The South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), an organisation working to promote freedom, democracy and peace in South Asia and Europe, will be releasing a new report comparing the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ (MB) and the ‘Jamaat-e-Islami’ (JeI), on December 23, 2016. This report carries out an in-depth study of the origin, ideology and evolution of the MB and JeI, and draws parallels between the two Islamist organisations.
Tracing the origin of the JeI in 1941 by Maulana Sayyid Abu’l-A’la Mawdudi, the report shows how he was deeply influenced by the Brotherhood, and subsequently how the MB borrowed heavily from the writings of Mawdudi. Both groups have a similar ideology that permits use of extreme violence for promoting Islam in society, and during the periods that they have been in the government, namely the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from June 2012 to July 2013 and JeI-BD in Bangladesh in 2001, have been marked by incidents of increasing violence against women, minority Muslim communities and political institutions. Moreover, both groups have also been known to give birth to extremely radical offshoots, the Al-Qaeda and Hamas in case of the MB, and the Islamic Chhatra Shibir in the case of
The study clearly brings out the deep ideological similarities between Islamist movements like the MB and JeI-BD, which despite their democratic rhetoric and resort to democratic practices like elections to come to power, believe in a Millennial Islamic Movement to establish their ‘cherished goal’ of global caliphate, or ‘God’s Kingdom’, in which women and minorities would not enjoy equal opportunities and rights. Their lip service to democracy and apparent acquiescence to secular law reflects their pragmatism, not their transformation into liberal democratic organisations. The study further highlights that the founders of both the MB and JeI, and the leadership that followed, continue to strive for ‘God’s Sovereignty’.
The study cautions that the world needs to take note of the deep ideological similarities between the two Islamist fundamentalist organisations, which have been the ideological inspiration for a multitude of terrorist groups in various parts of the world. Adding that the followers of these ideologies have adopted multi-pronged strategies, namely the spread of the ‘madrassa’ system of education to mould the thinking of Muslim youth, adherence to a uniform dress code, mass conversions, negation of national boundaries on grounds of religion and intolerance towards other sects and religious beliefs, the study cautions that the spread of such violent Islamic thought has the potential of pushing the world into a violent confrontation between Islam and other religions.
SADF is a non-profit organisation registered in Brussels. It intends to encourage the application of the United Nations’ general principles and resolutions regarding human rights. It stands against all kinds of discrimination based on colour, race, language, gender, political orientation, religion, nationality, tradition, ethnic origin or social background, social or legal status, age or birth. The organisation aims to promote labour rights, sustainable development, freedom, open governance, peace and democratic laws.