‘No group embodies the threat of radical Islamism more than the Muslim Brotherhood…’
The White House reportedly directed national security officials to place sanctions on the group after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to officials familiar with the interaction.
Earlier this month, President Trump met with el-Sisi, who urged the president to join Egypt in designating the radical group a terror organization.
Doing so would include economic and travel sanctions on any person or company who interacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed to The Times that the administration was strongly considering the move.
“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,” Sanders said.
According to The Times, the move has left the Trump administration conflicted.
Trump’s top advisers, including national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, support the designation, but Pentagon officials have voiced concerns over the effect it could have on U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
The Muslim Brotherhood has consistently used violence to force society members to follow Islamic law, harshly punishing those who break religious code. It first began in Egypt, but el-Sisi has cracked down hard on the group, detaining thousands of its members.
El-Sisi also urged former President Barack Obama to denounce the Muslim Brotherhood, but he reportedly refused, citing legal and policy concerns, according to The Times.
Congress has also considered labeling the Muslim Brotherhood an extreme terror threat. Last July, the Subcommittee on National Security under the House Oversight Committee met to discuss how the U.S. should label the group.
Then-Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who was the subcommittee’s chairman at the time, said it’s no longer a question of whether the group is a terrorist organization.
“No group embodies the threat of radical Islamism more than the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jassar, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who testified before the committee.
“Simply put: there is no ‘moderate’ Muslim brotherhood,” Jassar said. “That is a misnomer. Every arm of the organization goes towards the purpose of supporting its central primary mission of Islamist hegemony and rule.”