Muslim Brotherhood

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.  There have also been reports (denied by the Brotherhood) that the Israeli Arab party, Ra’am, which entered the Israeli coalition government that formed in 2021, has links to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is that country’s oldest Islamist organization and has branches throughout the world. While these branches operate under a variety of names and use a variety of social, political, and occasionally violent methods, they share a commitment to the overarching goal of establishing rule according to sharia. The most notable and lethal Brotherhood offshoot is Hamas, the Palestinian terror group operating out of the Gaza Strip. Some analysts also argue that the Brotherhood has served as the ideological forerunner of modern violent Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. [This and the next paragraph are from the Counter Extremism Project.]

The Muslim Brotherhood’s presence in the Palestinian territories dates back to the 1960s, when the group established a set of charities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Brotherhood continued to amass support within the Palestinian territories. In 1987, a group of Brotherhood activists established a formal Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, Hamas.* Hamas maintains that it operates independently of the Brotherhood,* publicly disavowing the Brotherhood in March 2016.* Nevertheless, Hamas and the Brotherhood have cooperated in recent years, particularly during the Egyptian Brotherhood’s year in power. Further, Hamas continues to label itself in its charter as “one of the wings of the Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.” According to the charter, the Brotherhood is “a universal organization…. The largest Islamic Movement in modern times.”* On May 1, 2017, Hamas convened a press conference in Qatar to unveil a new policy document, the first since the release of its organizational charter in 1988. However, the revised document does not replace the original 1988 charter, which remains in effect with its linkage to the Brotherhood.* Moreover, the new language has no bearing on Hamas’s commitment to violent “armed resistance” against Israel, and the “liberation” of all of Palestine “from the river to the sea.


Designations of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization:

  • Bahrain – 21 Mar 2014
  • Egypt – 25 Dec 2013
  • Russia – 28 Jul 2006
  • Saudi Arabia – 7 Mar 2014; Saudi Council of Senior Scholars accuses the Brotherhood of fomenting terrorism – 10 Nov 2020
  • Syria – 1980, Law 49 issued, banning the Muslim Brotherhood and imposing the death penalty on its members
  • United Arab Emirates – 15 Nov 2014; On the same day, it designated several Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the West, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the International Islamic Relief Organization, the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, among dozens of others; UAE Fatwa Council declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization – 23 Nov 2020