It is no longer a question of whether the United States will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. It is only a matter of when and how.
That’s the principal take-away from a congressional national security panel this morning that addressed “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Threat” and what the US should do about it.
“This hearing is an opportunity to discuss what the United States’ next step should be in combatting the Muslim Brotherhood’s threat,” said Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security of the House oversight committee.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is a militant Islamist organization with affiliates in over 70 countries,” DeSantis said. “There’s no question that the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliates are involved in terrorism.”
The historic hearing follows a June 28 Center for Security Policy Decision Brief that called on the Trump Administration to declare the entire Muslim Brotherhood and its fronts and affiliates as terrorist organizations.
“Thankfully the Trump Administration has discarded the Obama-era policy of treating the Brotherhood as a potential ally,” DeSantis said. “Now, the questions are focused on how expansive to make the terror designation, and whether it should be done through the State Department or Treasury Department.”
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a longtime associate of the Center for Security Policy, was one of the four witnesses who testified. He was the only Muslim witness, and made the case powerfully for Center-recommended policy of designating the entire Muslim Brotherhood and its fronts as terrorist entities.
In the course of his testimony, Dr. Jasser rebutted characterizations by the Brotherhood’s apologists and enablers of its critics as “haters” and “Islamophobes”:
Nothing would be more pro-Muslim than the marginalization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its direct affiliates. Making the Muslim Brotherhood radioactive would allow the light to shine upon their most potent antagonists in Muslim communities – those who reject political Islam and believe in liberty and the separation of mosque and state.
He also discussed national security risks associated with failing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates as terrorist entities. One of them is censorship of jihadist terminology in U.S. government agencies. Dr. Jasser correctly observed that such censorship impedes analysts’ ability to protect the nation:
To think that these words and concepts, and others are off limits in the freest nation on earth, censored [in] our agencies, is just incredulous considering the growing threat we face today from violent Islamism. It smacks of a bizarre invocation of blasphemy laws in America. It is groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that have benefited from our refusal to discuss these elements of Islam and Islamism.
The three other witnesses – Hillel Fradkin of the Hudson Institute, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Daniel Benjamin of the Qatar-funded Brookings Institution – agreed to varying degrees that the Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a threat. They recommended, however, more narrow terrorist designations of specific Muslim Brotherhood entities.
Chairman DeSantis observed: “It is clear that the Brotherhood constitutes a real threat to the national security interests of the United States. We can debate the best way to counter this threat, but simply ignoring the threat is not an acceptable answer.”
The Center for Security Policy has submitted a statement for the hearing record endorsing Rep. DeSantis’ assessment and laying out the factual basis for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Center President Frank J. Gaffney urged legislators, executive branch officials, the media and the public at large to examine particularly compelling evidence of the threat the Brotherhood poses: Its 1991 Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America– a secret plan for “destroying Western civilization from within” written by a top Muslim Brotherhood operative, Mohammed Akram, and introduced by the federal government into evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation et.al. v. United States terrorism financing trial