The New Nasser

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

This is the revolution’s understanding of religions: love, fraternity, equality.
With equality we can create a strong homeland that knows no sectarianism, only patriotism…
We as a government, and I as president, carry responsibility for everyone in this country,
whatever their religion, whatever their origins...
Gamal Abd El Nasser

Nasser’s speech came almost two decades after Egypt’s Free Officers Movement overthrew the monarchy, launching the July Revolution of 1952.
Sixty years later, many have connected the July Revolution with this year’s popular uprising in Egypt, which brought down another failed regime, and launched the January Revolution of 2011.
Some draw parallels between the emphases of both on ‘dignity, freedom, and social justice'.

There has been a determined drive by much of Egypt's  media to present Sisi as an independent, even anti-American, figure, and in this respect here has also been an effort to link him with Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's popular Arab nationalist president of the 50s and 60s.
That is partly because Nasser repressed the Muslim Brotherhood - along with communists.
But it also reflects the fact that Nasser's reputation as a genuinely independent and progressive leader, who stood up to the West and Israel, is still strong in Egypt and across the region.
The two men can be seen together all over central Cairo, on banners, flags and on posters on sale to tourists and locals.

One is moustachioed, square-jawed, with short greying hair and an enigmatic smile; the other is clean-shaven, open-faced, most often in dress uniform, a clutch of medals on his left breast.
The first man is the pan-Arab nationalist former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, hammer of the Muslim Brotherhood, who died in 1970.
The second is General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, head of Egypt’s armed forces and, since the July coup that ousted the Brotherhood-backed President, Mohamed Morsy, the supreme power in the country.
In the coffee shops of Cairo, where political discussions have bounced off peeling walls since Nasser’s death, a vigorous debate is taking place over whether Gen.
Sisi has deliberately risen in the former’s likeness - and what parallels between the two men’s careers may mean for post-revolutionary Egypt.
While General Sisi has pledged stability as a central plank of the military-led government he will shepherd towards elections in nine months’ time, he has also tapped into themes that Nasser used to enshrine his legacy as one of modern Egypt’s most celebrated figures.

Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque - Cairo
Despite the fact that 40 years have passed since his death, whenever there are bad times, people always conjure up Nasser's image.
Sissi has not got the same hold on the Egyptian consciousness - not yet.
In his public appearances since the July 3, 2013 coup, Gen. Sisi has mirrored Nasser’s key messages of nationalism, scepticism of western intentions, Arab dignity and strong leadership.
The latter has been seized on by a broad swath of the public that has struggled in the chaos of the revolution that brought down Hosni Mubarak’s presidency in January 2011.
There is a craving for a strong leader.
Nasser is still revered here, and there is this belief that only a strongman can sort out the mess that is Egypt.

While Nasser was credited in the Middle East as a figure who did much for Arab unity, he was also criticised, in most cases unjustifiably, for leading through a cult of personality and for doing little to develop civil institutions, or advance human rights.
The parallels between him and Gen. Sisi run deep.
Nasser had a background as an officer and became President with military support in 1956, after planning the revolution that had ousted Egypt’s last monarch, King Farouk, four years earlier.
General Sisi also has a revolution under his belt. And, while not currently an elected official, he is being talked about as a presidential candidate after the interim government ends.
A deep nostalgia for Gamal Abdel Nasser is the result of the Egyptian people’s awareness that the Army has embraced the people’s wishes, and made sure that the revolution could take place.
The question remains, however, to what degree can the new system of government fulfil the needs of the people, and will he be able to hold on to his image as a 'saviour'.

It is important here to make a distinction between General Sisi as a person, and the military institution he represents.
He has a good chance to prove himself now, and there is a sense that he represents the Egyptian national identity that the Brotherhood wanted to steal away.
Amr Moussa, Arab League former head and former Foreign Minister, said the groundswell of support for General Sisi drew a distinction between the stances taken by Nasser and his legacy.
It is not just a call for a return to Nasser, but also a return to nationalistic stands and attitudes.
The armed forces embrace these stands, and they are personified through General Sisi.
Ther is, therefor, a resurgence of the Nasserite movement, combined with a yearning for a sense of nationalism and support for the military.
It is unlikely that the armed forces and its chief are interested in playing politics immediately.
Six to nine months of transition in order to approve a constitution, and a return to civilian rule will be the order of the day.
However, even among General Sisi supporters there are those who doubt that he or the military will extricate themselves completely from playing a decisive role in civil affairs after new presidential and parliamentary polls.
And the deadly showdown with the Brotherhood  shows no sign of being conciliated.

The Arab world is now riven by the menace of sectarianism, and the possible  breakup of the region into smaller states.
It's afflicted by polarisation between secularism and Islamism, the wealth and influence of reactionary Gulf autocracies, and the constant military intervention and presence of Western powers.
A  21st-century Nasser, able to straddle the religious and secular camps, could be the unifying force to confront those challenges.
Nasser, the man the Brotherhood wanted to forget, is now very much part of the new Egyptian psyche.
It’s up to General Sisi, however, whether he leads by example, or just basks in the glory of the great Gamal Abd el Nasser.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Egypt in Turmoil - على أحدث أخبار شكل مصر - The Latest News from Egypt

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

17th Aug 2013

Al-Fath Mosque - Cairo
Security forces have stormed a mosque in Cairo to remove supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi who had illegally barricaded themselves inside.
Egyptian security forces surrounded the Al-Fatah mosque, and broke through barricades of furniture pushed up against the doors.
An exchange of gunfire broke out between soldiers and the Muslim Brotherhood holed up inside after hours of peaceful negotiation failed to reach a resolution (proving that Muslim brotherhood protesters are armed, and not 'peaceful protesters', as the Brotherhood repeatedly maintains)
Local television footage showed gunmen firing from inside, moments after tear gas canisters were reportedly fired into the mosque prayer room.
Protesters had refused to leave the premises, fearful that they would attacked by enraged local residents.
The Muslim Brotherhood staged a number of marches in various Governorates throughout Egypt, including Tanta, Fayoum, Port Said, Alexandria, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Al-Arish, and Minya, attacking goverment and security buildings.
In all cases local residents co-operated with police and security forces in beating back the rioters.
It appears that the average citizen in Egypt is losing patience with the Brotherhood looters and rioters, realising that the continuation of civil unrest is destroying the already weakened economy.
Forty Christian Churches have been looted and 'torched', and twenty three have been badly damaged by the Muslim Brotherhood since the start of recent demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the interim government announced that it was considering 'dissolving' the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Fath Mosque - Cairo 

A large Islamic complex on an area of 2000 square meters , which can accommodate 5000 worshippers.
Its minaret is 130 m high . It includes : a main library another one for rare islamic manuscripts, lecture halls, , an Islamic museum and an outpatient clinic.

19 Aug 2013

The head of Egypt's armed forces has said that his message to the supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi is that "there is room for everyone".
Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi urged them to help "rebuild the democratic path" and "integrate in the political process".
But he also warned the military would not be silent in the face of violence.
Later, at least 36 detained members of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed when they tried to escape during their transfer to a prison outside Cairo.
Initially, the interior ministry said they died in an exchange of fire after some of them took a military officer hostage and the convoy of prison vehicles, transporting a total of 612 detainees to Abu Zaabal prison in Qalyubia province, was attacked by unidentified gunmen.
But later the ministry said the prisoners died from the effects of inhaling tear gas, which was fired when the escaping detainees took a police officer hostage.
He was freed, but was badly injured, it added.
The interior ministry separately said so-called "people's committees", which have been set up by residents of some areas to provide security, would be banned because some had been used for vigilante activities.
Meanwhile it was reported that 79 people were killed and 549 wounded in violence across the country on Saturday.
That raised the nationwide death toll since Wednesday, when security forces forcibly cleared two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, to more than 830, including 70 police and soldiers.
Gen Sisi deposed Mr Morsi on 3 July, saying the military could not ignore the millions of people who had been demanding the resignation of Egypt's first democratically elected president.
Before security forces launched the operation to disperse the Cairo sit-ins, the armed forces chief asked millions of people to take to the streets to give him a "mandate" to fight "violence and terrorism", an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement to which Mr Morsi belongs.
In a speech to army and police officers on Sunday, Gen Sisi warned that the military would not allow further violence after the latest unrest.
"We will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching the nation and terrorising the citizens."
But the general also appeared to strike a conciliatory tone towards his opponents, urging them to join in the political process.
"There is room for everyone in Egypt, and we are cautious about every drop of Egyptian blood."
The Brotherhood has called for daily demonstrations since security forces cleared its protest camps in Cairo on Wednesday and declared a state of emergency.
More than 600 people were killed during the operations, including dozens of security forces personnel, and at least another 173 died on Friday during a so-called "day of rage" called by the Brotherhood .
Also on Sunday, the interim government met to discuss the unrest.

 حازم عبد العزيز الببلاوى
Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi 
Afterwards, Information Minister Dorreya Sharaf el-Din said the cabinet wished to express its regret the loss of life, but would continue to confront "terrorism" firmly.
The cabinet is also believed to have discussed Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi's proposal for the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood.

حازم عبد العزيز الببلاوى‎ (born 17 October 1936) is an Egyptian economist and politician who has been interim Prime Minister of Egypt since 2013. Previously he served as deputy prime minister and minister of finance in 2011. After the July 2013 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and his government, Beblawi was named interim prime minister. Beblawi was born in Cairo, Egypt on 17 October 1936. He studied law at Cairo University and graduated in 1957. He obtained a postgraduate degree in economics from the University of Grenoble in 1961. He also holds a PhD in economics, which he received from the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne in 1964.

The 85-year-old Islamist movement was banned by Egypt's military rulers in 1954, but registered itself as a supposedly non-governmental organisation in March in response to a court case bought by opponents who contested its legal status.
The Brotherhood also has a legally registered political wing, the 'Freedom and Justice Party', which was set up in June 2011 as a "non-theocratic" group after the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power, - however it should be noted that no group derived from the Muslim Brotherhood can be correctly described as 'non-theocratic'.
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy
At a news conference on Sunday, the interim Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, showed video clips showing armed protesters firing on security forces in Cairo.
He said, significantly, that the government was faced with an attempt to "shake the foundation of the state".

Nabil Fahmy (born 5 January 1951) is an Egyptian diplomat and politician, and the current foreign minister in the interim government of Egypt. Nabil Fahmy was born in New York on 5 January 1951. His father, Ismail Fahmy, was Anwar Sadat's foreign minister from 1973 to 1977.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics, and a master's degree in management, both of which he received from the American University in Cairo in 1974 and 1976, respectively.

