For some observers, the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood (Jama'a al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin), founded by Hasan al-Banna in Port Said, Egypt, in 1928, has become nearly equivalent with Islamism, the radical utopian ideology that seeks to make Muslims rich and powerful through complete and severe application of Islamic law, the Shari'a. One hears of the MB providing the key ideas, of it penetrating the U.S. government, inspiring the new caliphate, dominating the Turkish state, and more.
But this is inaccurate; while the Muslim Brotherhood is an important institution with international reach, it (1) is a specific organization that (2) represents only one of several competing Islamist strands. Other major strands include the Wahhabi, the Khomeinist, and the Deobandi. Different and competing visions, Sunni or Shi'i, each has its own tactics and personnel. For an analogy, think of the competing Communist strands: Troskyist, Stalinist, Titoist, Maoist, and so on.
For example, the Wahhabi doctrine of Arabia, and not the Muslim Brotherhood, has spawned such groups as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Therefore, "Muslim Brotherhood" should be applied to that organization and not as a synonym for "Islamism." (August 23, 2014)