JAFFA, Israel – Thousands of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activists have declared themselves supporters of the Islamic State, according to a Muslim Brotherhood member and a diplomatic source in Egypt.
In light of Cairo’s repression of the country’s largest opposition group, especially in the Sinai Peninsula, “many of the movement’s adherents look up to IS as the only group capable of facing up to the regime and avenge the death or detention of tens of thousands of Islamic activists,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed al-Masri (“the Egyptian”) told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Al-Masri is a senior Muslim Brotherhood member in the region of Giza in Egypt.
That information was confirmed by an Egyptian diplomatic source.
Many of IS’s new recruits and loyalists have been disillusioned with the Muslim Brotherhood due to the silence of its leaders on Cairo’s military campaign in Sinai.
The Brotherhood’s leadership has been under pressure from some of its members to clearly denounce the Egyptian government’s policy which, it is claimed, harms innocent people and the civilian infrastructure as well as Muslim Brotherhood members.
Many members have resorted to social media, some anonymously, to express their dismay at the Brotherhood’s conciliatory approach and pledge allegiance to Islamic State.
“Apparently, everybody has to die so that the Muslim Brotherhood leadership could go on living,” one self-identified member wrote. Some said that the Muslim Brotherhood does not follow Sharia law, while others boasted that IS has taken hold as far as the Philippines.
The current crisis echoes a previous one in the 1980s, in which similar discord combined with government repression led Muslim Brotherhood members to form a splinter group called Jama’a Islamiya and carry out attacks against government targets and tourists in a bid to damage the economy and undermine the regime.
In the 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood formally renounced the armed struggle and gradually integrated into politics, a process that culminated with the 2012 election of Mohammed Morsi as president. President Morsi was ousted by then-military chief, today President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.