More than 1,000 Brotherhood members have been detained in raids since Wednesday, with officials saying bombs, weapons and ammunition have been seized.
Some 300 were held in several cities on Sunday, including Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut and Suez, security sources said.

20 Aug 2013

Mohamed Badie is Arrested

محمد بديع
Mohamed Badie 
The 'supreme guide' of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, has been arrested in Cairo.

محمد بديع‎ (Muhammad Badie - born 1943) is the 'Supreme Guide' of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has headed the Egyptian branch of the international Muslim Brotherhood organization since 2010. Before becoming general guide, Badie had been a member of the group's governing council, the 'Guidance Bureau', since 1996. Badi'e was born in the industrial city of Mahalla al-Kubra on 7 August 1943. He received a degree in veterinary medicine at Cairo in 1965. In 1965, Badie was arrested for his political activities, along with Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyed Qutb, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He served 9 years and was released in 1974 by President Anwar Sadat. Badie became a member of the Brotherhood’s al-Mahalla al-Kubra administrative office the following year and was eventually named chief of that branch. From 1986 to 1990, he served as a member of the Brotherhood’s administrative office in Beni Suef. In 1993, he became a member of the group’s 'Guidance Office'. In 1998, he was imprisoned for 75 days as a result of his participation in the 'Islamic Dawa Society' in Beni Suef. In 2010, Badie was named 'supreme guide' of the Muslim Brotherhood, replacing Muhammad Mahdi Akef.
In July 2013, a travel ban was put on Badie as well as Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Badie's deputy Khairat el-Shater.

The arrest came as authorities pursued a crackdown on the Brotherhood, the group behind the political party of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, which has sparked deadly protests and international condemnation.
Badie was arrested in an apartment near Rabaa al-Adawiya square, where more than 200 Morsi supporters were killed on Wednesday as police cleared their protest camp.
Both public and private television channels showed pictures of Badie, 70, being escorted away by police.
Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, including Badie, are wanted for questioning, accused of inciting the deaths of protesters.
Prosecutors have set an August 25 date for the trial of six top Brotherhood leaders for "incitement to murder."
The arrest came days after Badie's son was killed in protests against Morsi's ouster.
Egypt's interior ministry has said it has arrested more than 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood "elements" during the unrest.

Mohammad Al Baradei is to Face Trial

Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize winner  محمد مصطفى البرادعى - (Mohammad Al Baradei) is to face trial on September 19 over his resignation as vice president, after a deadly crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
The case against him was brought by the head of criminal law in Helwan University, who argues that Al Baradei was appointed vice president as a representative of the opposition, and was obliged to refer his resignation to them.

محمد مصطفى البرادعى
Mohamed Mustafa El Baradei
Al Baradei left Cairo for Vienna (?) on Sunday.

محمد مصطفى البرادعى - (Mohamed Mustafa El Baradei - born 17 June 1942) is an Egyptian law scholar and diplomat who was the acting Vice President of Egypt from 14 July 2013 to 14 August 2013. He was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, from 1997 to 2009. He and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. El Baradei was also an important figure in recent politics in Egypt, particularly the 2011 revolution, which ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and in the 2013 protests and military action that toppled President Mohamed Morsi.

According to Egyptian authorities, hundreds of people were killed in last Wednesday’s assaults on two Cairo protest camps of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in the country’s worst violence in decades.
The Muslim Brotherhood has put the death toll at over 2,000 (?).

The Egyptian armed forces on Tuesday arrested 11 people, including two Palestinians, in Sinai over attacks on the police and army premises.
The forces raided several criminal hideouts early Tuesday morning and arrested them.
The operation came one day after suspected militants ambushed two buses carrying security forces in Egypt’s northern Sinai, killing at least 25 soldiers.
The security condition deteriorated in Sinai since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and became worse after his successor Mohammad Mursi’s government was toppled, which triggered violence between security forces and Mursi’s supporters.

President Mubarak May Be Freed

The new prosecutor-general dropped charges of embezzlement against President Hosni Mubarak, which means a minor charge of accepting illegal gifts from a state-owned newspaper is left as the only outstanding accusation on which he can remain in jail.
President Mubarak still faces charges of complicity in the shooting dead of more than 800 protesters in the 2011 revolution which ended his rule, but the term limit on his remand on custody has expired in that case.

Ashraf El Kholy Speaks in London

Speaking in Egypt's embassy, Ashraf El Kholy compared the one-year rule of Morsi to the Islamist takeover of the Iranian state after the 1979 revolution and said that, like Fascism, the Muslim Brotherhood ideology sought to dominate Egyptian society.
"Morsi was elected president and held office for one year but in that time he tried to make everything Muslim Brotherhood controlled. Egyptian culture over 5,000 years is a mix of religions and civilisations in which the Islamic religion is one ingredient of the Egyptian character. The Muslim Brotherhood are like a Fascist group that demand that everything changes, and people everything to their way."

21 Aug 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Appoint a New Supreme Guide

The Muslim Brotherhood has appointed a new supreme guide after Mohammed Badie, its previous leader, was arrested by Egyptian police tipped off as to his hiding place.
The interior ministry triumphantly released pictures of a disconsolate-looking Mr Badie, 70, sitting on a sofa beside a table as the police prepared to take him away in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
But the Brotherhood declared that Mr Badie was just "one individual" (apparently not the 'Supreme Guide' ?), and that his arrest would make no difference (?) to their campaign against the new military-backed rulers.

