The Trump administration plans to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said April 30, 2019, the designation is “working its way through the internal process.”
Clarion Project has been at the forefront of a push for this move since Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill to do so in Congress in 2015. The bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support, included comprehensive documentation about the Muslim Brotherhood‘s involvement in terrorism.
Clarion Project spearheaded a campaign to educate legislators and move the bill forward.
Clarion Project National Security Analyst and Shillman Fellow Ryan Mauro noted, “Because the Brotherhood is not designated as a terrorist group, it is able to operate within the U.S. via a network of fronts, allowing the organization to wield political and ideological influence and marginalize competing Muslim groups which don’t share their anti-Western vision.”
The Brotherhood is banned as a terrorist organization by the governments of Egypt, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria.
The U.S. designated the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing—Hamas— as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997, but the group as a whole is allowed to operate in the U.S.
“We have to stop pretending that the Brotherhood are not responsible for the terrorism they advocate and finance … We have to see it for what it is: a key international organization dedicated to waging violent jihad,” Cruz said.
The designation has the support of National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The New York Times reported that others, including the Defense Department have “voiced legal and policy objections” and “have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House.”
The move comes after a meeting last month between President Trump and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. After that meeting, the administration “directed national security and diplomatic officials to find a way to place sanctions on the group.”
Although The New York Times reported the oft-quoted remark by the Brotherhood that the organization renounced violence decades ago, that statement is at odds with the facts.