Mohammed bin Salman, Trump discuss Bin Laden’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

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Al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood was part of wider discussions on the issue of extremism across the region during discussions between Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and United States President Donald Trump.

During talks on Thursday between the Saudi prince and Trump – considered the first between any Muslim and Arab leader with the current American administration – Bin Laden history of coordinating terror attacks were discussed.

“This includes the actions of Al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden, about whom his deputy, Al-Zawahiri, said in his memorial speech that Osama was among Muslim Brotherhood since he was a college student, and Al-Zawahiri himself was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as well,” a senior adviser to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted by Bloomberg news as saying.

“Al-Zawahiri added that Osama Bin Laden delayed the terrorist attacks on the US more than once, aiming to collect as many Saudis as possible to conduct the attacks, in order to harm the relations between the two countries,” the senior adviser added.

Zawahiri is believed to be seeking refuge in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area that is the Taliban’s base. (Reuters)
Zawahiri is believed to be seeking refuge in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area that is the Taliban’s base. (Reuters)

Both Trump and bin Salman agreed during their meeting that “terrorist groups” were recruiting fighters in Saudi Arabia in order to legitimize themselves as Saudi Arabia was seen as a “leading country in the Islamic World”.

The discussion follows a similar one between Trump and Saudi King Salman, who first talked over the phone immediately following the former’s inauguration as US president in January.

Trump and King Salman discussed the Muslim Brotherhood, a source confirmed at the time, adding in a reference to the late al-Qaeda leader: "It was mentioned that Osama bin Laden was recruited at an early stage" by the organization.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. US officials and sources close to Trump's transition team have said discussion is under way in the Trump administration on whether the United States should also declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization and subject it to US sanctions.

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