Mahmoud Ezzat
Mahmoud Ezzat, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, will assume the role of 'supreme guide' of the group on a temporary basis, after the security forces arrested so-called 'supreme guide' Mohamed Badie.

Mahmoud Ezzat is a doctor, with a Doctorate in medicine from Zagazig University (1985), master’s degree in medicine (1980), B.S. in medicine (1975), diploma from Institute of Islamic Studies (1998), and was born in 1944. After becoming acquainted with the Brotherhood as a boy, Ezzat began studying with the group in 1962. He was imprisoned along with Supreme Guide Muhammad Badie from 1965 to 1974 and has been a member of the MB Guidance Office since 1981. He is married to the daughter of former supreme guide Mahdi Akef.

At a press conference, the Brotherhood-led "National Coalition for Legitimacy" (yet another politico-religious group) said there would now be a campaign of civil disobedience and a boycott of state-linked companies and media - which will of course be yet another blow to an already collapsing economy.
Mr Ezzat is one of a number of deputy leaders of the Brotherhood.
He is part of a faction led by the most powerful deputy, and the organisation's chief strategist, Khairat al-Shater, who is already under arrest.

محمد خيرت سعد الشاطر
Mohammed Khairat Saad el-Shater
محمد خيرت سعد الشاطر ‎- Mohammed Khairat Saad el-Shater (born 4 May 1950) is an Egyptian engineer, businessman and Islamist political activist. A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, el-Shater was the initial candidate of movement's 'Freedom and Justice Party' during the 2012 Egyptian presidential election before being disqualified by the election commission. Previously, he was the deputy chairman of the Brotherhood. Born in Dakahlia, el-Shater joined the youth wing of the ruling Arab Socialist Union Party at age 16, during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He studied engineering at the Alexandria University.
After serving in the military for two years, el-Shater studied for a Master's degree and worked as a lecturer at the Mansoura University. After president Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981, el-Shater was exiled as an Islamist dissident, and left for England. After returning in the mid-1980s, he became an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1995, he became head of the Brotherhood's Greater Cairo branch. He is considered a main financier and chief strategist of the Brotherhood. Even though he is the nominal number two in the Brotherhood's hierarchy, some consider him its actual leader.
El-Shater was arrested on 5 July 2013. On 14 July 2013 Egypt's new prosecutor general Hisham Barakat ordered his assets to be frozen.

22 Aug 2013

The Release of President Mubarak

Release of President Mubarak
An Egypt court ordered the release former President Hosni Mubarak on bail on his last corruption case.
President Mubarak still faces a retrial on charges of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 unrest which toppled him, but the term limit for remand in custody has expired.
In this corruption case, Mubarak and his two sons were charged with misusing power and accepting gifts via his information minister.
President Mubarak's lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, has stated that President Mubarak will pay back the money equivalent to the worth of the gifts, and that he is confident that the ex-president will be released.
"President Mubarak will be freed (on bail) unless he is charged with other crimes," legal expert Aly Mashallah said, adding the prosecution is the sole authority to determine his final release.

Release of President Mubarak
He asserted Mubarak will be released on Thursday or Friday as the prosecution decision won't take more than two days.
As the decision was issued by the consultative chamber of the Appeals court, the prosecution cannot appeal against it, an official judicial source confirmed.
On Monday, Cairo Criminal court ordered to acquit President Mubarak on looting funds allocated for maintaining the presidential palaces.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court postponed the retrial of the former president over charges of protester death to August 25th, amid ongoing riots triggered between Islamists and security forces after the ousting of his successor Mohamed Morsi.

23 Aug 2013

Mass protests called by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood mostly failed to materialise on Friday, as the movement reels from the army crackdown on followers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

'Friday of Martyrs' - Cairo 
Troops and police had taken relatively low-key security measures before the "Friday of Martyrs" processions that were to have begun from 28 mosques in the capital after weekly prayers.
But midday prayers were cancelled at some mosques, and few major protests unfolded in Cairo.
There were no reports of violence, but the Brotherhood's website said one person had been killed in the Nile Delta town of Tanta in clashes with security forces.
Brotherhood supporters also turned out in Alexandria, several Delta towns, the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, the north Sinai town of Rafah, and Assiut in the south, with minor skirmishes reported in some places.
"We are not afraid; it's victory or death," said Mohamed Abdel Azim, a retired oil engineer who was among about 100 people marching slowly from a mosque near Cairo University.
Despite his defiant words, the mood of the protesters seemed subdued, perhaps a sign that the crackdown and the round-up of Brotherhood leaders has chilled the rank-and-file.
The Brotherhood, hounded by Egypt's new army-backed rulers, had called for demonstrations across the country against the crackdown, testing the resilience of its battered support base.
Security forces kept a watchful eye, but did not flood the streets, even near Cairo's central Fateh mosque, where gun battles killed scores of people last Friday and Saturday.
The mosque's metal gates and big front door were locked and chained. Prayers were cancelled.
Two armoured vehicles were parked down the street, where people shopped at a busy market.
Only one riot police truck stood by near Rabaa al-Adawiya square in northeastern Cairo, home to the Brotherhood's biggest protest vigil until police and troops stormed in, killing hundreds of people, bulldozing barricades and burning tents.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

محمد أمين الحسيني - Haj Amin al-Husseini

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

محمد أمين الحسيني - (Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini) (1897 - 4 July 1974) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine.

Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini
Al-Husseini was the scion of a family of Jerusalemite notables.
After receiving an education in Islamic, Ottoman and Catholic schools, he went on to serve in the Ottoman army in World War I.
At war's end, he positioned himself in Damascus as a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria.
Following the fiasco of the Franco-Syrian War and the collapse of the Arab Hashemite rule in Damascus, his early position on pan-Arabism shifted to a form of local nationalism for Palestinian Arabs and he moved back to Jerusalem.
From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but was pardoned by the British.
From 1921 to 1937 al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, using the position to promote Islam and rally a non-confessional Arab nationalism against Zionism.

His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Italy and Germany.
During World War II he collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, meeting Adolf Hitler and asking him to back Arab independence.
He requested, as part of the Pan-Arab struggle, Hitler's support to oppose the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home.
He was promised the leadership of the Arabs after German troops had driven out the British.
He helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS. At war's end, he came under French protection, and went to Cairo to avoid prosecution.

In the lead-up to the 1948 Palestine War, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah's designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan, and, failing to gain command of the 'Arab rescue army' (jaysh al-inqadh al-'arabi) formed under the aegis of the Arab League, formed his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas.
In September 1948, he participated in establishment of All-Palestine Government.
Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won a limited recognition of Arab states, but was eventually dissolved by Gamal Nasser in 1959.
After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership, wholly discredited, left him eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he lost most of his residual political influence.
He died in Beirut, Lebanon, in July 1974.

Early Life

Amin al-Husseini was born around 1897 (?) in Jerusalem, the son of the mufti of that city and prominent early opponent of Zionism, Tahir al-Husayni.

:مفتي‎ (muftī - Turkish: müftü ) is a Sunni Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law (Sharia and fiqh). In religious administrative terms, a mufti is roughly equivalent to a deacon to a Sunni population. A muftiate or diyanet is a council of muftis. A Mufti will generally go through an Iftaa course and the person should fulfill the following conditions set by scholars in order that he may be able to issue verdicts (fataawa). They are eight: knowledge of Arabic, mastery over the science of principles of jurisprudence, sufficient knowledge of social realities, mastery of the science of comparative religions, mastery of the foundations of social sciences, mastery of the science of Maqasid ash-Shari`ah (Objectives of Shari`ah), mastery of the science of Hadith, Mastery of legal maxims

The al-Husseini clan consisted of wealthy landowners in southern Palestine, centred around the district of Jerusalem.
Thirteen members of the clan had been Mayors of Jerusalem between 1864 and 1920.
Another member of the clan and Amin's half-brother, Kamil al-Husayni, also served as Mufti of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini attended a Qur'an school (kuttub), and Ottoman government secondary school (rüshidiyye) where he learnt Turkish, and a Catholic secondary school run by French missionaries, the Catholic Frères, where he learnt French.
He also studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle with its non-Zionist Jewish director Albert Antébi.

Courtyard - Al-Azhar University - Cairo - 1912
محمد رشيد رضا‎
Rashid Rida
In 1912 he studied Islamic law briefly at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and at the Dar al-Da'wa wa-l-Irshad, under Rashid Rida, a salafi intellectual, who was to remain Amin's mentor till his death in 1935.

The Salafi methodology, also known as the Salafist movement, is a movement among Sunni Muslims named by its proponents in reference to the Salaf ("predecessors" or "ancestors"), the earliest Muslims considered to be examples of Islamic practice.
The movement is often described as related to, including, or synonymous with Wahhabism. Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam.

 محمد رشيد رضا‎ - (Muḥammad Rashīd Riḍāʾ Ottoman Syria, 23 September 1865–Egypt, 22 August 1935) was an early Islamic reformer, whose ideas would later influence 20th-century Islamist thinkers in developing a political philosophy of an "Islamic state". Rida is said to have been one of the most influential and controversial scholars of his generation and was deeply influenced by the Salafi movement founded in Cairo by Abduh. Rida focused on the relative weakness of Muslim societies vis-à-vis Western colonialism, blaming Sufi excesses, the blind imitation of the past (taqlid), the stagnation of the ulama, and the resulting failure to achieve progress in science and technology. He held that these flaws could be alleviated by a return to what he saw as the true principles of Islam, albeit interpreted (ijtihad) to suit modern realities. This alone could, he believed, save Muslims from subordination to the colonial powers.

Though groomed to hold religious office from youth, his education was typical of the Ottoman أفندي (effendi) at the time, and he only donned a religious turban in 1921 after being appointed mufti.

أفندي - (Effendi - Turkish‎) is a title of nobility meaning a lord or master.
It is a title of respect or courtesy, equivalent to the English Sir, which was used in Ottoman Empire (Turkey). It follows the personal name, when it is used, and is generally given to members of the learned professions and to government officials who have high ranks, such as bey or pasha. Such a title would have indicated an "educated gentleman", hence by implication a graduate of a secular state school (rüşdiye), even though at least some if not most of these efendis had once been religious students, or even religious teachers.
The word itself is an adaption of the Medieval Greek afendēs (αφέντης), from ancient Greek authentēs (αὐθέντης), generally "doer, master".

In 1913, approximately at the age of 16, al-Husseini accompanied his mother Zainab to Mecca, and received the honorary title of Hajj.
Prior to World War I, he studied at the School of Administration in Istanbul, the most secular of Ottoman institutions.

