Egypt asked the U.S. ambassador in Cairo to account for the Obama administration’s allowing Muslim Brotherhood officials to visit Washington for a private conference this week sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).
Egypt sought the recent meeting with Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to show its displeasure with American policy toward the Brotherhood, which it labels a terrorist organization.
Delegation members include Amr Darrag, whose handling of drafting and ratifying Egypt’s December 2012 constitution led to fears the Brotherhood aimed to impose a theocracy; and Wael Haddara, a Canadian Brotherhood member who served as an adviser to deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
The administration has no plans to meet with the delegation, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday. U.S. policy allowed for engagement with people from across Egypt’s political spectrum, he said Monday.
Emails obtained by Middle East Briefing, a publication of the Dubai-based Orient Advisory Group, show that since 2010, Obama administration policy sought to support the Muslim Brotherhood under Presidential Study Directive 11.
State Department and White House officials met in January with a Muslim Brotherhood delegation whose trip had been partly funded by the Brotherhood-linked group Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ). EAFJ leader Mahmoud El Sharkawy is a member of the Brotherhood’s international organization and serves as liaison between his group and Brotherhood members exiled in Turkey, Egypt’s Al-Bawaba newspaper reported in April.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki downplayed the visit and denied it was a Brotherhood delegation, saying it was a delegation of former Egyptian parliamentarians which included members of the Freedom and Justice Party. Delegation member Waleed Sharaby said in a February interview with Egypt’s Mekameleen TV that the State Department agreed with their position that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had not brought stability and that his removal would pave the way for a transition to democracy.
Recent Muslim Brotherhood calls for violence have been reflected in the Facebook accounts of EAFJ members. El Sharkawy’s Facebook page supports violence in Egypt in posts such as a Feb. 10 communiqué from the Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) which has launched attacks against Egyptian police and other targets. It features an image of a blood-red map of Egypt with a fist superimposed over it and claims responsibility on behalf of the PRM for targeting two police cars. It also stated the following motto in Arabic: “God, martyrs, Revolution.”