Late Thursday evening Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, with the co-sponsorship of seven other House Representatives, released a bill to finally designate the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
Compiled with the collaboration of a team of counterterrorism experts, lawyers and former prosecutors, the draft legislation makes the case that the Muslim Brotherhood is not only directly responsible for numerous acts of terrorist violence, but that the MB is the ideological parent of all modern jihadi terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and Hamas.
In addition to Representative Bachmann, the bill is sponsored by Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Steve Southerland (R-FL), and Kevin Brady (R-TX).
The Muslim Brotherhood was established in 1928, just four years after the last Islamic empire, or Caliphate, was officially dissolved. It became known for its motto, “Jihad is our way,” and for its commitment to reestablishing totalitarian theocratic regimes wherever it comes to power, the most recent example being the Brotherhood government of the former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi.
Morsi was deposed by the Egyptian Army for attempting to create a one-party religious state and for promoting violence, especially against religious minorities, such as the Coptic Christians of Egypt. Whilst still in power, Morsi released Mohammad al Zawahiri, a convicted terrorist and brother of the current head of Al Qaeda, from prison
, and encouraged foreign jihadi fighters to establish a stronghold in the Sinai region of Egypt
In 1995, President Bill Clinton designated Hamas, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood operating in Palestine, as a terror organization. Six years later, President George W. Bush added the Kuwaiti MB branch, Lajnat al-Daawa al-Islamiya, to the list, in part for its connections to Al Qaeda.
Additionally, after the 9/11 attacks of 2001, individual Muslim Brotherhood leaders, such as Shaykh Abd al Majid Al-Zindani, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, and Sami Al Hajj, were designated as terrorist actors by executive order as all three had assisted Al Qaeda or been senior associates of the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
As detailed in the bill, in 2003, Richard Clarke, Counterterrorism 'Czar' to both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, stated before the Senate that the terrorist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda are all linked by the fact that they are all "descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers."
Even more concretely, just three years ago, the then-director of the FBI Robert Mueller testifying before the House Select Committee on Intelligence went on record regarding the MB: "I can say at the outset that elements of the Muslim Brotherhood both here and overseas have supported terrorism."
Most damning of all, in 2005, a federal court in Texas proved that an American 501 (c) non-profit entity, The Holy Land Foundation
, had been a front for funneling $12 million to the already FTO-designated terrorist organization Hamas. During the trial, the Department of Justice proved that the Muslim Brotherhood was involved in a "wide-spread conspiracy" both internationally and in the US to raise funds for, and otherwise materially support, terrorist activities.
The timing of the bill aimed at FTO designation is especially significant given the current war between US ally Israel and the MB wing Hamas based in Gaza. Given the daily reports
of rockets attacks against civilians by Hamas units using hospitals and schools as cover, the argument for terrorist designation seems not only timely but obvious.
The federal requirements for an organization to receive FTO designation are that it be i) a foreign organization, ii) that it be involved in terrorist acts, and that iii) it threaten the national security or foreign relations of the United States.
Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood satisfies all three criteria. However, FTO designation ultimately remains the prerogative of the executive branch, and given the Obama administration's history in refusing to reject the Brotherhood, seen most recently in its support for the former Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt, FTO designation may have to wait until 2016.
In the meantime, Congresswoman Bachmann and her colleagues have laid the foundation for outlawing one of the deadliest jihadi groups in modern history.