This article examines the founding, social origins, and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria from 1945 to 1958. The organization was influenced ideologically by the original Egyptian Brotherhood, but its founding was essentially an independent move. Unlike its Egyptian counterpart during this period, the Syrian Brotherhood was a participant in parliamentary politics. Its discourse was reflective of this fact, and in public it emphasized the universal nature of its message and eschewed sectarianism in Syria’s divided society. An examination of internal documents, however, reveals that the organization was concerned with protecting Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority. While in Egypt the Ikhwan developed in opposition to the establishment ‘ulama’, which were seen as being unresponsive to the needs of Muslims in a modern society, in Syria the ‘ulama’ played a leading role in the organization.