Trump administration debates designating Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group | Reuters
CAIRO – 21 October 2017: In response to a question posed by FOX News anchor Sean Hannity on whether the U.S. should designate the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a terrorist organization, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said the U.S. is a country with its own respected agenda, and it may take some time for the country to recognize terrorist groups and their impact on the whole world.
In the wake of assuming responsibilities as the presidency of the United States, and given his anti-extremism-themed narrative, Donald Trump was highly expected to pick up the speed of labeling the MB as a foreign terrorist group.
Congressmen like Ted Cruz have long encouraged labeling the MB as a foreign terrorist organization, “a move that should have been implemented early on,” Frank Gaffney, the creator of a 10-part video titled “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within,” said on Monday during an online radio meeting with a former Department of Homeland Security employee, Phil Haney.
In short time before Trump’s inauguration, Republican Senator Ted Cruz tabled a bill that designates the MB as a terrorist organization. The decision has dragged heels until today.
Gaffney, who also serves as the president of the Center for Security Policy, said he attributed the overdue move by the U.S. administration to designate the MB as a terrorist organization as possibly an infiltration of some of the group’s members into the U.S. Cabinet.
In a report released on March 24, 2017, National Public Radio (NPR) argued that the presence of the MB among Americans became “controversial,” citing an investigation launched lately into an MB-linked Muslim charity called the Holy Land Foundation, which led to the sacking of its five employees over charges of having funneled money to Hamas’ military wing.
The report cites that such move is feared by a number of civil rights organizations to further lead to a brazen crackdown on Muslim in America.
“A memorandum written in 1991 from one Muslim Brotherhood member in the United States to others in the group's leadership, laid out a plan for ‘civilizational jihad’ in America. There is no evidence, however, that the memorandum was approved by the Brotherhood leadership,” the NPR report added.
The director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security was quoted by the NPR as saying that the MB may maintain financial links to their U.S.-based supporters.
“A wide range of considerations go into the decision to designate any entity a terrorist organization. This is not something that is generally done lightly, or quickly. It is done with a careful consideration of the facts, over a period of time,” Hady Amr, a former U.S. diplomat for Israel, Palestine, Gulf and Arab Economy and a researcher at Brookings, told Egypt Today.
In June, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that blacklisting the MB as a “totality” would complicate U.S. relations in the Middle East. He added, “but at the top of the quality chain, if I can call it that, there are elements of [MB] that have now become parts of governments,” Tillerson said, referring to MB elements in the Turkish Parliament.
Turkey has been forcefully siding with the MB, and mutual relations have been strained since the ouster of ex-MB President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
“The United States' administration has wanted for some time to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, but has held off so far. One of the factors for the delay is Turkey’s opposition to the designation,” Tom Little, an international affairs specialist for the U.S. army, told Egypt Today.
“Turkey is a key strategic partner with the United States in the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Turkey has threatened to withdraw this support if the United States goes ahead with designating the Muslim Brotherhood. This would be a serious blow to the United States in that region. Negotiations with Turkey continue to find a successful resolution and maintain their cooperation in Syria and Iraq,” Little further illustrated, adding that the delay of such a move doesn’t negate the U.S. commitment to the global war on terror.
Since December 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist group in Egypt.