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Republican Senators Reintroduce Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act

Republican Senators Reintroduce Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act

Saturday, 6 November, 2021 - 08:45
US Senator Ted Cruz (Reuters)

A draft bill presented by several US Republican Senators to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization sparked controversy, as many officials warn of its repercussions on Washington's relations with several friendly and allied countries.

US Senators Ted Cruz, Jim Inhofe, and Ron Johnson led a move that reintroduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.

The bill urges the Department of State to use its statutory authority to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Cruz said that it's time that "we join our allies in the Arab world in formally recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood for what they truly are—a terrorist organization."

"I'm proud to reintroduce this bill to urge the Biden administration to designate them as such and advance our nation's fight against terrorism."

The Senator stressed that "we have a duty to hold the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for their role in financing and promoting terrorism across the Middle East."

Earlier, Cruz criticized the Biden administration and Democratic senators from the House Committee on Appropriations for withholding $130 million worth of military aid to Egypt until Cairo released some Muslim Brotherhood political prisoners.

He also "blasted" President Biden's nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Barbara Leaf, slamming the Senate Democrats for trying to release "Muslim Brotherhood propagandist" who is "anti-semite and hate preacher."

US and Egypt will launch the strategic dialogue on Monday with the two delegations led by Foreign Ministers Anthony Blinken and Sameh Shoukry in Washington.

However, Republican and Democratic lawmakers objected to such bills, saying that classifying the group as terrorists may not be helpful because it is no longer a unified organization.

They warn that such classification might harm the US relations with many friendly and allied countries, led by Turkey. They also note that some Muslim Brotherhood affiliates who are not classified as extremists are members of Arab governments and parliaments.

In December 2020, Cruz submitted a similar bill to the Senate under the Trump administration. Several Arab countries classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars said the organization is a terrorist and does not represent Islam.

"The Muslim Brothers' Group is a terrorist group and [does not] represent the method of Islam, rather it blindly follows its partisan objectives that are running contrary to the guidance of our graceful religion, while taking religion as a mask to disguise its purposes to practice the opposite such as sedition, wreaking havoc, committing violence and terrorism," the council said in a statement.

The UAE Fatwa Council also confirmed that every group or organization that seeks to sedition or calls and practices for violence is a terrorist organization, regardless of the name and messages.

In 2014, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and seven members of Congress introduced the first bill to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Three years later, Cruz and several senators reintroduced the bill.

The bill calls for imposing sanctions against "persons who knowingly provide material support or resources to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliates, associated groups, or agents, and for other purposes."

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