Lawmakers at the House of Congress’ Subcommittee on National Security gathered for a hearing on Wednesday “to examine the threat of Muslim Brotherhood to the United States and its interests and how to effectively counter it.” (MORE HERE).
According to Free Beacon, the State Department has opposed formal designation of the Brotherhood for some time due to efforts by the Obama administration to make diplomatic overtures to the group, particularly during its coup in Egypt.
Although the Trump administration has designated various offshoots of the Brotherhood as global terror groups, the organization as a whole has escaped U.S. scrutiny.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has generated a network of affiliates in over 70 countries," the House committee notes on its website promoting the hearing.
Past efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood failed to gain traction during the Obama administration and U.S. Muslim advocacy organizations such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, have galvanized their supporters to oppose a Muslim Brotherhood designation, according Free Beacon.
However, now the reality is different as US president’s administration looks more firm in eradicating radical forces in the world and the Middle East, according to experts.
While the Trump administration, as early as January 2017, indicated that it was considering a terror designation for the entire Muslim Brotherhood, little action has been taken, motivating Congress to lead the charge.
However recently, the State Department designated two Brotherhood-affiliates, namely HASM and Liwa al-Thawra, and Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh, as “Specifically Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT)” under an executive order.
The following is the bill, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon: (Click on image to read)
The site added that key U.S. allies such as Qatar continue to work alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, sparking concern among lawmakers who view these countries as working at a crossroads with Donald Trump administration.
Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said in his testimony, “With Qatar for example, it has become the Arab national safe haven for former Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood luminaries and activists. They have provided them not only safe haven but a global perch from which to spread their ideology and hegemony,”
“Their media arm, Al Jazeera, is reportedly staffed by upwards of 90 percent MB sympathizers. Their position on the MB has placed them squarely in the crosshairs of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt,” he added.
“It is not surprising that along with Qatar’s relationship with the Brotherhood it is also very sympathetic politically ideologically and economically with Iran and its Khomeinists. This schism within the Sunni region led to an embargo last year on Qatar that remains until Saudi demands are met with abandonment of the Muslim brotherhood being primary.”
Experts in the region believe that the origin of terrorist ideology in the Muslim world finds itself in the Brotherhood’s fertile soil.
The Abbottabad documents which reveal details about al-Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden, provides more spotlight on that.
In a column published in Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, Abdelmonem Saeed, the Egyptian commentator, said that the origin of terrorist ideology in our Muslim world finds itself in the Brotherhood’s fertile soil.
“What’s interesting in these papers is that the origin of terrorist ideology which dominated the man’s ideas came from studying the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology,” Saeed wrote.
After introducing the Brotherhood’s history and how they misled others particularly to monopolize the Muslim voice in western countries – which is really dangerous – Saeed concluded: “The Brotherhood is the first incubator of terrorist groups and their major and global school. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are not the first men to graduate from the Brotherhood’s school and they are probably not the last.”
There is no doubt about Bin Laden’s Brotherhood ties as he himself spoke about them, whether in the Abbottabad documents or in his secret and public statements.
American author Lawrence Wright provided valuable insight about al-Qaeda in his rich book ‘The Looming Tower’. Wright’s book provided evidence to how Bin Laden was raised based on the Brotherhood’s principles. Wright even noted that Bin Laden’s true relations are linked to the Brotherhood and not the Salafists.
As for Zawahiri, it’s actually clearer. Zawahiri’s ties are linked to the Brotherhood and Qutb. No one can argue about that as he himself addressed this in his famous book ‘The Bitter Harvest’.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi said “If you take a look at these figures and groups and look into some incidents, such as Sayyid Qutb’s 1965 organization, the Military Academy Group, Sadat’s murderers, Mustafa Bouyali’s group in Algeria, Marwan Hadid in Syria, Youssef al-Qardawi, Saad al-Faqih, Wajdi Ghoneim, Ali Benhadj, Abdelhakim Belhadj and Ali al-Sallabi, you will realize they are all connected to the Brotherhood.”
Other experts say that there are many reasons, related to Brotherhood’s history and ideology, that make its designation as terrorist group the right decision.