World War I

al-Husseini in the
Ottoman Army
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, al-Husseini received a commission in the Ottoman Army as an artillery officer and was assigned to the Forty-Seventh Brigade stationed in and around the city of Izmir.
In November 1916 he obtained a three-month disability leave from the army and returned to Jerusalem.

General Allenby enters Jerusalem
He was recovering from an illness there when the city was captured by the British a year later.
The British and Sherifian armies, for which some 500 Palestinian Arabs volunteered, completed their conquest of Ottoman-controlled Palestine and Syria in 1918, alongside Jewish troops.
As a Sherifian officer, al-Husseini recruited men to serve in Faisal bin Al Hussein bin Ali El-Hashemi's army during the Arab Revolt, a task he undertook while employed as a recruiter by the British military administration in Jerusalem and Damascus.
The post-war Palin Report noted that the English recruiting officer, Captain C. D. Brunton, found al-Husseini, with whom he cooperated, very pro-British, and that, via the diffusion of War Office pamphlets dropped from the air promising them peace and prosperity under British rule, 'the recruits (were) being given to understand that they were fighting in a national cause and to liberate their country from the Turks'.
Nothing in his early career to this point suggests he had ambitions to serve in a religious office: his interests were those of an Arab nationalist.

Early Political Activities

In 1919, al-Husseini attended the Pan-Syrian Congress held in Damascus where he supported Emir Faisal for King of Syria.
That year al-Husseini founded the pro-British Jerusalem branch of the Syrian-based 'Arab Club' (Al-Nadi al-arabi), which then vied with the Nashashibi-sponsored 'Literary Club' (al-Muntada al-Adabi) for influence over public opinion, and he soon became its President.
At the same time he wrote articles for the 'Suriyya al-Janubiyya' (Southern Syria).
The paper was published in Jerusalem beginning in September 1919 by the lawyer Muhammad Hassan al-Budayri, and edited by Aref al-Aref, both prominent members of al-Nadi al-'Arabi.
Al-Husseini was a strong supporter of the short-lived المملكة العربية السورية (al-Mamlakah al-Sūriyya al-‘Arabīyah - Arab Kingdom of Syria), established in March 1920.

المملكة العربية السورية, al-Mamlakah al-Sūriyya al-‘Arabīyah, was the first modern Arab state to come into existence, but only lasted a little over four months (8 March–24 July 1920). During its brief existence, the kingdom was led by Sharif Hussein bin Ali’s son Faisal bin Hussein. Despite its claims to territory of a Greater Syria, Faisal's government controlled a limited area and was dependent on Britain which, along with France, generally opposed the idea of a Greater Syria, and refused to recognize Faisal as its king. The kingdom surrendered to French forces on 24 July 1920.

In addition to his support to pan-Arabist policies of King Faisal I, al-Husseini tried to destabilize the British rule in Palestine, which was declared to be part of the Arab Kingdom, even though no authority was exercised in reality.

 Nabi Musa Procession - Jerusalem
During the annual Nabi Musa procession in Jerusalem in April 1920, violent rioting broke out in protest at the implementation of the Balfour Declaration which supported the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for the Jewish people.

 Nabi Musa Procession - Jerusalem
Thousands of Muslims would assemble in Jerusalem, trek to Nabi Musa, and pass three days in feasting, prayer, games and visits to the large tomb two kilometres south, identified as that of Moses' shepherd, Hasan er-Rai, They were then entertained, as guests of the waqf, before returning on the seventh day triumphantly back to Jerusalem. The Ottomans appointed the al-Husayni clan as official custodians of the shrine, and hosts of the festival, though their connection with the cult may date back to the previous century.

The Palin Report laid the blame for the explosion of tensions on both sides.
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, organiser of Jewish paramilitary defences, received a 15-year sentence.
Al-Husseini, then a teacher at the Rashidiya school, near Herod's Gate in East Jerusalem, was charged with inciting the Arab crowds with an inflammatory speech and sentenced in absentia to 10-years imprisonment by a military court, since by then both had fled to Syria.
It was asserted soon after, by Chaim Weizmann and British army Lieutenant Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, that al-Husseini had been put up to inciting the riot by British Field-marshal Allenby's Chief of Staff, Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor, to demonstrate to the world that Arabs would not tolerate a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
After the April riots an event took place that turned the traditional rivalry between the Husseini and Nashashibi clans into a serious rift, with long-term consequences for al-Husseini and Palestinian nationalism. Great pressure was brought to bear on the military administration from Zionist leaders and officials such as David Yellin, to have the Mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husayni, dismissed, given his presence in the demonstration of the previous March.
Colonel Storrs, the Military Governor of Jerusalem, removed him without further inquiry, replacing him with Raghib al-Nashashibi of the rival Nashashibi clan.
This had a profound effect on his co-religionists, definitely confirming the conviction they had already formed from other evidence that the Civil Administration was the mere puppet of the Zionist Organization.
Until late 1920, al-Husseini focused his efforts on Pan-Arabism and the ideology of the Greater Syria in particular, with Palestine understood as a southern province of an Arab state, whose capital was to be established in Damascus.
Greater Syria was to include territory of the entire Levant, now occupied by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The struggle for Greater Syria collapsed after France defeated the Arab forces in Battle of Maysalun in July 1920.
The French army entered Damascus at that time, overthrew King Faisal and put an end to the project of a Greater Syria, put under the French Mandate, in accordance with the prior Sykes-Picot Agreement. Palestinian notables responded to the disaster by a series of resolutions at the 1921 Haifa conference, which set down a Palestinian framework and passed over in silence the earlier idea of a south confederated with Syria.
This framework set the tone of Palestinian nationalism for the ensuing decades.
Al-Husseini, like many of his class and period, then turned from Damascus-oriented Pan-Arabism to a specifically Palestinian ideology, centered on Jerusalem, which sought to block Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine.
The frustration of pan-Arab aspirations lent an Islamic colour to the struggle for independence, and increasing resort to the idea of restoring the land to  دار الإسلام‎ - Dar al-Islam.

