This report by the Belgian State Security Service was drawn up in the context of the “Ihsane Haouach affair”, named after this veiled community activist who was appointed government commissioner at the Institute for the Equality of Men and Women last May and then forced to resign a few weeks later following the revelation of her “close contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood”.
The report criticises the entryism practised by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to “influence public debate and policy-making (governmental or local)” and warns against the Muslim Brotherhood’s “doctrine of concealment” “by which they allow themselves a certain flexibility with regard to certain orthodox Islamic prescriptions, adapt their discourse to their audience, and conceal their true intentions and convictions”.
He concludes that the Muslim Brotherhood “cultivates a public image of well-integrated, moderate and (relatively) progressive European Muslims”, but “aims in the long term at the progressive Islamisation of European society in all its components”.
Following the recent appointment of Ihsane HAOUACH as Government Commissioner at the Institute for Equality between Women and Men, we feel it is our duty to inform you that she is known to our services in the context of the monitoring of our legal obligations regarding extremism. More specifically, she is known because of her close contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.
These contacts between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ihsane HAOUACH may be part of a broader strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood through which it tries to influence public debate and policy-making (governmental or local) by developing good relations with influential people in various circles of society (politics, civil society, economy) in which they themselves try to gain positions of influence (entryism) and through which they try to control or rally a wide range of organisations and NPOs [non-profit organisations] with the real aim of paving the way for their worldview and implementing it.
We can also note that the Muslim Brotherhood has a history of concealing its true beliefs and motivations and does not generally reveal itself as a Muslim Brotherhood to the outside world.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a socio-political group of Egyptian origin that is considered the parent organisation of all Sunni extremist movements and various terrorist organisations. However, it is now profiled [or presented] as a fundamentally peaceful organisation. The Muslim Brotherhood has global ramifications and is also present in Belgium.
In addition to purely national establishments in the Arab world, an “international” trend has also emerged, which is strongly represented in countries with an Islamic minority and is developing its own dynamic.
In Europe and Belgium, the Muslim Brotherhood aims in the long term at the progressive Islamisation of European society in all its components. In the shorter term, their main objective is the protection and promotion of the Islamic identity and the societal anchoring of Islam, which they interpret in an orthodox manner. To this end, the Muslim Brotherhood tries to present itself as the voice of Muslims and their spokesperson to the authorities. The strategy to achieve these objectives is mainly based on social-political activism, lobbying and entryism, driven by a “vanguard elite” of educated Brotherhood activists.
The European Muslim Brotherhood chooses a gradual and very pragmatic approach, whereby it allows itself some flexibility with respect to certain orthodox Islamic prescriptions, adapts its discourse to its audience, and conceals its true intentions and beliefs. They cultivate a public image of well-integrated, moderate and (relatively) progressive European Muslims, but this conceals (is contrary to) their victim and internal discourse and their underlying message, which is that Western values and way of life are irreconcilable with Islamic values and rules.
The extremist ideology of the founder Hassan AL BANNA and the influential ideologist Sayyid QUTB still constitutes the core of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology, with the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic society and state where all elements of society and all aspects of daily life are regulated by religious rules and regulations (Sharia).
[More] concretely, it translates into, among other things, the rejection of secularism and equal rights for men and women, the belief that Islam is superior and that national laws and rules should be adapted to religious rules and not the other way around, the defence of conspiracy theories with a clear anti-Western and anti-Semitic connotation, the sympathy for the motives of perpetrators of terrorist attacks – even if they systematically condemn attacks in Western countries
The main danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood in the short term is that it creates a climate of segregation and polarisation, which in turn can be a breeding ground for further (violent) radicalisation. Should the Muslim Brotherhood succeed in becoming the mediator between the authorities and the Muslim community, it will undoubtedly use this position to strengthen Islamic identity. Since the Muslim Brotherhood is in favour of a stricter interpretation and application of the religion and believes that Islamic identity and rules take precedence over national identity and laws, this will lead to an increasing withdrawal of the Muslim community into itself and its religion.