Abdul Rahman al-Suwaidi is a former Emirati Islamist leader. Repentant, he delivers here a relentless testimony about the 35 years he spent in the hell of the Muslim Brotherhood. In front of our cameras, he reveals, in a series of uncompromising interviews, the Brotherhood’s best kept secrets, unmasks his double discourse and reveals the hearing of his hidden tentacles implanted throughout the world…
Interview by Atmane Tazaghart
– How does this commitment called Bay’a work?
– Al Bay’a is a personal oath of loyalty to the Organization or entity (of the Muslim Brotherhood), but not to the officially disclosed institution, that is, the association that serves as a legal front for the Brotherhood. It is often pledged in private homes, like mine was. No big ritual: 5 people including the officer in charge of the group. You give your hand and the officer tends his and you take an oath of obedience, in all circumstances, unless you receive an order to commit a sin.
With this oath you shift from the initiation to the executive phase. And you are counting amongst members with specific profile, assignments, and roles. Before allegiance, recruits are supporters, followers, affiliates, sympathizers. Call them as you want. So, the latter should commit themselves and that goes through the pledge of allegiance. Allegiance is a commitment. It is a commitment to listening and obeying. With these few words, the new recruit is admitted as an active member of the Brotherhood.
Allegiance is preceded by a short “disclosure’’ phase that takes place about six months earlier. A document entitled “preaching” (Da’wa) specifying missions and activities of the Organization is handed over to the new member. Look at the terminology used: this entity is designated as a Secret Organization in view of the law, but them, they define it as an Organization for preaching.
To become a “Working Brother” in the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, you must first take an oath after your initiation and training. This oath provides access to some privileges, activities, responsibilities and information that were not accessible in previous phases.
Some information are no longer kept secret and some officials are designated by their true positions. We discover that so-and-so, who is with us for a long time, is an officer in charge of this or that. What we didn’t know before.
Of course, the unveiling of the secrecy is done progressively. But taking an oath does not mean you can say and know everything. Some prerogatives are restricted to internal committees and are kept secret, including for members under oath. Some took an oath and stayed a long time in the Organization without knowing anything about some of its secrets.
The lifting of secrecy is not systematic or a guaranteed right for everyone. The secret is lifted to achieve specific goals or actions, otherwise it is restricted to specific persons within the Organization. Marginal and unnecessary questions and side questions are left aside for fear that this will have undesired consequences that information reach parties other than their intended recipients. Secrets are sometimes kept very strictly others a little less. It depends on the nature of work and tasks. The rule is that all those who are in the Brotherhood should not have access to all the secrets of the Brotherhood.
– Are there any forms of collective allegiance, especially for the world leadership of the Brotherhood?
– Allegiance commits in individual capacity. It is a commitment to the person or the organization in the country where we are. At the time we made Al Bay’a, we did not know that the Organization has structures at country and global levels. We were not at the top of the pyramid but at the bottom or on the fringe. This truth appeared years after allegiance. The “Disclosure” phase itself does not reveal the existence of partial or total dependency.
We did not suspect that the oath pledged to the person who gave you his hand is also an oath to those who are with him. At that time our reasoning was as follows: the front organizations we deal and work with are official and fully legal institutions with a board of directors, managers, a general assembly, etc. But we realized later that they were governed by an Organization without legal basis. An armada of associations in charge of women, youth, engineers, doctors… etc. were established. They are all official and legal. No doubt about that. But they take instructions from an illegal entity.
It is later that we realized that the oath pledged in a given country turns into oath to the Controller of the Brotherhood, that is to say to its Emir in this country. And this Emir in turn takes orders from abroad from higher institutions to which he himself pledged allegiance.
We knew all these information much later. In fact, the hand extended to one person passes through a series of other hands to finish at the World Organization of Muslim Brotherhood currently based in Great Britain.
The targeting phases are the same, the oath of allegiance also. The sections also and the Shura councils, the key organs are similar or almost identical in all the countries. Whether Arab, Islamic, European or Western countries. They all use the same operation mode.
Small variations exist. They result from the environment of the country where these organizations operate. But the main methodology is the political Islam. Its foundations form the oath of allegiance and the undisputed obedience to the Brotherhood. And the goal is to influence the governments through educational and charitable front organizations. All that is almost identical.
– How is the coordination of the actions of all these tentacles of the Brotherhood established throughout the world carried out?
– First of all, there are the so-called “specialized forums”. Experts in recruit’s targeting from several countries can hold a forum around this theme. Charity experts from various countries can do the same, in order to discuss how to develop their working methods in their field. The same applies for political committees.This confirms the existence of contacts between all these bodies and actors that are working within a unified framework within the Brotherhood. The environment where we operate can dictate some adaptations, but the methodological referent is the same everywhere. It’s the one of the Muslim Brotherhood designated as a terrorist Organization. There are agreements between Muslim Brothers from different countries or sometimes between sections or agencies specialized in the same domain, to avoid referring to distant hierarchy.
For example, if a disaster happens in a given country, direct contacts will be established between the activists assigned to dispatch humanitarian and relief aids and those of the country that will receive those aids. Level of direct coordination is so advanced that the World Organization needn’t to supervise everything vertically. Instructions come from the world Organization, but coordination happens between the concerned countries. Because at first, it is the Organization that guarantees one country towards another and guarantees reliability and loyalty of the activists involved.
Co-ordination can happen at lower levels only if decided by the world Organization. Which confirms that it all belongs to the same Organization.
For example, during the “Arab Spring” and what it generated as tensions, instructions were given to different branches of the Brotherhood, so that some carry out armed actions and others for mediatic hype. And here [in the United Arab Emirates] we are asked to provide financial support, etc.
The role assigned to a country (X) was not the same as the one of a country (Y). This coordination between the groups belonging to the Brotherhood in different countries has allowed each one to fulfill its role. It was not the result of individual efforts geared here and there in a spontaneous or hazardous way.