دار الإسلام‎ - house/abode of Islam or Dar as-Salam, house/abode of Peace is a term used by Muslim scholars to refer to those countries where Muslims can practice their religion freely. It's the area of the world under the rule of Islam , literally, "the home of Islam" or "the home of submission." These are usually Islamic cultures wherein Muslims represent the majority of the population, and so the government promises them protection. Most Dar al-Islam areas are surrounded by other Islamic societies to ensure public protection.
Muslim scholars maintain and believe that the labeling of a country or place as being a part of Dar al-Islam revolves around the question of religious security. This means that if a Muslim practices Islam freely in his place of abode, despite that the place happens to be secular or un-Islamic, then he will be considered as living in the Dar al-Islam.

From his election as Mufti until 1923, al-Husseini exercised total control over the secret society, Al-Fida’iyya (The Self-Sacrificers), which, together with al-Ikha’ wal-‘Afaf (Brotherhood and Purity), played an important role in clandestine anti-British and anti-Zionist activities.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood - Islamic Fascism

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
 "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated; to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."
Hassan al-Banna

The Muslim groups which today threaten the West with terrorism, subversion and insurgency are not only “fascist” in the broad sociological sense, but can trace their literal historical origins to Nazism and its genocidal ambitions.
The ideology of the Islamists whose ranks today include not only al-Qaeda but also Hamas and Hezbollah, originated with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Hassan al-Banna
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna.
The Muslim Brotherhood finds not just its roots, but much of its symbolism, terminology, and political priorities deep within the heart of National Socialism.
For al-Banna, as for many other Muslims worldwide, the end of the caliphate, although brought about by secular Muslim Turks, and Ataturk in particular, was a sacrilege against Islam, for which they blamed (for some incomprehensible reason) the non-Muslim West !

The first time the title of caliph was used as a political instead of symbolic religious title by the Ottomans was the peace treaty with Russia in 1774. 
Around 1880 Sultan Abdulhamid II reasserted the title as a way of countering creeping European colonialism in Muslim lands.

Abdülmecid II 
His claim was most fervently accepted by the Muslims of British India.
By the eve of the First World War, the Ottoman state, despite its weakness vis-à-vis Europe, represented the largest and most powerful independent Islamic political entity.

Ottoman Caliphate
But the sultan also enjoyed authority beyond the borders of his shrinking empire as caliph of Muslims in Egypt, India and Central Asia.

Kemel Ataturk
عبد المجید الثانی - (Abdülmecid II - 9 May 1868 – 23 August 1944) was the last Caliph of Islam of the Ottoman (Osmanli) Dynasty, nominally the 37th Head of the Ottoman Imperial House from 1922 to 1924.
On the initiative of Kemel Ataturk, the National Assembly abolished the Caliphate on March 3, 1924. Abdülmecid was sent into exile along with the remaining members of the Ottoman House, marking the official end of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Ataturk wrote: 'Your office, the Khalifate, is no more than an historic relic. It has no justification for existence'
Caliphate is a concept of an Islamic and universal state for all mankind. To establish it is a compulsory for moslems, so that peace and welfare for the world will be realized.

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It was to strike back against the destruction of the caliphate that al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.
Al-Banna’s antipathy towards Western modernity soon moved him to shape the Brotherhood into an organization seeking to check the secularist tendencies in Muslim society, and return to traditional Islamic values.

Hassan Banna
in Fascist Uniform
Hitlerjugend  (Hitler Youth)
He co-founded the Muslim Youth Association  in 1927, based on the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) which was founded in 1922 - restored the newspaper Al-Manar created by Rashid Rida and Muhammad Abduh, as well as the weekly al-Shehab, a magazine founded by Imam Abdul Hamid Ben Badis, and then launched the Muslim Brotherhood in March 1928.
Al-Banna recruited followers from a vast cross-section of Egyptian society by addressing issues such as colonialism, public health, educational policy, natural resources management, social inequalities, Arab nationalism, and the weakness of the Islamic world.
Among the perspectives he drew on to address these issues were the anti-capitalist doctrines of European Marxism and especially fascism.

Hassan Banna's Proposed Muslim Caliphate
As the Muslim Brotherhood expanded during the 1930s, and extended its activities well beyond its original religious revivalism, al-Banna began dreaming a greater Muslim dream: the restoration of the Caliphate. He would describe, in inflammatory speeches, the horrors of hell expected for heretics, and consequently, the need for Muslims to return to their purest religious roots, and resume the great and final holy war, or jihad, against the non-Muslim world.
The first big step in the international jihad al-Banna envisioned came in the form of trans-national terrorism during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39, when one of the most famous of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders, the محمد أمين الحسيني (Hajj Amin al-Husseini), Grand Mufti (Supreme Muslim religious leader) of Jerusalem, incited his followers to a three-year war against the Jews in Palestine, and against the British who administered the Palestine Mandate.

