(CNSNews.com) – A leading Jewish human rights group is urging President Obama to sever ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood after its top leader called for “holy war” against Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) also called on the European Union to bar entry to the Muslim Brotherhood’s “supreme guide,” Mohammed Badie, noting that the E.U. was named last week as this year’s winner of the Nobel peace prize.
“The Zionists only know the method of force,” Badie said in a statement Thursday, according to a translation. “They will not step back from transgression, unless they are forced to. This will only be by holy jihad, and enormous sacrifices and all forms of resistance.”
Badie called on Muslims to “unite for the sake of Jerusalem and Palestine after the Jews have increased corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers and in their actions profane holy places.”
The organization headed by Badie dominated parliamentary elections and produced the winning candidate for the presidency. President Mohamed Morsi announced he was resigning from the veteran Islamist group after his election, but he essentially heads a Muslim Brotherhood administration.
“Badie’s rant confirms our long held view that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is the most dangerous anti-Semitic organization in the world today,” SWC dean Marvin Hier and associate dean Abraham Cooper said in a statement, the day after Badie’s remarks were published in Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily.
“We are not dealing with a YouTube video or a lone extremist imam, but a call to anti-Semitic violence by a man who has tens of millions of followers and leads the organization that controls Egypt’s future,” they said. “It cannot be business as usual in Washington when such an assault is launched against the Jewish people.”
The SWC urged Obama to condemn the statements and “cut off all official and unofficial U.S. contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood until they desist from their hate and war mongering.”
In Europe, SWC international relations director Shimon Samuels wrote to E.U. Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, asking the 27-member union to declare Badie persona non grata over statements which he described as an “outrageous incitement to murder by the religious authority of a movement of millions.”
“As 2012 Nobel peace prize laureate, the E.U. has been endowed as the guardian of peace and security in Europe,” he said, arguing that barring Badie would hold him and his followers responsible for any implementation of his declaration, “whether in the Muslim world or in Europe.”
‘Raising a jihadi generation that pursues death’
Founded in Egypt in the 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood today has branches and followers in dozens of countries. It promotes the establishment of a caliphate – a supranational society living under shari’a (Islamic law).
Suppressed under Egyptian regimes for decades, it developed strong organizational networks and, although formally banned, its members contested legislative elections as “independents.”
Those advocating Western engagement with the Brotherhood say it renounced violence decades ago – even though its Palestinian wing, Hamas, is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
This is not the first time Badie has made comments regarding as inciting violence.
In a sermon in late 2010, he said Muslims “crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.”
In the same sermon, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Badie stated that the United States “is heading towards its demise.”
Shortly after Morsi took office, Badie in a July sermon – translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism – said every Muslim had a duty to “cleanse Palestine from the clutches of the occupation … they must wage jihad with their money and lives and free it, and free its prisoners, male and female …”
Badie, a former political prisoner, was chosen for the Brotherhood’s top position in internal elections in 2010. Egyptian analysts at the time called his election as the eighth leader in the group’s history a victory for its “conservative” faction over a more “reformist” wing.
While campaigning for the presidency, Morsi said last April that if he was elected Badie would not interfere in decision-making.
“I will rule Egypt, and not the supreme guide,” the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily quoted him as telling supporters at a meeting in Sinai.
Morsi, who recently passed his first 100 days in office mark, has not spoken publicly about Badie’s recent comments.
The president has taken a cautious stance regarding Israel, pledging that Egypt will honor its international obligations, but also signaling a desire to review aspects of the peace treaty with Israel. (A Pew Global Attitudes Project poll earlier this year found 61 percent of Egyptian respondents in favor of scrapping the treaty, an increase from 54 percent a year earlier.)
Late last week Muslim Brotherhood secretary-general Mahmoud Hussein said the organization opposes Morsi meeting with Israel leaders until “full Palestinian rights are restored.”
Until that time, “any receptions or meetings with the Israelis are nothing but reprehensible intellectual luxury,” he said in an interview with Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper, posted on the Brotherhood website.
“We will not welcome any Israeli representatives before Israel does its duties toward the Palestinians. We do not have to meet with anyone.”
Even if Israel should request a meeting to discuss the peace agreement, Hussein said, “[s]uch issues will not be resolved in isolation from the core cause of Palestine. We are not looking for partial solutions.”
Asked whether the Muslim Brotherhood would ever hold street protests against Morsi’s decisions or policies, he demurred.
“We will address any wrong decisions and policies with appropriate means,” he said. “Taking to the street is not the only way to do so. Other ways are giving advice, engaging officials in positive dialogue, and offering alternatives, etc.”