Designating Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization Would be Counterproductive for United States
Washington, D.C.—In response to reports that the Trump Administration could imminently designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:
Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization would be a counterproductive, unworkable policy that would cause serious problems for the Middle East, NATO, and the United States. It would also likely encourage violent extremism, as the Brotherhood offers an avenue for participation in peaceful democracy in some countries—suffocating that possibility would drive more to join real terrorist groups.
The move would also risk exposing those in the United States who support the Brotherhood to charges of material support for a terrorist group, a criminal offense.
The administration should know better. The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t ISIS. In fact, there is no one Muslim Brotherhood, and there are many Brotherhood-affiliated groups that participate in democracies, including in Tunisia and in Turkey—a NATO ally.
The motivations behind such a move are clear: This isn’t part of an effort to combat terrorism, it’s a capitulation to the demands of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The administration considered this idea previously and rejected it. If it was a bad idea then, it’s a bad idea now, no matter what Cairo and Abu Dhabi say.
Human Rights First has worked extensively in the Middle East for decades, documenting human rights abuses under various governments, including that of Brotherhood-supported former President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt.