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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

White House mulling Terrorist Designation for Muslim Brotherhood


White House mulling Terrorist Designation for Muslim Brotherhood. (NYTimes).

President Trump’s advisers are debating an order intended to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, targeting the oldest and perhaps most influential Islamist group in the Middle East.

But the Brotherhood calls for a society governed by Islamic law, and some of its former members and offshoots — most notably Hamas, the Palestinian group whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel — have been tied to attacks. Some advisers to Mr. Trump have viewed the Brotherhood for years as a radical faction secretly infiltrating the United States to promote Shariah law. They see the order as an opportunity to finally take action against it.

Officially designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization would roil American relations in the Middle East. The leaders of some American allies — like Egypt, where the military forced the Brotherhood from power in 2013, and the United Arab Emirates — have pressed Mr. Trump to do so to quash internal enemies, but the group remains a pillar of society in parts of the region.

The proposal to declare it a terrorist organization has been paired with a plan to similarly designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to current and former officials briefed on the deliberations. Leaders of the corps and its Quds Force unit have already been put on a government terrorist list, but Republicans have advocated adding the corps itself to send a message to Iran.

“The goals of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Mr. Gaffney said in a recent interview with The New York Times, are “exactly the same as the Islamic State, exactly the same as the Taliban, exactly the same as, you know, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Nusra Front, on and on, Al Shabab. It’s about Islamic supremacism. It’s about achieving the end state that is their due.”

It is unclear what form a presidential order would take. Presumably, Mr. Trump could direct Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to review whether the Brotherhood should be designated. At his confirmation hearing, Mr. Tillerson grouped the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda together as “agents of radical Islam.”

In recent years, offshoots have joined the political system, including Ennahda, a party that belongs to the governing coalition in Tunisia and has eschewed extremism. Even in Turkey, a NATO ally, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party has long supported the Muslim Brotherhood. Read the full story here.

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