Muslim Brotherhood use new media to document history

The media-savvy Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) have launched a new website–a wiki, an online encyclopedia pages where interested individuals can register, create and edit content. The wiki documents Ikhwan history from the Brotherhood’s perspective.

Unlike less pragmatic Islamic groups, the Brotherhood has a history of engaging with and using the media since the group’s formation under Hassan el-Banna in 1928, whether this be through talking to the press or producing their own publications.

The Brotherhood uses its own website as a news portal featuring the group’s latest news, publishing their press releases and announcements as well as op-eds by some of the group’s most prominent personalities.

The wiki, which is still in its early stages with a little over 1700 accessible articles, provides the Ikhwan perspective of their own history and events in which they were involved or believe to be closely tied to their Islamic or political cause–a mini Ikhwan library for those who don’t have access to the Brotherhood’s literature or to writings by their thinkers that are available in some Islamic bookstores.

Under the section "Ideology of the group" a wide range of subjects can be found, with politics and religion interweaving–as is the case with the Brotherhood’s dogma itself. Essays published on the wiki involve abstract concepts like freedom and matters of spirituality. One essay is titled "Love in God"–a concept directly connected to the idea that Muslims should love and ally with other pious Muslims and avoid "sinners," or those who have strayed from the right path.

There are also articles explaining Islam’s teachings on dealing with "the other," terrorism, patriotism, secularism, and a Brotherhood commentary on economic and political ideas. The ideology section carries the heading: "There are many parties which try to convince others of their ideology, but the Brotherhood is different," an ironic statement considering that the Brotherhood–who openly profess that "Islam is the Solution"–staunchly believe that spreading the message of Islam, and their own "balanced" understanding of it, is one of their main missions.

Other sections include one devoted to main Brotherhood "characters," which include the profiles of Guidance Bureau leaders, Islamic thinkers, and Palestinian resistance leaders.

Another section brings together introductions to and essays on Arabic literature that either inspired the Ikhwan or which they contributed to, including Islamic children’s stories written by a member of the Qutb family. The stories are famous because of Sayyed Qutb, a writer and a Brotherhood member who was sentenced to death and executed by hanging in 1966, and who is considered by many as the father of modern Islamism. His book, "Milestones," is considered the main inspiration for many militant groups, including Al-Qaeda.

The wiki also contains a section on nurture and education, and another titled "Ikwan around the world," with pages on Muslim Brothers in other countries and other Islamic groups allied with the Brotherhood, mainly in the Middle East and Europe. The section also feature pages on Islamic communities around the world who potentially subscribe to the Brotherhood’s ideology and way of life.

Perhaps one of the richest sections is "The events of the Muslim Brotherhood," which links events from world history and the Brotherhood’s own history, listing them among the catastrophes or difficulties that the group has endured.

The section includes not only events in which the Brotherhood were directly involved, but also those which had an impact on them, and those the Brotherhood believe are embedded in the consciousness of the umma (Muslim nation). For instance, essays on the execution of Qutb and the "assassination" of el-Banna, alongside essays on the siege of Jerusalem and the invasion of Palestine–all seen by the group as watershed moments for the Ikhwan and the umma.

The wiki also links to Brotherhood forums and websites and is hosted by a server based in the United States, which makes it near impossible for Egypt’s internet watchdogs at the Interior Ministry to crackdown on the site as they did several years earlier with the first website, which was hosted from Egypt.

All sites are in Arabic only.

Related Articles

Back to top button