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White House bats for declaring Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist Organisation

White House bats for declaring Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist Organisation

Tag: GS 3 || Security || Internal Security Threats|| Terrorism

Why in news?

  • The White House said that a proposal to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organisation was “working its way through the internal process”.

Earlier developments

  • The statement was linked to a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt in the White House in April 2019, during which the Egyptian leader urged the United States to impose sanction on the Brotherhood, which opposes his government.
  • Also recently, the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).
  • The designation, which imposed sweeping economic and travel sanctions on both the IRGC and on organisations, companies, and individuals that have links to it, went into force on April 15, 2019.

Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)

  • Section 219 of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act authorises the US Secretary of State to designate an organization as a foreign terrorist organization, if the Secretary finds that –
  1. the organization is a foreign organization;
  2. the organization engages in terrorist activity or terrorism, or
  3. threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.
  • Fight against terrorism: The State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism states that FTO designations play a critical role in (the US’s) fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.
  • Sixty-eight terrorist organisations currently figure on the US State Department’s list of FTOs, including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and its regional branches, the Islamic State and its regional operations, Jundallah, Boko Haram, and the Colombian FARC.
  • Also on the list are several organisations based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which directly threaten India, such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
  • The Indian Mujahideen, LTTE, and Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami-Bangladesh are also on the list of FTOs.

Muslim Brotherhood

  • They are a movement that was founded in Egypt in 1928 by a schoolteacher named Hassan al-Banna, who preached that an Islamic religious revival would help Muslim nations improve their situation and defeat their colonial masters.
  • While Hassan al-Banna was not specific about the kind of Muslim revivalist government he was advocating, his ideas travelled all over the world, and inspired a large number of Islamist groups and movements — not just political movements and parties, but also powerful missionary and charitable initiatives.
  • Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia are among the countries that have large parties that trace their origins to the Brotherhood.
  • Not all of today’s movements and organisations call themselves the Muslim Brotherhood, however.

Terrorist Orientation

  • Armed wing: In the 1940s, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood created an armed wing, and in 1948, one of its members killed the Prime Minister, Mahmoud Fahmy el-Nokrashy Pasha.
    • Hassan al-Banna denounced the killers as “neither Brothers nor Muslims”, and in the 1960s, the Brotherhood formally announced they were only “preachers”.
    • There is a broad consensus among historians and analysts now that the Egyptian Brotherhood, as an organisation at least, has not undertaken violent action since then.
  • Split: After the military takeover in Cairo in 2013, however, some factions of the Egyptian Brotherhood such as Hasm and Liwa al-Thawra have broken off and carried out violence against the government.
    • These two groups have already been designated as FTOs by the US.
    • But President Al-Sisi accuses the Brotherhood as a whole of supporting and carrying out terrorism, something the Brotherhood denies.
  • Outside Egypt, Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which the US has designated as an FTO, carries out bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri, the fugitive leader of al-Qaeda, is a former member of the Egyptian Brotherhood — however, he has assailed the non-violent position taken by the Brotherhood; the Brotherhood has, likewise, strongly criticised al-Qaeda.
  • Crosshairs: All over the world, Muslim Brotherhood movements have been advocating democratic elections, which have put them in the crosshairs of both authoritarian ruling regimes as well as militant Islamists.
    • In Egypt, the Brotherhood has been in Parliament since in the 1980s, and after President Hosni Mubarak was removed in 2011, it did well in the parliamentary election, one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, became President.
    • However, Parliament was dissolved in 2012, and Morsi was ousted the following year.

Mains question

  • What is Muslim Brotherhood? Why does US want to designate it as a ‘terrorist organisation’?