WASHINGTON (AA): The American administration of Donald Trump is seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, the White House confirmed Tuesday.
Trump “has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern,” White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said in response to an Anadolu Agency inquiry. “This designation is working its way through the internal process.”
The designation would pave the way for American sanctions on the transnational movement, which has supporters throughout the Arab and wider Muslim world.
The White House earlier signaled such a move could be imminent, saying after Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi April 9 that the leaders discussed “the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
It is unclear if the administration is seeking to designate Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its worldwide offshoots or a combination thereof.
The New York Times first reported the administration is in the process of designating the brotherhood.
It said the decision to blacklist came upon Sisi’s urging during the leaders’ White House meeting, a request Trump responded to “affirmatively.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton support the effort to designate the group, according to the Times, that said there is significant pushback to the move from the Pentagon, national security officials and diplomats.
Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who had the brotherhood’s backing, won Egypt’s first democratic elections in 2012, but was removed from power by the Egyptian military following mass demonstrations roughly a year later.
Sisi helped lead the coup that removed Morsi from power.
In addition to the Egyptian leader, the designation would squarely place the U.S. alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain who all oppose the Muslim Brotherhood.