What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Founded in Egypt in 1928, by Hassan al-Banna, a teacher and imam, the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is global Islamic domination and the establishment of Islamic sharia law.

"Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope," the group's creed says.

Very few people have ever heard of the Muslim Brotherhood and yet it is considered to be the most influential Islamic movement in the United States and the world. Experts say that every prominent Islamic organization in the U.S. is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and some have even called it an "insurgency."

With affiliates and branches in more than 100 countries worldwide, it has inspired radical Islamic movements around the world.

The group had underground links to the Nazis starting in the 1930s and supported terrorism orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandatory Palestine.

The late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1940s. Al-Qaeda was inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas considers itself to be "a division of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine."

After being accused of attempting to assassinate then Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser,the group was outlawed in Egypt in 1954. Nevertheless, they have the support of about one-third of the population.

Political candidates skirt the group's illegality by running as independents in national elections. They won about 20 percent of the parliament seats in 2005 and formed the largest opposition bloc.

Initially, the Islamic group was not visibly involved in the current unrest in Egypt but has since demanded the formation of a temporary government to "transfer power peacefully."

Many analysts have warned that the pro-democracy demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak could be hijacked by Islamists. Such was the case in 1979, when pro-democracy demonstrators overthrew the Shah of Iran and then lost control to radical Islamic forces.

To learn more about the far-reaching influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., watch CBN News' Stakelbeck on Terror episodes for September 20, 2010 and October 5, 2010.

--Originally posted January 30, 2011.

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Julie Stahl

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