Expert: Brotherhood 'Secret Society' Like a 'Cult'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Muslim Brotherhood is "a fanatic, extremist movement for God" that operates like a cult, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel said.

The Muslim Brotherhood declared an "intifada" on Monday after a confrontation with the army that led to the deaths of more than 50 Egyptians outside the compound where they believe ousted President Mohammed Morsi is being held under house arrest.

Founded in the 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned terrorists and terror organizations around the globe from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip. 

The Brotherhood formed a political party for the first time ever two years ago to run in elections after long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak was deposed and won elections with a narrow margin some say because many Egyptians cast their votes against the other candidate.

But according to Mazel, the Muslim Brotherhood is actually a movement and a secret organization.

"It's a secret society. They created thousands, thousands of charity organizations not only in the Arab countries, especially in the United States, where the money is, and in Europe and they collect money for so-called for charity," Mazel told CBN News.

In the United States many organizations have already been shut down after it became clear that funds were being funneled to terrorist organizations and not charity. 

According to Mazel, the Muslim Brotherhood approaches mostly young people to convince them to join.

"They approach people personally. They explain their aim, their goal, to work for Allah, to impose the Shariah, the Koran on the country," Mazel said.

The group trains the new members for years and requires that they carry out "tasks" for the organization and also imposes its interpretation of Allah and the Koran on them, Mazel said. And after five or six years, they're brainwashed.

"They're brainwashed people and they become very loyal to the Muslim Brothers. Not many have left. It's difficult to leave such an organization," he said.

Mazel said the organization could be compared to a cult, like the Branch Davidians who ended their lives during a siege on their compound near Waco, Texas, in 1993.

"It's even stronger. It's even stronger because it goes under the umbrella of religion and a very important religion," Mazel said. "The influence on the people is very strong." 

"The organization is strong, powerful because it's based upon discipline, hierarchy and the members accept without any appeal what the leader says," he added.

That's why Israelis find it so difficult to understand American policy right now, Mazel said.

"We remember after one week of demonstration, Obama said to Mubarak, go, go, go, leave, leave, leave," he said.  "He probably thought he was helping the Arab people in Egypt to get rid of a dictator, but he was wrong."

"It means that some people in the White House just simply did not understand that you cannot create 'now democracy' in the Arab world. You cannot because there is a fight between liberals and fanatics and they are not ready for democracy by their tradition," Mazel said.

Egyptians are also "completely dumbfounded" by America's support of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Mazel referred to the visit of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was pelted with objects when she visited Egypt following the revolution.

"They threw on her tomatoes and eggs, you remember. They said, 'You support the Muslim Brothers, how come? You American, you liberals, you democratic, how come? You don't understand what's going on?'" he recalled.

Mazel said instead of turning against the new government, the U.S. should be supporting it because it actually carried out a "corrective revolution" when it ousted Morsi to get the revolution from two years ago back on track.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Correspondent

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