In August of 2004, an alert Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer observed a woman wearing traditional Islamic garb videotaping the support structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and conducted a traffic stop. The driver was Ismail Elbarasse and detained on an outstanding material witness warrant issued in Chicago in connection with fundraising for Hamas.The FBI’s Washington Field Office subsequently executed a search warrant on Elbarasse’s residence in Annandale, Virginia. In the basement of his home, a hidden sub-basement was found; it revealed over 80 banker boxes of the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. One of the most important of these documents made public to date was entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It amounted to the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan for the United States and was entitled, “An Explanatory Memorandum: (copy below in English and also in Arabic) On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”
The Explanatory Memorandum was written in 1991 by a member of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and senior Hamas leader named Mohammed Akram. It had been approved by the Brotherhood’s Shura Council and Organizational Conference and was meant for internal review by the Brothers’ leadership in Egypt. It was certainly not intended for public consumption, particularly in the targeted society: the United States. For these reasons, the memo constitutes a Rosetta stone for the Muslim Brotherhood, its goals, modus operandi and infrastructure in America. It is arguably the single most important vehicle for understanding a secretive organization and should, therefore, be considered required reading for policy-makers and the public, alike.
Another extraordinarily important element of the Memorandum is its attachment. Under the heading “ A List of Our Organizations and Organizations of Our Friends,” Akram helpfully identified 29 groups as Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Many of them are even now, some twenty-two years later, still among the most prominent Muslim- American organizations in the United States. Worryingly, the senior representatives of these groups are routinely identified by U.S. officials as “leaders” of the Muslim community in this country, to be treated as “partners” in “countering violent extremism” and other outreach initiatives. Obviously, this list suggests such treatment translates into vehicles for deep penetration of the American government and civil society.