San Bernardino Terrorist Followed Brotherhood-Linked Groups on Twitter

On Twitter, San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook followed several accounts associated with Muslim Brotherhood, including the official accounts of Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolution Network.

PJMedia’s Patrick Poole found that, while Farook never seemed to tweet from this account, several of the 11 accounts he followed were institutional Twitter accounts with ties to large Islamic organizations in America which have controversial histories and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other Islamist movements.

It is significant that Farook followed what many in American media would call “mainstream” Islamic organizations, rather than some of the more notorious ISIS-affiliated social media feeds. While these groups have the patina of respectability and often condemn terrorist events in the United States, many rationalize terrorism abroad as legitimate resistance or have, as their goal, the implementation of Islamic law in America.

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WhyIslam @whyislam is an account run by the Islamic Circle of North America (ISNA), “Dedicated to Clearing Misconceptions, Answering Questions, and Providing Free Material About Islam.” ICNA is an Islamist organization with close ties to the Pakistani extremist Pakistani group Jamaat-e-Islami, which advocates the Islamization of all governments, and can be considered a Subcontinent Muslim Brotherhood. A 2000 press release by the group claimed that, “Jamaat e-Islami’s supporters have an organization in America known as ICNA” and that, “Islam must be translated into political dominance.” ICNA’s charter is just as explicit about its goal, the “establishment of the Islamic system of life” in the world, “whether it pertains to beliefs, rituals and morals or to economic, social or political spheres.” th It’s not surprising that, rather than follow the comparatively larger Islamic Society of North America, Pakistani-American Farook followed the Islamic Circle of North America, which traces its organizational and intellectual lineage to the subcontinent.

Muslim American Society @mas_national is a Kansas-based Islamist group very much in the constellation of Muslim Brotherhood entities. Former MAS Secretary General Shaker Elsayed told the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that the organization was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. MAS has been described as “a major component” of the “Wahhabi Lobby,” Gulf-funded which has influenced American Islam for decades.

CAIR National @CAIRNational is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, founded in 1994 by Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, two former employees of the now-shuttered Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Association for Palestine. CAIR has ties to violent jihad as well. Daniel Pipes writes that, “At least seven board members or staff at CAIR have been arrested, denied entry to the U.S., or were indicted on or pled guilty to (or were convicted of) terrorist charges: Siraj Wahhaj, Bassem Khafagi, Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Rabih Haddad, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, and Nabil Sadoun.”

CAIR San Francisco Bay Area @CAIRSFBA The Muslim Brotherhood has long had an active presence in the Bay Area, going back to a pre-9/11 fund-raising visit by al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri in several Silicon Valley mosques. CAIR’s Bay Area branch also has a long record of radicalism. The group—which has honored convicted terror leaders like Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian—released a poster in 2011 that discouraged Muslims from reporting on jihadists in their communities, telling them, “Build a Wall of Resistance; Don’t Talk to the FBI.”

Free Syrian Army @FreeSyrianArmy The Muslim Brotherhood played an early role in the formation of the Free Syrian Army, utilizing in particular the MB’s close relationship with Turkey.  The Brotherhood dominated the political opposition Syrian National Council, and was able to force the election of Texas-based IT professional, and former CAIR member Ghassan Hitto to the position of prime minster, reportedly after U.S. pressure encouraged anti-Brotherhood members to abstain in the vote.  Hitto himself would be ousted in favor of a Saudi-backed candidate. The FSA coordinated with the Syrian National Council from September 2011 until a September 2013 when a pull out by Islamist militias, some with links to Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood collapsed cooperation with the SNC.

Syrian Revolution Network @RevolutionSyria is a Brotherhood-affiliated social media presence that, as Hassan Hassan described in a 2013 article in Foreign Policy, “decides the names for Friday’s protests” tied to the Syrian revolution. The SRN has been called one of several Muslim Brotherhood fronts, and has an active Facebook page.