10 questions with the editors of the Global Muslim Brotherhood Report

7. What connection is their between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, if any? And would the Muslim Brotherhood provide a safe haven to al-Qaeda if they were able to gain power?

In general, as many have observed, they are competitors for influence within the Islamic world but this does not mean there is some kind of firewall between the two movements. Important individuals sometimes manage to crossover or to function within both networks (Abdul Majeed al-Zindani in Yemen for example) and sometimes the same Gulf sources have been found to be funding both.

At times, we have seem al-Qaeda and/or related jihadist networks being “grafted” onto Muslim Brotherhood charities, although it is not clear if this is done with the consent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps the best place to look for a template of future relations is Gaza where Hamas is in control. As far as we know, there are al-Qaeda and Jihadist groups operating in Gaza, although they have at times come into armed conflict with the Hamas authorities.

8. What are the most important things Americans should know about the Muslim Brotherhood?

The most important thing for Americans to understand is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not only an Egyptian organization but a worldwide network that has a presence and influence in the West, including within the U.S. That said, it appears that the debate about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is largely being conducted along partisan political lines which is not helpful if the true threat is to be identified and countered.

9. How influential is the Muslim Brotherhood in countries outside of Egypt?

That question has to be answered on a country by country basis but in general, the Global Muslim Brotherhood groups have managed by virtue of superior funding and organizational abilities to position themselves as the “mainstream” representatives of the Muslim population in each country where they are present. Thus, they are in a position to shape the debate about both domestic and international issues of importance. In the U.S., Global Muslim Brotherhood groups have been welcomed as partners with the U.S. government at many levels and in Europe, the group representing the Global Muslim Brotherhood has a visible presence and partnership with important European Union institutions.