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Washington is ‘watching’ the Muslim Brotherhood, but blacklisting it ‘complicates matters’

Image of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, US on 13 June, 2017 [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Ag
Image of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, US on 13 June, 2017 [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

The US Secretary of State has said that classifying the Muslim Brotherhood in its entirety as a terrorist group will “complicate matters” with America’s relations with foreign governments. Rex Tillerson explained that the movement, which has over 5 million members worldwide, is divided into various groups, some of which hold official positions in their respective countries.

In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Relations yesterday, Tillerson said a number of Brotherhood-linked organisations continue to commit acts of violence and terrorism. It is those groups, he pointed out, which have been added to the terror list.

The secretary of state noted that a large number of the Brotherhood’s senior leaders have become officials in their governments. He cited examples of MPs and government officials in Bahrain as well as Turkey.

Read: Egypt pushes US to list Muslim Brotherhood as ‘terrorist group’

“There are elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have become parts of governments,” he said. “Those elements… have done so by renouncing violence and terrorism.”

If the US government was to designate the Brotherhood in its totality as a terrorist organisation, he told the committee, “I think you can appreciate the complexities this enters into our relations with [governments in the Middle East].”

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