The U.S. Should Be Wary About Overplaying Its Hand

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The Muslim Brotherhood preaches a violent, exclusivist ideology.  Its websites and social media accounts are chock-full of anti-Christian and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.  Its affiliated networks in Istanbul have threatened foreign nationals in Egypt.  Its leading figures and platforms have embraced violence and martyrdom explicitly. And its motto – which concludes with “jihad is our way, death for the sake of Allah is our highest aspiration” – leaves little doubt regarding the length to which its members are willing to go in pursuit of the Brotherhood’s ultimate goal, which is to establish a chain of Islamic theocracies and in the long run, a “global Islamic state.” 

The Trump Administration is therefore right to be concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood and the extent to which it encourages terrorism.  After all, the Clinton Administration designated the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, better known as Hamas, as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.  And the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood made common cause with jihadis during the one-year presidency of Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi – most notably during a June 2013 rally for the Syrian uprising that Morsi hosted at Cairo stadium, at which Salafist cleric Mohamed Hassan told thousands of cheering Islamists that “Jihad is incumbent spiritually, financially, and through weapons.”  But if the Trump Administration moves forward with its reported plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, it will face two technical, but nonetheless significant, hurdles.

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