“Allah is our objective; the Quran our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; struggle is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

In 1924, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey and the ascension of Ataturk to the leadership of a new secular government, ended the Islamic Caliphate. The Caliphate had been led by Istanbul for centuries, even though its power had steadily waned after the disastrous defeat of Muslim forces by the Poles at the siege of Vienna in 1683. With the establishment of secular rule in Turkey, there was no longer a single Islamic political power.

The reaction to the loss of the Caliphate led to two major Islamist movements, both of which, along with their successor groups, are still making their presence felt today. The first was the Wahabi sect in Saudi Arabia, which soon became the guiding ideology of the House of Saud, and remains the backbone of Salafist ideology to this day. Wahabism grew out of the tribal Bedouin society of the Arabian Peninsula and soon became what Walid Phares calls “Top-Down jihad.”

The second group to emerge in the pursuit of a new Caliphate was “al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen,” the “Society of Muslim Brothers.” Founded in 1928 by an Egyptian schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna, it stated its purpose from the outset–shariah law and the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate. The quote at the top of the page is from the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission statement.

As part of al-Banna’s intense hatred for secular and materialist forces in the modern world, he began to adopt elements of European anti-capitalism and Marxism in his ideology. Elements, particularly of the anti-capitalism, can still be found in a great deal of Islamist ideology today. It also led into the kind of internationalism that the international communists were espousing, only with international jihad and shariah law being the goals, rather than communism.

The first major international act of the Muslim Brotherhood was the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39. Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, incited his people to a three-year war against the British and Jews in the Palestine Mandate. Amin al Husseini was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Brotherhood membership spiked during the war, going from around 800 in 1936 to over 200,000 by 1939.

During the Second World War, the Muslim Brotherhood sided with Nazi Germany. The Brotherhood’s institutional anti-Semitism fit well with the Reich’s policies, while other similarities in their worldviews and goals brought the two ideologies even closer together. While Hitler’s ideal was Aryan domination of the world, the Brotherhood’s was Islamic domination of the world. For the time being, Nazi Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood were great friends, united in anti-Semitic and anti-British sentiment.

Hassan al-Banna was firmly committed to an alliance with Nazi Germany, as well as Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. It was al-Husseini, however, who would be the primary bridge figure between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Germans. As early as 1933, he had assured the German envoy to Palestine that he looked forward to the expansion of fascism and anti-democratic governments to other countries. He used Nazi iconography extensively in his Muslim youth groups, and in 1937, even met with Adolf Eichmann to further cement the alliance. In 1941, he met Hitler himself, praising the Germans for “knowing how to get rid of Jews.” From his own memoirs, and testimony from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, it has been revealed that al-Husseini was planning an Auschwitz-style death camp near Nablus. He also directly collaborated in blocking Jewish refugees from entering Palestine, getting them sent to the death camps instead.