President Nasser violently abolished Freemasonry in 1961, having it been well and truly established in Egypt since at least 1798, the days of Napoleon’s exhibition, to the demise of the Masonic movement that ended in disrepute and chaos in 1922, – that then in turn led to the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] founded in 1928, and that despite it being banned time and time again, has still survived and is present in almost all middle eastern countries.
The Muslim Brotherhood [MB] started off as a social organization, preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, [what the USA via the CIA done in Afghanistan for many years], setting up hospitals, [the Jesuits and Shriners come to mind], and even launched commercial enterprises, [sounds like the kind of activity the Rotary Club and Lions Club specialize in]. Then as the MB continued to rise in influence, starting in 1936, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt. Many Egyptian nationalists accuse the MB of violent killings during this period. After the 1948 Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organization and arrested its members; – its founder Hassan al-Banna was assassinated.
After the Egyptian coup of 1952, which was supported by the MB, it was once again banned and repressed. Though the Brotherhood spread to other countries, it was suppressed there too: in 1982, Syria violently crushed a Brotherhood revolt [the Hama massacre]. Starting in the 1980s it entered Egypt’s political arena, forming alliances with other parties, and fielding “independent” candidates [if such a thing is possible?]. When in 2005, the MB won 20% of the seats, Hosni Mubarak cracked down on the group. As of 2011, the MB took an active part in the Egyptian protests, and are no doubt pulling the strings today in its present negotiations.
It’s interesting to note that Samir Raafat wrote an article in the Insight Magazine, on the 1st March 1999, titled: Freemasonry in Egypt- Is it still around? – Here’s a tiny extract: On the 4th April 1964, the Masonic Temple on Alexandria’s Toussoun Street was shut down by order of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The reason: “Associations with undeclared agendas were incompatible with rules covering non profit organizations.” Sufficiently disturbing evidence for the State to be concerned about Freemasonry’s political goals would turn up the following year in Damascus when master spy Eli Cohen was apprehended. Having eluded Syrian intelligence for many years posing as an Arab, it was discovered that Eli had been a Freemason in Egypt where he was born.
Yet despite the 1964 decree declaring the demise of Freemasonry in Egypt, loud cries of “not so” can still be heard. And if one were to concede to that Freemasonry was on the demise, then Ahmed Abdallah’s book: Freemasonry in Our Region 1985, highlights Freemasonry is alive and well in the guise of Rotary Clubs and other like-minded associations. “Having accomplished their earlier mission to establish a Jewish state, Masonic conspirators now intend to undermine Islam using charity work and community outreach as their tools” says Abdallah in his opening chapter. He then consecrates a substantial portion of his elusive writing equating the “new Masonic cancer” with Rotary and Lions organizations and with Jehovah’s Witness, Freedom Now, Solar Tradition, New Age and several other “fringe” organizations.
Some Muslim anti-Masons argue that Freemasonry promotes the interests of the Jews around the world and that one of its aims is to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem after destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In article 28 of its Covenant, Hamas states that Freemasonry, Rotary, and other similar groups “…work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions…” Many countries with a significant Muslim population do not allow Masonic establishments within their jurisdictions. However, countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Morocco have established Grand Lodges, while in countries such as Malaysia and Lebanon there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge. The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait is represented in the Kuwaiti parliament by Hadas.
In Algeria in the early 1990s, the MB formed the Movement for the Society of Peace [MSP] – previously known as Hamas, by Mahfoud Nahnah until his death in 2003 and succeeded by the present party leader Boudjerra Soltani, who is a member of Algeria’s three-party coalition government.
In Bahrain, the MB is represented by the Al Eslah [Islah] Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. In 2002, Al Menbar became the joint largest party, and has generally backed government sponsored legislation on economic issues, but has sought a clamp down on pop concerts, sorcery and soothsayers. It has strongly opposed the government’s accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party’s view they should be have their heads chopped off.
The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed in 1960 as the Iraqi branch of the MB, but was banned from 1961, though post Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, the Islamic Party have re-emerged as one of the main advocates of the country’s Sunni community. In the north of Iraq there are several Islamic movements inspired by or part of the MB network. The Kurdistan Islamic Union [KIU] holds seats in the Kurdish parliament, as is the main political force outside the dominance of the two main secularist parties, the PUK and KDP.
In Jordan, it’s viewed by some that the MB is playing an active role in the recent uprisings in several Arab countries, for example, at a rally held outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman on the 29th January 2011 with some 100 participants, Hammam Saeed, head of the MB of Jordan said: “Egypt’s unrest will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.”
In Iraq Masonic lodges existed as early as 1919, when the first lodge under the UGLE was opened in Basra, and later on when the country was under British Mandate just after the First World War. However the position changed in July 1958 following the Revolution, with the abolition of the Monarchy and Iraq being declared a republic, under General Qasim. The licences permitting lodges to meet were rescinded and later laws were introduced banning any further meetings. This position was later reinforced under Saddam Hussein, the death penalty was prescribed for those who promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including Freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organizations.
With the fall of the Hussein government in 2003, a number of Lodges have begun to meet on military bases within Iraq. These lodges primarily cater to British and American military units, but a few have initiated Iraqis. – Several Grand Lodges have expressed a desire to charter Lodges with completely Iraqi membership in the near future. And as I’ve already pointed out Freemasonry has a long history and well established base throughout the middle-east.
In Syria and according to the recent leaked American cables, via Wikileaks, Syrian President Bashar al Assad allegedly called Hamas an “uninvited guest” and said “If you want me to be effective and active, I have to have a relationship with all parties. Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood, but we have to deal with the reality of their presence.” This comparison of Hamas to that of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which was crushed by his father Hafez al Assad in 1982, and then allegedly claiming Hamas would disappear if peace were brought to the Middle East,  so in effect his saying that peace in the Middle East will come about if the Muslim Brotherhood was no longer on the scene.
In Saudi Arabia the MB has been tolerated by the Saudi government, and maintains a presence in the country. Though according to a Washington Post report on the 11th September 2004, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef, denounced the MB, saying it is guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and is “the source of all problems in the Islamic world”.
In Somalia the wing of the MB is known by the name Harakat Al-Islah or “the Reform Movement”. The leaders of Harakat Al-Islah played a key role in the educational network and establishing Mogadishu University. Through their network, they’ve educated more than 120,000 students in the city of Mogadishu.
In Sudan, and until the election of Hamas in Gaza, it was the one country were the MB was most successful in gaining power, its members making up a large part of the government officialdom following the 1989 coup d’état by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood’s views were highlighted in a television interview on the 3rd August 2007 on Al-Jazeera TV by their leader Sheikh Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed, who said: “…the West and the Americans in particular … are behind all the tragedies that are taking place in Darfur.”
In Palestine, following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, it was the first time since the above mentioned Sudanese coup of 1989, that a “Muslim Brotherhood group” ruled a significant geographic region and territory.
In Libya, it was one of the first countries outside Egypt to have a Brotherhood group. In the late 1940s when the Egyptian members were being prosecuted, King Idris I of Libya offered the MB refuge and the freedom to spread their ideology. In 1955, the University of Libya was established in Benghazi, near the Egyptian border, and it drew many Egyptian teachers and lecturers including MB members. Not long after coming to power, Col. Gaddafi regarded the MB a potential source of opposition. He arrested many Egyptian Brothers and expelled them back to Egypt. It’s alleged in 1973, the security services arrested and tortured members of the Libyan Brotherhood banning the organization and forcing it underground. On the 2nd March 2006, the Libyan government released 132 members of the MB that were held as political prisoners.
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