The White House is considering designating the MuslimBrotherhood a terrorist group, The New York Times is reporting.
According to the newspaper, President Trump’s advisers aredebating the move, which would cut off funding to the MuslimBrotherhood and related groups in the U.S.
An announcement that had been planned for as early as Monday ofthis week was recently delayed while the debate continues.
According to The Times, some members of theNational Security Council and career State Department officials arecritical of the designation, which would place the MuslimBrotherhood in the same category as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, anddozens of other violent groups.
Unlike those groups, Muslim Brotherhood is more looselyorganized and does not directly embrace terrorism. While it hassome violent offshoots, namely Hamas, other Muslim Brotherhoodaffiliates are purely political or civic in nature.
The Muslim Brotherhood functions as an umbrella group with apresence in virtually all Middle Eastern and Arabic nations. TheObama administration was allied with Egypt when it was controlledby Mohamad Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood figure who took over aspresident from Hosni Mubarak following his forced resignation in2011. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is also allied withthe organization.
The Muslim Brotherhood also has connections to the U.S. throughMuslim organizations like the Council on American-IslamicRelations, the Islamic Society of North America, the MuslimAmerican Society and the Islamic Circle of North America all havefoundational ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Most of the groups have downplayed those links to the MuslimBrotherhood or denied that such links currently exist.
Any executive branch move on the terrorism designation wouldhave at least some congressional support.
Last month, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Rep. MarioDiaz-Balart re-introduced bills in their respective chamberscalling on for the Muslim Brotherhood terror designation.
“I am proud to reintroduce these bills that would codify neededreforms in America’s war against radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruzsaid in a statement last month. “This potent threat to ourcivilization has intensified under the Obama administration due tothe willful blindness of politically-correct policies that hamperour safety and security.” (RELATED: Republicans Propose Bills DesignatingIranian Guard and Muslim Brotherhood As TerrorGroups)
Several White House advisers are believed to be supportive of aterror designation for Muslim Brotherhood.
Steve Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News and Trump’schief strategist, has been heavily critical of the MuslimBrotherhood. As The Times notes, a film that Bannon developed in2007 called the group “the foundation of modern terrorism.”
Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s deputy national security assistant anda former Breitbart editor, has also tied the Muslim Brotherhood toterrorist activity.
On his now-defunct website, Gorka lists the Muslim Brotherhoodunder a “Terrorism” header.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, has alsopraised Egyptian president Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi, a former generalwho took over in 2013 after a coup ousted the Muslim Brotherhoodfrom power. (RELATED: Michael Flynn Flip-Flopped On TurkishCoup In Recent Months)
Reached by The Daily Caller, the White House declined to commentfurther on The Times report.
Not surprisingly, groups like CAIR oppose any terror designationfor the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We believe it is just a smokescreen for a witch hunt targetingthe civil rights of American Muslims,” CAIR spokesman IbrahimHooper told The Times.
He argued that the designation would be used in a politicalcampaign “to attack” groups and individuals accused of having tiesto the Muslim Brotherhood and “to marginalize the American Muslimcommunity and to demonize Islam.”
CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 HolyLand Foundation terror financing case. The Texas-based Holy LandFoundation funneled money to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhoodoffshoot.