Trump drops plan to blacklist Muslim Brotherhood: Report
US President Donald Trump has backed away from designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, fearing that the decision would backfire due to the movement’s complex structure and its influence across the Muslim world.
Trump shelved his plan after the State Department advised him against the move in an internal memo, The Washington Times reported Monday, citing unnamed officials.
Warning Trump about the movement’s loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East, the memo “explained that there’s not one monolithic Muslim Brotherhood,” according to the report.
The Times noted that Jordan, one of the many countries where the Brotherhood is considered legitimate, has pressured Trump to change his mind. The movement currently holds 16 Jordanian parliament seats in Jordan’s capital of Amman.
Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are some of the other Muslim-majority nations where the Brotherhood has a strong impact.
In Egypt, the Brotherhood made history after its presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, became the country’s first ever democratically-elected leader in 2012 before being ousted in a military coup a year later.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood since the coup, which saw then army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi succeed Morsi.
The Brotherhood’s designation as a terrorist organization remains a hot topic in Washington today, with Trump officials criticizing former President Barack Obama for his inaction with regards to the group.
Trump and his team accuse the movement of spreading racialism in the Middle East and believe that Obama could stop the trend had he taken the necessary steps.
There is also a Republican push in Congress aimed at designating the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as terror groups.
Senator Ted Cruz, who reintroduced the Muslim Brotherhood portion of the legislation last month, has called on the State Department to either designate the movement and the IRGC, as terrorist organizations or justify why they are not classified as such.
“If you’re talking about just broadly listing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, you’re going to run quickly into a serious definitional problem,” P.J. Crowley, who served as an assistant secretary of state for public affairs under Obama, told the Times.