What follows is a fascinating (at least from a historical point-of-view) account of the Muslim Brotherhood from a 1952 article in the American Mercury magazine, a popular news analysis periodical from the period. It appears that the author, Serge Fliegers, interviewed MB founder Hassan al-Banna several times,
"When I first met him in Cairo, be was still a shy man with nervous hands and shifty black-button eyes. His black collier style beard was unkempt, and even the tassel on his red tarboush looked anemic and frazzled. His short, stocky frame was accentuated by an Egyptian zootsuit: loud stripes, wide, almost bell bottomed trousers, and a jacket that came nearly to his knees. Like the usual brand of dictators and apprentice-fuehrers, al Banna was a bad conversationalist. He could speak effectively to a crowd, but began to falter and stutter in a question-and-answer interview. El Banna's shyness increased when he had anything to do with women...During a subsequent interview, el Banna looked more opulent with a lush tassel to his fez and a better cut suit. But his vaticinations were as frightening as before. He wanted "one state and one religion, from Casablanca to Karachi." He wanted to abolish elections and parliaments. And, as in the medieval days of Haroun al Rashid, this "super-state" was to be ruled by a Caliph. Naturally, that anointed rules was to be Sheikh Hassan el Banna.
And he certainly had a better grasp of the group's history (compared to this recent BBCNews report):
El Banna became sincerely dissatisfied with the social injustices be experienced every day. He started preaching in a mosque...and soon he found himself at the head of a small group of malcontents, men who resented foreigners and their luxuries, and wanted to return to Islamic austerity. To them, el Banna preached intoxicating visions of a Brotherhood that would rule the Moslem world, whose members would enforce the ancient laws of Islam, who would stone to head an adulteress, for example, and cut out the tongue of a man accused of perjury. "We will wield the Koran and the sword," el Banna used to screech, "and we will exterminate all unbelievers."Wealthier Arabs derided this group of "insurgents," and el Banna took them to task: "Those who criticize us have fed from the tables of Europe. They want to live as Europe has taught them -- to dance, to drink, to revel, to mix the sexes openly and in public."
There's an account of MB violence that could be dropped into any newspaper today:
They met almost weekly as the Middle East was rocked again and again by news of brutal and often senseless attacks and killings. In Damascus, a synagogue was bombed. In Zig-a-Zag, Egypt, a Coptic Christian church was destroyed. In Alexandria, a girl was shot because she work make-up and dated foreigners. In Cairo two Americans, Stephen Hass and his wife, were beaten to death as they left the historic Citadel...El Banna's slogans began to appear on the walls of Arab capital: "Only one faith from now on, Islam"; or "No more of the cross in Egypt!" and "Today the English, tomorrow the Christians!"
Of course, there's also a Soviet angle:
No outsider knew where el Banna had procured his funds, except, perhaps, the round-shouldered gentleman in the fez. In addition to being a gentlemen and the very soul of politeness, this fellow also happened to be First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Cairo. Going by the fanciful name of Abdul Rahman Sultanov, he was in charge of approaching Arab nationalist group with an offer to help them with his advice and his bank account.
Ha! I love it. I wonder how much of that turned out to be true? You have to read the whole, juicy article to have a full sense of the role the MB played in this formative time. Unfortunately, it's not available in electronic format. I've reproduced it in 6 jpeg files: Page 23; Pages 24-25, Pages 26-27, Pages 28-29, Pages 30-31, Page 32. If you don't want to print or read jpeg files, you're going to have to go to a major library and request the microform or hard copy, if they have it. The citation is:
Title: Murder Inc in the Middle East
Author: Serge Fliegers
Source: American Mercury (vol. 74, June 1952), pp: 23-32
I can't find much about Fliegers on the internet. He appears to have been an active foreign correspondent from the period, but there's nothing specific about the man and his accomplishments.