CEE activities of the Muslim Brotherhood – Final Report: North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina & Region’s Conclusions

Political Islam receives increasing attention especially after the arrests seen in Austria that are designed to curtail this ideology in order to prevent future terrorist attacks. Whether it indeed results in terrorism is debatable, however, such actions this close to the Central and Eastern Europe underline an unprecedented relevance of exploring how spread this ideology is in said region and if it has space to be successful in countries with indigenous Muslim populations. If it indeed can exist there, would its success vary according to these countries’ forms of Islamic religiosity, institutional setup of Muslim communities, level of integration, discrimination, or presence of radical Islamist forces?

Supported by The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), GLOBSEC has begun mapping the efforts of one of the best-known political Islam movements, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), in a selection of countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Poland and Serbia were chosen by multiple criteria outlined in the project‘s first report. The Visegrad members and Serbia have been covered in the second report. This final report focuses on the remaining two countries and was driven by the following questions: In what communities is the Muslim Brotherhood active? What organisations represent it? What access to the governments does it have? Or how do its organisations cooperate on the national and regional level?

This report concludes our research in the selected countries and below are our main take-aways organised in 4 groups of organisations.

Key Findings

  1. The first organisations influenced by the MB were set up by mostly foreign students or local students studying abroad decades ago.
  2. The mainstream Muslim organisations were dabbling in the Islamist waters in the past but were reaching out to actors in opposition to the MB, too.
  3. The genuine supporters of the MB were political activists found either as splinter groups from larger organisations or were not formally organised at all.
  4. Loosely connected to the idea of political Islam were groups with ties to actors who support the MB and spread religious and political influence, but do not strictly follow the MB ideology.

Get more details in the report below.