Giovanni Giacalone 150

Izetbegović and the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted on Posted in Analyses, Balkans & East Med, Intelligence and Security, Terrorism, Organized Crime & Security

By Giovanni Giacalone, Analyst KEDISA

On December 28th 2016 the Serbian online newspaper “Politika” published an article by the title “Bakir Izetbegovic under the screening of US Intelligence” where the author explains that, following the electoral victory of Donald Trump, the US Administration could be considering the possibility of adding the Muslim Brotherhood(MB) in the black list of international terrorist organizations, as already claimed by Trump, following the steps of other countries such as Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria. [1]

The screening of the Muslim Brotherhood is not new to the West, as David Cameron had ordered the British Intelligence to conduct an inquiry on the Islamist organization back in 2014, following a series of violent episodes that had seen the involvement of MB members in Egypt.

In Bosnia the issue could soon become a priority on the fight against Islamist radicalization ad Trump just took office; security expert Predag Ceranic explains that the SDA leader, Bakir Izetbegovic, is known to be a friend of MB spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who was hosted in Sarajevo and who is now wanted by Egypt on terror charges. The UK and France had refused entry to Qaradawi due to potential links with terror organizations. The MB spiritual leader had urged on several occasion foreign fighters to take part in the jihad in Syria. [2] [3]

In another video published by an Egyptian channel in 2013 Qaradawi had claimed that it is a duty to fight all those who stand with the Assad regime, armed forces, civilians, religious scholars or ignorants”. [4]

According to the article published by “Politika”, that would be the reason for US interest for Bakir Izetbegovic and his links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bosnia and the Muslim Brotherhood

However that is only the tip of the iceberg as the Muslim Brotherhood had found fertile ground in former Yugoslavia since the early 1970’s with Bakir’s father, Alija Izetbegovic, first president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who had embraced in his youth the pan-Islamist ideology.

According to Izetbegovic, the “Islamist order” was achievable only in those countries where Muslims were the majority of the population.

As Izetbegovic wrote in his book “Islamska Deklaracija” (Islamic Declaration), published in 1970: “Our goal: the Islamization of Muslims. Our methods: to believe and to struggle.”

In the “Declaration” he never names Bosnia but he rather talks about a homogeneous Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia: a concept that closely matches the idea of a Caliphate.

In his early youth Alija Izetbegovic had taken part in the creation of a clandestine Islamist group in former Yugoslavia named “Mladi Muslimani” (Young Muslims-1939). Some of its members had attended Al Azhar University in Cairo and had even joined the MB while living in Egypt. Its goal was to create a Muslim state in the Balkans itself.

The organization had began to print a magazine named “El-Mudzahid” with frequent reference to takbir, to jihad and where they advocated a more conservative practice of Islam and criticized Western costumes.

Strangely enough the same name that will be given in the early 1990’s to the mujahideen unit, mainly composed of Arab volunteers. The unit’s logo strongly recalled the on of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Izetbegovic was arrested in 1946 by the Yugoslavia authorities and accused of publishing “A Warrior and Servant of Allah”, a journal whose policies differed little from those of the international Ikhwan al-Muslimun, he would serve three years in prison. But he would not be cowed. Years later, when Egyptian President Nasser asked after the Muslim leader, Tito replied that Izetbegovic was “more dangerous than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.”[5]

The ideology behind the Muslim Brotherhood

Taking strong steps against extremist organization is a necessary preventive measure, because extremism is the ideological component that justifies and supports terrorism. Waiting for an organization to cross over to terrorism inplies a partial defeat due to lack of an appropriate preventive activity and as to the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to understand if their ideology is extremist, all that needs to be done is examine the writings of the founding fathers of the organization, such as Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Mustafa Mashhur.


Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!” (Muslim Brotherhood motto).


Islam is different from any other religion; it’s a way of life. We [Khalifa and bin Laden] were trying to understand what Islam has to say about how we eat, who we marry, how we talk. We read Sayyid Qutb. He was the one who most affected our generation”.  (Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. Qaedist and jihadist companion of Usama Bin Laden)


“…Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries. The Muslim homeland is one and is not divided. The banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established…”   (Mustafa Mashhour, “Jihad is the Way).


As explained by Andrew McGregor, Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, had sought the Islamization of the Egyptian people before the creation of an Islamic state. Qutb went further, suggesting that “a revolutionary vanguard should first establish an Islamic state and then, from above, impose Islamization on Egyptian society and export Islamic revolutions throughout the Islamic world.” Qutb made the unique proposal that the existing Egyptian state could be overthrown on the grounds that it was “un-Islamic” and a promoter of modern jahiliya (ignorance of the truths of religion). [6]

Overall, the West should have been extremely careful before supporting “democratically-elected” regimes that turnt out to operate way far from any sort of democraticu value, such as Mohamed Morsy in Egypt and Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.

Russia knew it well and its Supreme Court outlawed the organization in 2003, accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of suooperting and coordinating Chechen jihadists led by Emir al-Khattab and Shamil Basayev.

Facts speak for themselves. It is now time to carefully ponder what really moves behind the Muslim Brotherhood.






[5] Islam Online, 2003