Filmmaker and independent journalist Ami Horowitz’s new documentary provides viewers a glimpse “inside the Muslim Brotherhood,” the “largest global Islamic organization in the world,” which has branches in dozens of countries and which the Trump administration is considering formally designating a terrorist organization. In a series of interviews, Horowitz asks influential members of the group, including the U.S. and Turkey, to explain their ideology and approach to promoting their ultimate goal: “the creation of a global caliphate.”
“While the branches of the Brotherhood are geographically and politically diverse, their ideological goals remain constant and they seem to share a secretive but somewhat cohesive political structure with clearly definable goals,” says Horowitz.
Samuel Tadros, from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, explains that all of the groups under the “umbrella” of the Brotherhood share a “common ideology,” the promotion of an exclusively Muslim culture and the establishment of “an Islamic state that dominates the whole world.”
The first interview Horowitz features takes place in Instanbul, Turkey, where he speaks with influential Muslim Brotherhood leader Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar. Asked if all of the Muslim Brotherhood branches “share the same ideology,” Gaffar responds, “Of course. All of us share an underlying ideology which comes from Islam. You have this ideology, you have this group to fulfill the condition of this ideology, which is in Algeria, or in Chad, or in Berlin, in Malaysia or Finlandia, in America and Russia and Mozambique and South Africa and everywhere. It is the best for everyone!”
The Brotherhood has “aggressively tried to expand their global influence by sending an unknown amount of proxies around the world with the goal of sowing disorder and to radicalize the Islamic populace in order to achieve their stated goal of global dominance,” says Horowitz. “They have people on the ground in all major European countries that are actively trying to subvert the political system.”
An influential memo produced by Dr. Mohamed Akram Adlouni lays out the Brotherhood’s goals and strategies in the West, in particular the U.S. “The Muslim Brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands,” Adlouni wrote.
Horowitz also interviews Nidal Mohamed Sakr, who has lived in the U.S. since 2014 after leaving Egypt, where he was accused of murdering a police officer. Sakr, says Horowitz, was recruited by Abdullah Azzam, “a mentor of Osama Bin Laden and the co-founder of al-Qaeda.”
“The way Muslim Brotherhood exists and operates is the following,” Sakr explains. “They do have those general guidelines and approach and school of thought. However, each chapter deals with its own realities, and challenges, and very specific circumstances…. So you operate from within, the environment that you are in in a way that’s most fit. You work from within the system.” That method, he says, has been “very, very successful.”
In a 2017 tweet highlighted in the film, Sakr declared in reference to Donald Trump, “EXECUTE SOB TRAITOR.”
The success of the Brotherhood in the U.S., says Horowitz, has become the model for all of the branches of the organization. Horowitz specfically asks if the Brotherhood works with some other widely influential Muslim groups in the U.S.; the leaders explain that these groups share the same views and work for the same goals. Tadros notes that some of these organizations “host official Muslim Brotherhood representatives in their conferences in the United States.”
“How closely is the Brotherhood working with the leftist and liberal organizations?” Horowitz asks Sakr. “They are my backers and they are my defenders in political circles,” says Sakr.
Horowitz goes on to highlight the famous case against the Holy Land Foundation, once the largest Islamic charity in the U.S., which said it was providing funds for humanitarian efforts focused on Arabs in the Palestinian territories, but which federal investigators discovered was actually providing over $12 million to terrorist organization Hamas. Among the unindicted co-conspiratories were key figures in some high-profile U.S. Islamic groups noted in the film.