Having swept into majorities in Egypt's parliament, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman is making it clear the group has ambitions far beyond Cairo.
"Concerning the Islamic caliphate, this is our dream, and we hope to achieve it, even after centuries," Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghuzlan told Egypt's Ahram news outlet in an interview Sunday. "It is the right of the Brotherhood that this is one of the pillars of its strategy. We are not concerned about the renaissance of the group only. Rather our first goal is the renaissance of Egypt, then the Arab world and then the Islamic world. This will come gradually."
Ghuzlan's statement echoes comments Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie made during a speech in late December. In it, Badie explained Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna's original agenda remains intact. "It begins with the reform of the individual and then to start building the family and society, then the government; then the rightly guided caliphate, then instructing the world; instructing guidance, wisdom, truth and justice."
Neither Badie's comments nor Ghuzlan's interview have been picked up by American news media.
They should be, because if Ghuzlan speaks for his organization, then the incoming Egyptian government opposes American policy when it comes to peace efforts in the region and in trying to block Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. While the Brotherhood has issues with Iran, he said, it supports the Islamic Republic when they are in agreement, "such as its standing up against America and the West who are trying to abort its nuclear program."
Ghuzlan also affirmed the Brotherhood's relationship to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist movement which controls Gaza. "Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and the last bastion to protect it considering that the group is scattered in about seventy countries. It is part of the Da'wa of the Brotherhood. Between the two is an intellectual and emotional link. Our position on them is like our position on any brothers in the world, particularly Arab countries. We do not interfere in its affairs, and give advice if requested; the Brotherhood in every country respecting and living in accordance with the constitution of this state and its laws."
In December, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh similarly acknowledged the connection. Hamas, he said, is the Brotherhood's "jihadist arm."
That raises additional question about the wisdom of engaging the Brotherhood as it assumes control in Egypt. The United States first branded Hamas a terrorist group in 1995, after President Clinton signed an executive order including it among groups responsible for "grave acts of violence … that disrupt the Middle East peace process [and] constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
Haniyeh and other Hamas officials have made it clear they have no intention of wavering from their rejection of any peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel, choosing instead to continue its violent jihad and its vow never to accept the state of Israel's right to exist.