According to a Fox News initial report, President Trump is considering labeling The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terror group.
Having tracked The Brotherhood activity for several years there is a solid and reasonable case to make that such a designation is warranted. However, there are voices within the Deep State who are opposed to such a designation. Additionally, NATO member Turkey is currently a safe harbor for leadership of The Brotherhood.
Here’s our take. There is no doubt the Muslim Brotherhood is part of a larger network of radical Islamic extremist sentiment. Brotherhood member Mohammed Al Zawahiri (Egypt), the brother of al-Qaeda’s Ayman Al Zawahiri is one of the more prominent radicals within the group; the Blind Sheik is another.
Identifying The Brotherhood as a terrorist group is a reasonable and factually supported measure. However there are a significant number of people who don’t quite understand how the Brotherhood operates. Here’s a cliff notes consideration.
Essentially, The Brotherhood disguises much of their ideological extremism through a cloak of political action. The Brotherhood is the umbrella construct, the visible political fabric, which covers much of their radical endeavors by hiding behind a disguise of support for moderation. However, the ribs under the fabric of the umbrella, which stretch the politics therein, are terror organizations that are very extreme – therein lies the problem.
The Brotherhood uses their activity with the less extreme groups to hide their activity with the more authentic expressions of the radicals.
Over the last decade The Brotherhood has evolved their approach toward a self expressed political outreach, but the internal groups are filled with extremists. The 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ election in Egypt was a great example of this in action.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi took power in Egypt through the political activity of The Brotherhood; however, once in power Morsi began immediately constructing an extremist sharia-compliant government. Eventually, the Egyptian people reached out to General Fattah Abdel al-Sisi to overthrow Morsi in a successful military coup.
After the Egyptian people rose up, The Brotherhood was then outlawed in Egypt. The primary leaders fled Egypt to Qatar where they were given asylum until pressure from al-Sisi and the Gulf States forced Qatar to dispatch the five leaders in 2015.
Recep Erdogan gave the outcast Brotherhood leadership asylum in Turkey where it is assumed they remain today.
The left-wing elements within Western Media focus on the political aspects, the false face of The Brotherhood – as did President Obama. More open-eyed critics of The Brotherhood look at their action and engagements which truly outline their ideological extremism. However, so long as the Brotherhood continues their political trickery, it is easy for advocates to deflect by pointing to their more moderate voices and positions.
Western opinions of The Brotherhood fall almost identically along party lines. Liberals claim The Brotherhood is potentially a force for good or moderation. More conservative politicians see the Brotherhood as dangerous. What surfaces within both arguments is the discovery of classic political taqiyya.
The word “Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing, precaution, guarding.” It is employed in disguising one’s beliefs, intentions, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions or strategies. In practical terms it is manifested as dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing and confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling or preemptive blocking. It is currently employed in fending off and neutralizing any criticism of Islam, Muslims or The Brotherhood specifically.
This is the challenge with labeling The Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Does The Brotherhood support terrorism, yes. Does The Brotherhood align and support extremist Islamic ideology, yes. Is The Brotherhood considered a terror organization by U.S. allies in the Mid-East, yes.
Are the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the North American Islamic Trust beneficiaries of political advocacy from The Brotherhood? Again, yes; yes to all of it. But the Brotherhood has defenders within the West, including defenders within the U.S. and within the Deep State think tanks who construct Mid-East policy.
There are entities within the U.S. State Department who defend The Brotherhood. There are also entities within the U.S. intelligence apparatus who defend The Brotherhood. Additionally, there are large numbers of Muslim religious networks within U.S. Mosques who send money directly to The Brotherhood under the auspices of “good works” they claim are carried out under the visible umbrella.
It would be exceptional to see President Trump declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, but it would be controversial in the media. Criticism would be guaranteed from the same political camps who proclaimed the Obama Iran Deal to be of merit. The media fault-lines fall upon a similar perspective.
Allow me to provide a visual demonstration:
12. Favorite Item in the Apartment: “A massive painting that I got in Iran, a few years ago, by Farideh Lashai, a friend who is also Iran’s pre-eminent abstract-expressionist painter. It gives me joy every time I walk in my door.”