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An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America is a document written in 1991 by Mohammed Akram Adlouni, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Holy Land Foundation, that is used as a basis for Islamophobic conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood is plotting to subvert "Western values" and advance "civilizational jihad" in the United States. It is cited as evidence that "creeping Sharia" is real, and a threat to North America.
Content of the Memorandum
The bulk of the memorandum (which is only 15 pages in the Arabic version) describes a strategy to create more Muslim schools and political advocacy groups across the country, as well as settling Muslims in North America and fostering a community for them. It contains the following passage, parts of which are often cited:
The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the word means. The Ikhwan [brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.
The "must understand" wording is generally taken by researchers on Islam to mean that the author is expressing his desire for what the Brotherhood should do, rather than what it already is planning to do, and perhaps a "missionary strategy."
There is no evidence that a plot to actually accomplish this exists, that this is one of the Muslim Brotherhood's goals, or that the Memorandum was even seen by anyone besides its author until it was discovered during the investigation. The writing style of the Arabic original was also deemed peculiar after linguistic analysis, and many of the neologisms in the Memorandum, such as "civilizational jihad", show no evidence of spreading.
The Memorandum was discovered by authorities in a 2004 raid while investigating the Holy Land Foundation for money laundering and for funding terrorism. It was ruled to not be relevant to the charges laid against the HLF, or as evidence of an actual conspiracy. Though it is not technically a hoax, its importance has been greatly exaggerated.
Use in Conspiracy Theories
The Memorandum is depicted as authentic proof of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to subvert Western Civilization by Brigitte Gabriel's ACT for America, Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, the Clarion Project, and Pamela Geller.
- https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America] by Mohamed Akram (May 22, 1991) The Investigative Project on Terrorism (Complete Arabic version with English translation).
- An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America by Mohamed Akram (May 19, 1991) The Investigative Project on Terrorism (some extracted quotes in English).