CAIRO, Egypt — An Egyptian court on Saturday dissolved the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, preventing its participation in the parliamentary elections.
The Muslim Brotherhood itself was banned in Egypt after the organization unleashed a violent campaign against the Egyptian authorities, killing over 500 Egyptian military and police since July 3, 2013.
Asset Manager Dina Khayat tells us the decision to ban the FJP Party was “Excellent. A long and overdue move. The Brotherhood claims to preach nonviolence, but its ties to Hamas in Gaza (and, by extension, its militant factions) undermine its avowals.”
“Brotherhood students have torched university campuses, while the members’ regular demonstrations are often violent and always disruptive of traffic and normal daily life. Until they are convinced they should operate within the context of a state and the rule of law, the Moslem Brotherhood cannot expect to be allowed to play any role in Egyptian politics,” Khayat added.
“In the end, however, I don’t think it makes a difference. Such is the outrage at and distaste for the Moslem Brotherhood and their almost childish – certainly destructive – attitude of ‘rule or ruin’ that they have now become pariahs within their own country. Whether their Freedom and Justice Party is allowed to continue or not, then becomes a moot point. No one will vote for them,” she said.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist group in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia. The UK is currently conducting an investigation into the Brotherhood and its ties to violence. Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress in July by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to designate the Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Hamas, the Palestinian Branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was designated as an FTO under President Clinton in 1995.
One decision-maker in Cairo described the Muslim Brotherhood as the “Godfather of all terrorist organizations” including Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, ABM, and AQIM. “The leaders of Jihad and Islamic Group came from the Muslim Brotherhood. After the assassination of Sadat, they escaped to Afghanistan and Iran where they united with Osama bin Laden and formed Al Qaeda. The Muslim Brotherhood is the foundation for all terrorists groups all over the world.”
He stated, “the Muslim Brotherhood was founded on a certain ideology that believes that the Brotherhood is the sole Muslim entity that leads the whole world to its own ideology.”
The Freedom and Justice Party was founded following the January 25, 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Mohamed Morsi became the chairman of the party and was eventually elected president in the 2012 elections. Khairat el-Shater was the initial candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party but was disqualified from running by the election commission due to his criminal record. Prior to the 2012 elections, al-Shater had spent years in and out of prison; his latest imprisonment was for providing combat training and weapons to student protesters in the “Al-Azhar Militia” case.
The decision-maker added that “Al-Shater was training students at Al-Azhar in military tactics to turn on the Egyptian authorities – training them to conduct hostile actions against the Egyptian authorities, appointing field commanders and battalions. The Muslim Brotherhood has several links to terrorist organizations and are funding them, including Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.”
Animosity towards America’s policies is at a dangerous level here in Egypt; the message on the ground is that Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood and therefore is supporting terrorism. “America’s values are changing,” said a local Egyptian.
“Throughout Muslim Brotherhood history, the problem for the Brotherhood has been with the government or political power, but now it is with the Egyptian people. They have killed Egyptians, police officers, army officers and soldiers; you can’t say reconciliation anymore, it is impossible,” a retired Egyptian military officer explained to us.
Speaking to Egyptians, they make it very clear they love the American people, but they are very angry at the administration’s policies. “On one hand, the United States is asking us to secure and protect the border with Israel, while at the same time you are suspending economic and military support,” said one.
With ISIS taking over Iraq, Hamas in Gaza, and the instability in Libya and Syria, the United States needs to develop a global strategy to counter the rise of global terrorism. This last month, President Sisi called on the “international community to act on Libya” and “begin working on a global anti-terrorism strategy in the region.” The Obama administration would do well to stop supporting Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood and get behind President Sisi in developing an international strategy to combat terrorism. A first step in countering the rise of terrorism should be designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, for the Brotherhood has clearly stated that its goal is the destruction of America.
Tera Dahl is the Executive Director for the Council on Global Security.