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The Muslim Brotherhood Financial Infrastructure in Kuwait

The Kuwait branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was built slowly in the 1950s and 1960s, following the model of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It is known since 1961 as the Social Reform Association.

• It spent much of its first few decades focused primarily on charitable, educational, and social activities to propagate its message of building a more Islamic society. The Brotherhood dabbled in politics as well, running candidates in parliamentary elections and participating in student government, but it proceeded cautiously and earned a reputation for being loathe to alienate the regime.

• In the aftermath of the 1990 Iraqi invasion, the Kuwait Brotherhood underwent a period of significant change, breaking organizational ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood over Islamist support for Iraq and founding a political party, The Islamic Constitutional Movement or Hadas, to participate fully in Kuwaiti politics.

• Throughout the 1990s, the Brotherhood increased its investment in electoral politics. Hadas quickly established itself as an effective political party, working with other opposition forces and regularly winning several seats in parliament throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In the February 2012 elections for the National Assembly, Islamists and their allies triumphed—gaining thirty-four seats in the fifty-member parliament.

• Immediately following Morsi’s removal, Kuwaiti politicians began to accuse Hadas of being subservient to the Brotherhood in Egypt, engaging in terrorism and money laundering, and plotting a coup against the Kuwaiti government. Others called Hadas “dangerous”, warning of the Brotherhood’s infiltration of sensitive government ministries. Anonymous sources have accused the movement of corrupt activities such as misusing public funds and manipulating its influence in Kuwaiti institutions for its own benefit.

• The government has seized the opportunity to push back against the Brotherhood. Newspapers hostile to Hadas have reported on a purge being carried out against Brotherhood supporters in the government. Newspapers have quoted anonymous sources claiming that Brotherhood supporters in the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the Zakat House, and other governmental bodies have been retired or moved to marginalized offices.

• The Kuwaiti MB has two main nodes of influence in the country:
-The Commercial node includes Kuwait Finance House Bank and its Subsidiaries;
-The Da’wa (but also financial) node includes Bayt al-Zakat (Zakat House) organization.

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