U.S. weighs designating Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group


"The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern and this designation is working its way through the internal process", said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

According to the paper, which cited officials familiar with the matter, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urged US President Donald Trump to take the step during a April 9 visit to the White House. The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, Syria and Yemen have apparent ties to militants, while the group in Jordan bills itself as a political group, said Schanzer, who advises against a "blanket terrorist designation" of the group.

The Times also said the decision has caused infighting at the White House, including during a meeting held last week by the National Security Council that included top officials from different departments. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi replaced Mubarak, but was overthrown himself in 2013 during a military uprising led by el-Sisi, who at the time served as Egypt's minister of defense and commander-in-chief of Egyptian armed forces. But the movement is now banned and thousands of its supporters and much of its leadership have been jailed.

During their White House talks, Trump praised Sisi for 'doing a great job, ' saying the United States and Egypt had 'never had a better relationship'.

Some conservatives have argued for years that the Brotherhood, which was founded in Egypt in 1928 and sought to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate by peaceful means, has been a breeding ground for terrorists.

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Importantly, though, The Wall Street Journal reports that it is not "immediately known whether the Trump administration's designation would apply only to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, or to the set of Islamist movements across the world that are informally referred to as the Muslim Brotherhood".

Jason Blazakis, a former State Department official who oversaw the FTO designation process, voiced concern that US right-wing groups would be encouraged to call for legal action against domestic Muslim advocacy organizations. The interim government who replaced Morsi banned the Brotherhood after violent clashes with authorities and terror attacks.

Yet the group has inspired many terrorists, and terrorist groups like Hamas are branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also could further strain USA relations with Turkey.

The Trump administration is exploring the possibility of classifying the Muslim Brotherhood, a loose-knit organization with deep ties to radical Islamic terrorism, as a foreign terrorist organization.