US-President Donald Trump seriously considers labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization which implies that making business with the Islamist group becomes an offense under US-law. Hence, this move means a success for the conservatives who are critical towards the group’s ties to militant Islamist movements. Several countries like the United Arab Emirates, Syria or Russia banned its activities.
The Muslim Brotherhood was established in the 1920ies by the religious scholar Hassan Al-Banna and became increasingly influential in Egyptian society. In the 1950ies it was forced underground because it was blamed for violent attacks. Sayyid Qutb, one of the movement’s leaders, is known as the founder of modern jihadism. The Brotherhood’s ideology spread all over the Middle East and influenced existing groups or promoted the establishment of certain militant branches such as Hamas. The group was banned in Egypt until the revolution of 2011. In 2012, its candidate Mohammed Morsi even became president but was overthrown already one year later. The current Egyptian President, Al-Sisi, again labeled the group a terrorist organization.
The Muslim Brotherhood also has a strong presence in the USA. Ted Cruz introduced the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act” which seeks to add the group to a list of terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an institution with close links to the Muslim Brotherhood, argued that the bill aims at controlling Muslims in the USA and has no effect on national security. On former President Obama’s “We are the People” website a call for the US-government to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization was the tenth-most singed petition with more than 200,000 signatures. Notwithstanding, the former US-administration did not see evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its commitment to non-violence and therefore did not take any concrete steps.