The Muslim Brotherhood received some bad news on Tuesday.
The White House revealed that the Trump administration is working to officially recognize the controversial group as a foreign terrorist organization.
This decision reportedly comes after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited the White House in April and asked President Trump to make the move against the group.
“We’ve never had a better relationship, Egypt and the United States, than we do right now,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office when al-Sisi visited.
He added that the Egyptian president is “a great person” and “doing a great job” as the country’s leader.
The recognition as a terrorist organization would mean economic and travel sanctions against more than a million members of the Muslim Brotherhood spread across the Middle East. Once the designation officially goes through, individuals and companies who associate with the Muslim Brotherhood will face those sanctions too.
Being labeled a terrorist organization would also make it easier to remove immigrants from the United States who have previously been associated with the Brotherhood. Americans would also be banned from funding the group or helping them in any way.
Egypt already recognizes the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Sisi overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a former leader in the Brotherhood, in 2013.
“The President has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders revealed in a public statement.
The Muslim Brotherhood began in Egypt in the 1920s, but it now spread across a variety of countries. To be considered a terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood needs to engage in terrorist activities that put the security of the United States at risk.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has ties to militant groups, has officially denied being involved in terror activities and claims to support democracy.
Along with being outlawed in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is also seen as a terrorist group in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to The New York Times, which first reported on the administration’s intentions, there are disagreements within the U.S. government about labeling the Brotherhood a terrorist threat. Officials within the Pentagon are reportedly trying to negotiate for a more moderate compromise.
There has been talk of officially condemning the Muslim Brotherhood since at least 2017.
“By calling for the entire group to be designated as a terrorist organization, the Trump administration is making an extraordinarily broad policy determination that will harm the participation of Muslim groups in democratic processes,” Laura Pitter, senior U.S. national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, told The Wall Street Journal about the Muslim Brotherhood back then.
She added, “The Muslim Brotherhood is a large and complex political organization operating in many countries.”
The group being seen as a terrorist threat by the United States would create problems for some American groups with ties to the wide-ranging organization.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also reportedly supports the Muslim Brotherhood, which would also no doubt present issues should the United States actually end up recognizing the group as a terror threat.
Some U.S. lawmakers have been accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) reportedly once spoke at an the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference. The group was later revealed to be one of many launched by the Muslim Brotherhood to push their agendas within the United States.
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