The Daily Wire reported last November that Trump officials had suggested they would advance legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood an official terrorist organization. It looks like, once again, President Trump is following through with his promises. This week, the Trump administration held serious discussions on issuing orders to label both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as terrorist organizations.
“The proposal to declare [the Brotherhood] 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,” reports The New York Times. “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.”
Already, President Trump has called for renewed sanctions against the Islamic Republic Iran in a direct blow to former President Obama’s policy of appeasement.
While an order against the IRGC has support within the White House, according to the Times, “momentum behind the Muslim Brotherhood proposal seems to have slowed in recent days amid objections from career officials at the State Department and the National Security Council, who argue that there is no legal basis for it and that it could alienate allies in the region. Former officials said that they had been told the order would be signed on Monday, but that it had now been put off at least until next week.”
Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s policy instincts about the Muslim Brotherhood have precedent in Congress. Last November, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) co-sponsored legislation along with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), demanding that President Obama label the Muslim Brotherhood an official foreign terrorist organization. The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act prefaces its conclusions with comprehensive research and historical precedent. “Multiple countries have declared the Society of the Muslim Brothers (commonly known as the ‘‘Muslim Brotherhood’’) a terrorist organization or proscribed the group from operating in their countries,” begins the bill. The bill didn’t make it through the winding roads of bureaucracy as a result of the Obama administration’s apparent sympathies for the Islamist group.
To be clear, the Muslim Brotherhood is unequivocally a terrorist organization. Those that defend its merits are terrorist sympathizers. The history of the self-proclaimed “political group” is marred by bloodshed, violence, and moral depravity. Like Boko Haram, al-Shabab, and ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist death cult masquerading as a religio-political movement.
The most recognizable arm of the Muslim Brotherhood operates from the jihadist epicenter of Egyptian fringe politics. According to the BBC’s comprehensive profile, the group is plagued by underlying contradictions. “Founded by Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood – or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun in Arabic – has influenced Islamist movements around the world with its model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work,” documents the BBC. “The movement initially aimed simply to spread Islamic morals and good works, but soon became involved in politics, particularly the fight to rid Egypt of British colonial control and cleanse it of all Western influence.”
The Brotherhood’s anti-West animus informs its violent political philosophies and Islamic supremacist doctrines. “While the Ikhwan say that they support democratic principles, one of the group’s stated aims is to create a state ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia. Its most famous slogan, used worldwide, is: ‘Islam is the solution,” notes the BBC.
Grounded in the teachings of the Koran and the Hadiths, the Muslim Brotherhood is ambivalent about the modern nation-state and hostile to secular democracy. Operating from the underbelly of Egyptian society and undermining democratic reforms for several decades, the Brotherhood reached its zenith in 2012 when it helped oust Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and elect party loyalist Mohammad Morsi. After threatening to override the constitutionally-sanctioned safeguards of judicial checks and balances on the executive office of the Egyptian presidency, Morsi was deposed by a second people’s revolution. Fortunately, the crisis of a new Islamic theocracy in the Middle East was averted, and the Muslim Brotherhood again faded back into the shadows.
Nevertheless, the ideology and political influence of the Brotherhood has spread across the Middle East, especially after the failure of the Arab Spring. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “Many of its members…have engaged in terrorist activities and the group has spawned numerous terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.” As a collective, the group is suspected to be responsible for the 2002 suicide bombing in Grozny as well as the unprovoked shooting massacre of 50 Syrian artillery cadets at the military academy in Aleppo.
But even if administration officials come to a consensus that the national security benefits of labeling the Brotherhood a terrorist organization outweigh the potential geopolitical of alienating elements within the Muslim world, or perhaps even allies, that could prove instrumental in the war against ISIS, President Trump may be wary about issuing yet another polarizing executive order in the wake of the so-called “Muslim ban” controversy.
After a series of public protests and court challenges, the Trump administration may face even more scrutiny by sue-happy grievance groups like Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations.