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Trump backs off Muslim Brotherhood's designation as 'terror' organisation

Image of US President Donald Trump attends a conference at the White House on March 17, 2017 (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency)
US President Donald Trump attends a conference at the White House on 17 March, 2017 [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

Trump backs off Muslim Brotherhood's designation as 'terror' organisation

Sources in the White House say the Trump administration has backed down on the plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, the Washington Times has reported.

The report suggests that senior diplomats from Jordon – a close US ally – are believed to have weighed in heavily against the idea because the movement currently holds 16 seats in the Jordanian parliament.

A small group of Republicans on Capitol Hill are behind the legislation which would direct the State Department to either designate the Brotherhood a terror group, alongside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, or explain the decision to hold back.

The legislation was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz who claimed that listing the movement would "codify needed reforms in America's war against radical Islamic terrorism".

Image of Republican Senator Ted Cruz [file photo]]

Image of Republican Senator Ted Cruz [file photo]]

The Republican Senator blamed former President Barack Obama of ignoring what he called "the potent threat to our civilisation due to politically correct policies that hamper our safety and security".

Lobbying

Online publications claimed last week that the Muslim Brotherhood was spending millions of dollars to lobby Washington to avoid being designated a terror organisation. The reports, backed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), claim that the Brotherhood had signed contracts for $4.8 million with American lobbying firms "to help it establish ties with Trump administration officials".

It was alleged that the lobbying contract included meetings with officials, publishing articles in the American media and providing platforms for the movements spokespeople.

The decision not to press ahead with the designation is believed to be an acknowledgement of the Brotherhood declared policy of non-violence. News reports say Washington recognises the fact that in recent decades factions of the movement have embraced democracy in various Middle East nations.

Read: Muslim Brotherhood members on trial

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, from its offices in London, published a document entitled the "Coexistence Document" with others. The organisation said in a statement that it aims at peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society and does not seek to impose its control or ideas.

While several Gulf Arab monarchies view the Brotherhood as an internal political threat, the movement's factions are regarded as part of the democratic landscape in other places, including Turkey, where many see the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a distant Brotherhood affiliate and in Tunisia, where the Ennahda party is firmly part of the democratic process.

Egyptian news outlets claim that the report has led to divisions within the group. However, both Hamza Zobaa, the leader of the Brotherhood and Yusuf al Qaradawi the head of the International Federation of Muslim Scholars have backed the report which emanates from the youth front, stressing the necessity to carrying out intellectual review and reform within the group

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