Anonymous began in 2008, protesting against the religion of Scientology, but has since expanded, supporting largely “progressive” causes, such as Wikileaks, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and the “Arab Spring.” A blog associated with the movement has posted videos of Tahrir Square, where Egyptians rallied and called for the resignation of President Mubarak earlier this year.
In a previous video press release Anonymous claimed that it was “not a group of hackers,” and described its associates as “internet citizens.” The press release also claimed they had no interest in stealing credit card numbers or target critical infrastructure.
However, according to a statement on the MB’s official website, “MB technical teams and engineers will deal with the message of ‘Anonymous’ as a serious threat, and will take necessary measures to secure its websites.”
The voice in the Anonymous anti-MB video claims “The Muslim Brotherhood has become a threat to the revolution Egyptians had fought for, some with their lives,” and says that “they seek to destroy the sovereignty of the people of Egypt as well as other nations including the United States.”
Anonymous is a loose movement without a leadership, and it is probable that several different groups are using its name and logo. Notably, the logo that appears in the Operation Brotherhood Takedown video is a low-resolution image, while those in many other Anonymous videos are high-resolution. This suggests that the anti-MB group does not have access to the original graphics file, and took their logo from another website. As such, it may have little connection to the original Anonymous movement that sprang up in the US in 2008, beyond ideological affinity.
In its statement, the MB says they have obtained the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses “of those responsible for this operation” and that “some of them [the Anonymous activists] are Egyptian expatriates.” Every computer or internet device has an IP address assigned to it, based on location. However, internet activists often use software to temporarily adopt a foreign IP address.
However, it is highly likely that the anti-MB Anonymous group does include Egyptians. It is also probable that there are a few former MB members among them.
The Anonymous group states that many of its members “are Muslim.” It also praises the original ideals of the Brotherhood, saying it “started as a benevolent group of people with fair and just intentions,” and that it became a corrupt and “power-hungry organization bent on taking over sovereign Arab states in its quest to seize power from them.”
Earlier this year MB youth leaders Mohamed el-Kasaas and Mohamed Abbas broke with the Brotherhood to protest against President Mubarak. After the revolution, the MB suffered from internal conflict, with younger members accusing it of cronyism. The MB consequently expelled one of its popular, more moderate, leaders, Abdel Monim Abou el-Fotouh.
It may also be noteworthy that the anti-MB Anonymous group accuses the MB of using the tactics of the Church of Scientology and Freemasonry. “They claim to be anti-Freemasonry,” the video says, “however they follow distinct principles taken from it.” Conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry (a fraternity founded in London during the 18th century) and Zionists are extremely common in the Middle East, and Freemasonry is portrayed as an enemy of Islam in the Charter of Hamas, often regarded as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.