The 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs in Mandatory Palestine against British colonial rule, motivated by opposition to mass Jewish immigration.
The revolt consisted of two distinct phases. The first phase was directed primarily by the urban and elitist Higher Arab Committee (HAC) and was focused mainly on strikes and other forms of political protest.
By October 1936, this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy (involving the rulers of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Yemen[1]) and the threat of martial law. The second phase, which began late in 1937, was a violent and peasant-led resistance movement that increasingly targeted British forces. 

In 1936 the Brotherhood had about 800 members, but by 1938, just two years into the Revolt, its membership had grown to almost 200,000, with fifty branches in Egypt alone.
By the end of the 1930s, there were more than a half million active members registered, in more than 2,000 branches across the Arab world.
To achieve that broader dream of a global jihad, the Brotherhood developed a network of underground cells, stole weapons, trained fighters, formed secret assassination squads, founded sleeper cells of subversive supporters in the ranks of the army and police, and waited for the order to go public with terrorism, assassinations, and suicide missions.
It was during this time that the Muslim Brotherhood found a soul mate in Nazi Germany.
The Reich offered great power connections to the movement, but the relationship brokered by the Brotherhood was more than a marriage of convenience.
Long before the war, al-Banna had developed an Islamic religious ideology which previewed Hitler’s Nazism.
Both movements sought world conquest and domination.
Both were triumphalist and supremacist (in Nazism the Aryan must rule, while in al-Banna’s Islam, the Muslim religion must hold dominion).
Both advocated subordination of the individual to a central power.
Both were explicitly anti-nationalist in the sense that they believed in the liquidation of the nation-state in favor of a trans-national unifying community.
And both rabidly hated the Jews and sought their destruction.

Arabic 'Mein Kampf'
As the Brotherhood’s political and military alliance with Nazi Germany developed, these parallels facilitated a full-blown alliance, with all the pomp and panoply of formal state visits, de facto ambassadors, and overt as well as sub rosa joint ventures.
Al-Banna’s followers easily transplanted into the Arab world a newly Nazified form of traditional Muslim Jew-hatred, with Arab translations of 'Mein Kampf' (translated into Arabic as 'My Jihad'), and other Nazi anti-Semitic works, including 'Der Sturmer' hate-cartoons, adapted to portray the Jew as the demonic enemy of Allah.
When the Second World War broke out, Al-Banna worked to firm up a formal alliance with Hitler and Mussolini.
But the best known Nazi sympathizer in the Muslim Brotherhood was محمد أمين الحسيني - Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and one-time President of the Supreme Muslim Council of Palestine.

Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (Arabic: محمد أمين الحسيني‎, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni; (1897 – 4 July 1974) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine.

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Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini
The Grand Mufti was a bridge figure in terms of transplanting the Nazi genocide in Europe into the post-war Middle East and creating a fascist heritage for the Palestinian national movement.
Al-Husseini used his office to preach anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist, and (turning on his patrons) anti-British vitriol.
He was directly involved in the organization of the 1929 riots which destroyed the 3,000-year-old Jewish community of Hebron.
And he was quick to see that he had a natural ally in Hitler.
As early as spring 1933, he assured the German consul in Jerusalem that "the Muslims inside and outside Palestine welcome the new regime of Germany and hope for the extension of the fascist, anti-democratic governmental system to other countries."
The youth organization established by the Mufti used Nazi emblems, names and uniforms.
Germany reciprocated by setting up scholarships for Arab students, hiring Arab apprentices at German firms, and inviting Arab party leaders to the Nuremberg party rallies and Arab military leaders to Wehrmacht maneuvers.
Most significantly, the German Propaganda Ministry developed strong links with the Grand Mufti and with Arabic newspapers, creating a propaganda legacy that would outlast Husseini, Hitler, and all the other figures of World War II.
In September 1937, Adolf Eichmann and another SS officer carried out an exploratory mission in the Middle East lasting several weeks, and including a friendly productive visit with the Grand Mufti.
It was after that visit, in fact, that the Mufti went on the Nazi payroll as a Nazi agent and propagandist. During the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39, which al-Husseini helped organize, and which Germany funded, the swastika was used as a mark of identity on Arabic leaflets and graffiti.
Arab children welcomed each other with the Hitler salute, and a sea of German flags and pictures of Hitler were displayed at celebrations.

haj Amin Husseini and Adolf Hitler
After meeting with Hitler on November 21, 1941, Husseini praised the Germans because they “know how to get rid of the Jews, and that brings us close to the Germans and sets us in their camp.”
On March 1, 1944, the Mufti called out in a broadcast from Zeesen: “Arabs! Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. Kill them with your teeth if need be. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor.

haj Amin Husseini and Heinrich Himmler
His own memoirs, and the testimony of German defendants at the Nuremberg trials later on, showed that he planned a death camp modeled on Auschwitz to be constructed near Nablus for the genocide of Palestine’s Jews.
It was the Mufti who urged Hitler, Himmler, and General Ribbentrop to concentrate Germany’s considerable industrial and military resources on the extermination of European Jewry.
The foremost Muslim spiritual leader of his time, he helped in this effort by lobbying to prevent Jews from leaving Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, even though those governments were initially willing to let them go.
As Eichmann himself recounted: “We have promised the Mufti that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013