On Thursday, Reuters reported that sources close to President Donald Trump’s transition team have been in talks about whether or not the U.S. should officially declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Sources have stated that Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn is in favor of adding the Islamic group to the list.
“I know it has been discussed. I’m in favor of it,” one of Trump’s transition advisors, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
The advisor also noted that while it’s been debated, it’s unclear whether or not they will go forward with the terrorist designation. Others within the Trump team reportedly argue that the Muslim Brotherhood evolved into a peaceful group in some countries. They say that the U.S. making the move to designate the entire group as a terrorist organization may complicate the relationship the U.S. has with Muslim-led countries that are allies in the fight against ISIS, such as Turkey.
In 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terror organization in Egypt, the Islamic organizations birthplace. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also consider the brotherhood to be a terror organization.
Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart introduced legislation to designate the Brotherhood a terror group just this month.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a multinational Islamic organization that identifies itself as a religious, political, and social movement that promotes Sharia law as “the basis for controlling the affairs of state and society.” While the group itself says that they condemn acts of violence to spread their messages, terror groups such as Hamas have been influenced by them to carry out jihadist attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood Twitter account has openly shared its support and alignment with Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that pledges to destroy Israel. In November, Twitter verified the official Muslim Brotherhood account.
A lawmaker from Kuwait named Mohammad Dallal and is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood spoke to the Wall Street Journal and said that adding the Brotherhood to the list will support violence.
“Muslim Brothers are part of the society. If you go and try to make pressure against them, you are supporting the violence. You are supporting ISIS. You are supporting al Qaeda,” he said. “Those kind of terrorist people will be saying: ‘We told you so.’ They will never accept democracy. They will never accept your participation in elections.”
Maha Azzam, the head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council that is run by the Brotherhood said that labeling them a terror organization will only implore people to create violence.
“It will make a lot of young people angry. And if they are labeled as being in a violent group, that may actually encourage some of them to move in that direction,” he told the WSJ.
The White House has not yet commented on the matter.