TEXAS: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has introduced afresh legislation calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. Sen Cruz previously authored similar legislation in 2017. Congressman Mario Diaz Balart of Florida introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Known as the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, the bill would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to 12 relevant committees of the Congress detailing why or why not, the Muslim Brotherhood should be designated a terrorist organization. The State Department has the responsibility and authority to designate terrorist organizations and, reportedly, it is also the arm of the government most opposed to Senator Cruz’s efforts to have the Muslim Brotherhood so designated.
There has also been opposition behind the scenes from members of the Democrat party. The extent of that opposition was probably revealed recently with the revelation that the Biden administration appears to be pressuring Egyptian allies to release incarcerated members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Biden administration’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly surprising. The Obama-Biden administration repeatedly associated with Muslim Brotherhood leaders and operatives.
But there is hardly any justification for not designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and the administration’s refusal to do so amounts to providing aid and comfort to jihadists. America’s closest Arab allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have all designated the Muslim Brotherhood.
Most importantly, there is a clear and direct connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and violent jihad. The Muslim Brotherhood founded Hamas, the Jihadist terrorist organization dedicated to replacing Israel with an Islamic state. In fact, the Hamas charter self-identifies the terrorist group as a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the US State Department.
As the center has previously documented, this connection between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is more than sufficient to meet the legal requirement for designation under U.S. law. Under the Trump Administration, the US designated two known Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorist wings, HASM and Liwa al-Thawra, but did not achieve a designation of the entire international organization.
There is no justification for recognizing these Brotherhood affiliates as terrorist organizations but refusing to recognize its parent organization.
Designating the Muslim Brotherhood may be the single biggest policy step to getting U.S. Middle East policy back on track, and Senator Cruz is to be commended for keeping the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood front and center. The State Department needs to be held accountable for its refusal to admit links between the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist terrorism.