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.”