Trump set to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi asked Donald Trump to act against the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this month. (AFP)
Updated 30 April 2019

Trump set to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

  • Sanctions and ban on Islamist group that sows chaos are long overdue, analyst tells Arab News
  • Secretary of State Pompeo has long advocated designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump aims to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

The move would bring sanctions against the Islamist group’s leaders, make it a crime for any American to assist them, and ban its members from entering the US.

“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,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi asked Trump to issue the designation, which Egypt did in 2013, at a private meeting this month during a visit to Washington. The move is supported by US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo in particular has long advocated designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, and cosponsored legislation to do so when he was a member of Congress.

The group was founded in Egypt in 1928 and sought to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Its opponents argue that it has become a breeding ground for terrorists. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, joined the Brotherhood in the 1960s, when he was 14.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said it would be difficult to designate the entire Brotherhood network a terrorist group “but targeting the violent branches is certainly viable. That, in turn, can enable further designations based on financial ties.”

The Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri said the Trump administration was headed in the right direction. 

“It is about time for the US to unmask the Muslim Brotherhood for what it is — a terror organization that is in league with the Iranian regime,” he told Arab News.

“There is nothing religious or Muslim about this organization. It wears the mask of Islam to hoodwink the people of the region. It propounds a pernicious ideology of hate and destruction and creates chaos in the region. It is in league with Iran and one must remember that terror organizations like Al-Qaeda and Daesh drew inspiration from Muslim Brotherhood ideologues.

“The Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood share the same ideology. The explicit goal of both entities is to undermine the stability of our states and our region. They have been carrying on this nefarious activity for years. It is, therefore, good that the world is finally waking up to their misdeeds.

“It is about time for the European nations to do what the US is doing. They must follow the US example and ban the Muslim Brotherhood — only then will the war against terrorism succeed.”


Iran: Held US graduate student to be exchanged for scientist

Updated 53 min 15 sec ago

Iran: Held US graduate student to be exchanged for scientist

  • Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif makes announcement on Twitter on Saturday
  • Iran has detained dual nationals and those with Western ties in the past to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s foreign minister says a detained Princeton graduate student will be exchanged for an Iranian scientist held by the US.
Mohammad Javad Zarif made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday. The trade involves graduate student Xiyue Wang and scientist Massoud Soleimani. There was no immediate acknowledgment of the trade by the US lawyers involved in the cases could not be immediately reached.


Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad. His family and Princeton strongly denied the claims. Iran has detained dual nationals and those with Western ties in the past to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.
Soleimani — who works in stem cell research, hematology and regenerative medicine — was arrested by US authorities on charges he had violated trade sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran. He and his lawyers maintain his innocence, saying he seized on a former student’s plans to travel from the US to Iran in September 2016 as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research for a fraction of the price he’d pay at home.