Banna, Hassan Al- (1906–1949)

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BANNA, HASSAN AL- (1906–1949)

Egyptian activist, born in 1906 near Alexandria, and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (Society of Muslim Brothers), he entered a mystic brotherhood at the age of thirteen. In 1922, when Egypt had just obtained a limited independence from England, he matriculated at a school for primary teachers. In September 1927 he became an instructor at a primary school in Ismailia, the home of the Suez Canal Company and a town with many foreign residents. He spoke publicly against foreign, liberal ways and in March 1928 he started the first chapter of the Society of Muslim Brothers, which advocated establishing a religious state in Egypt. Twenty years later he was supervising some 2,000 chapters of this fraternity all over Egypt, and the distribution of the society's publication all over the Islamic world. After World War II the society established a militia, which participated in the Arab-Israel War of 1948–1949, and committed a number of assassinations and other acts of violence against the Egyptian government. The government banned the Brotherhood in December 1948; the society assassinated the minister who had banned it. Hasan al-Banna was killed by the police a few weeks later, on 12 February 1949.

SEE ALSO Arab-Israel War (1948); Muslim Brotherhood.