kenner also argues that the Muslim Brotherhood-animated Sunni revolt created “sharp and unbridgeable sectarian rifts” stressing the Alawite-led Syrian regime to the point where it was “virtually impossible for the Alawite ruling class to do anything but fight to the death.”

Escalating their terror campaign in Damascus during 1981 — a response to Assad’s bloody reprisal (i.e., gunning down at least 500 Muslim Brotherhood jihadists imprisoned in Tadmor prison) for a failed assassination attempt against him — Kenner notes:

… they [the Muslim Brotherhood Sunni insurgents] bombed the prime minister’s office in August, the Air Force headquarters in September, and a military recruitment center in November. In February 1982, the “Islamic Revolution Command in Syria” claimed credit for bombing the Damascus offices of the regime’s al-Baath newspaper, killing at least 76 people. “It was a great accomplishment to be added to the series of tremendous explosions carried out by the mujahidin,” the statement read. “We draw attention to the fact that all the Syrian information media are nationalized and that the explosion was timed for all the authority’s hirelings to be present.”

The Assad regime’s final crushing assault on Hama took place after the city rose in open revolt during February 1982, punctuated by a Muslim Brotherhood jihad terror attack:

During the night of 2-3 February 1982, a group of 150-200 armed men moved into Hamah under the command of Umar Jawad, local head of the organization of the Brothers, better known by the name of Abu Bakr [the first “Rightly Guided” Caliph of Islam]. The watchword was to attack the main political officials affiliated to the government, including cadres of the Baath Party, senior administrators and military heads. Exactions were committed by members of the commando and reference has been made to a dozen Baath cadres assassinated in their homes with their wives and children. In addition, the liquidation of clerics who had publicly condemned the crimes of the Tali a al-muqatila (fighting vanguard), the armed wing of the Muslim Brothers in Syria, was reported. In all, 90 people were killed. The high command of the Muslim Brotherhood declared in a communiqué that Hamah was regarded as a liberated city and urged the population to rise up against the infidels.

Although the press office of the Muslim Brotherhood insisted that in the fighting which occurred between February 2 and 22, 1982, the Syrian regime’s armed forces lost 3,412 men, while a further 5,000 were wounded, the final confrontation between Assad’s Brotherhood opponents and over 10,000 well-equipped Syrian security forces, was, as Kenner observes, “a battle the Sunni insurgents could not hope to win.” According to an Amnesty International inquiry from November, 1983  the Hama massacre, claimed the lives of anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 Syrians. Kenner notes, that while the massacre, “may have permanently stained the reputation of the Assad dynasty in the eyes of the world,” he concludes appositely:

 … it also crushed the organized Islamist insurgency in Syria and paved the way for three more decades of relatively unchallenged rule by the Assads.

Posted in: Political Islam