Muslim Brotherhood Launches Alternative Facebook

Muslim Brotherhood Launches Alternative Facebook


In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is a controversial group that is officially declared an illegal political organisation, whose members get often arrested and detained. The Brotherhood has members allover the Arab world and is closely linked to the Palestinian Hamas movement that is widely seen as a terrorist group.

The decision to create the newIkhwanFacebook is part of  the Brotherhood’s zealous endeavor to have a presence and wide outreach in the digital world. The “IkhwanFacebook” is yet another addition to a whole set of Brotherhood websites that include an “IkhwanWiki”, IkhwanWeb, and “IkhwanGoogle”. The latter is a search engine specialized in searching Muslim Brotherhood’s websites, forums and blogs.

Isolation or Integration?

The Brotherhood’s plan to create a parallel to Facebook has been debated and critized internally. “When I think today that I am calling people who are frequenting the internet to real Islam, I’ll also study where they are, what are the places they go to. I will not establish a site or a place for myself and say “OK, here I am. Whoever wants to find my ideas they can come to my place”. I find where those people are and I go to them,” said Mosab Ragab, a Brotherhood member in an interview with the Dubai based The National newspaper.

Mosab Ragab’s objections to the new Brotherhood online tool were reflected in a discussion in the IkhwanFacebook website about the involvement in the activities in this new network: Will the  alternative facebook consume the Brotherhood members’ and take away their presence from the original Facebook with its 400 million users? And consequently, lessen instead of strengthen the Brotherhood’s chances to reach new publics.


“The label of “Ikhwan” will certainly make this site away from the mainstream users, if I was not a Brotherhood member, I would have never joined in,” objected one voice in the discussion. Others were more optimists, noting that it is too early to make any kind of evaluation of the actual impact and outreach of this Facebook  parallel friendship network.

The Muslim Brothers, known in the Arab world as Al-ikhwan, which means the Brotherhood, is a Sunni transnational movement that was founded back in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna.

The Brotherhood’s stated goal according to their official website is “to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion.”

The Muslim brotherhood is believed to be the largest political opposition organization in Egypt and in many other Arab states.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement is banned in Egypt, and members have been arrested for their participation in it.Despite the ban, Muslim Brotherhood members ran in the Egyptian parliamentarian elections in 2005 as independents and won 8 seats.


Ikhwan Goes English

The Muslim Brotherhood’s internet strategy includes that many of the Brotherhood sites are published in English to reach out to Western publics. Besides the Ikhwanfacebook, which borrows many of the original Facebook social concepts, such as image and video sharing, live chatting and online “friendships”. The Brotherhood has created two official websites, the Arabic speaking “IkhwanOnline and the English speaking IkhwanWeb. They also have anIkhwanScope”, which is a news website that reflects a reading of current news from the perspective of the Brotherhood.

An “IkhwanPhobia” is another recent website, established in mid 2010. It is run by a group of Muslim Brotherhood academic intellectuals and has the objective to “act positively and effectively in response to accusations and allegations that face the Muslim Brotherhood” according to the websites official statement. Other internet tools established by the movement include an IkhwanWiki, which is an Arabic language wikipedia of the movement, its history, leaders, and ideas.

So far, the Brotherhood has not created its own alternative to the popular Youtube. But in joining Youtube, the Brotherhood didn’t just upload their videos, in stead they established their own channel on Youtube presenting video documentaries of the history of the group as well as interviews with many of the leading figures of the movement.