Trump Working to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terror Organization

Trump Working to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terror Organization

The Trump administration is planning to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, an effort that is "working its way through the internal process", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

According to a Tuesday report in The New York Times, the White House tasked national security and diplomatic officials with exploring ways the US could sanction the group following an April 9 meeting between US President Donald Trump and Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

During that meeting, el-Sisi reportedly urged the president to place the designation on the Muslim Brotherhood, to which the president responded in the affirmative, a response that Trump's advisers interpreted as a verbal commitment, the Times reported.

Another US ally friendly toward the Muslim Brotherhood is Qatar, with the issue becoming a key source of friction with its neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo support the decision, while others argue that the Muslim Brotherhood is more of a loosely organized movement than a unified group and therefore does not fit the criteria for designating it a terror organization.

But targeting the movement would be a major new impediment in United States ties with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed an Islamist foreign policy that includes support for the Muslim Brotherhood inside Egypt.

Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization could complicate Washington's relationship with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey. The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, and the impetus to designate it a terror group actually came from Egypt. El-Sisi was elected president in 2014, a year after leading a coup against former president Mohamed Morsi, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since Mr Morsi's ousting, thousands of Brotherhood members have been arrested.


Several political parties in Turkey, Tunisia and Jordan consider themselves as part of the Muslim Brotherhood or have ties to it.

However, the Pentagon, career national security staff, government lawyers and diplomatic officials have voiced legal and policy objections, and have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House.

The Muslim Brotherhood has emerged in recent years as a favorite bugbear for the U.S. far-right, with numerous social media users on Tuesday hailing Trump's push by sharing unfounded conspiracy theories that the group had infiltrated former president Barack Obama's administration or was attempting to impose Islamic sharia law in the United States.

Daniel Benjamin, former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism who now teaches at Dartmouth College, called the move mystifying.


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