Efforts continue in Washington D.C. to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization due to its global activities.
Hillel Fradkin, Director of the Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute emphasized to Al Arabiya that the Muslim Brotherhood is a global threat, "It is true that it operates on a global basis or as global as it can be. It has branches in various Muslim countries, especially Arab countries, but also other regional countries, and it has organizations that were founded by and directed by its members in other places like France, England, US, and so forth,” he said.
The US expert highlighted that the Brotherhood founder, Egyptian, Hassan al Banna, was aiming to establish his organization outside Egypt as well, not for his personal ambitions, but to implement the agenda of the Brotherhood’s project.
He argued against the suggestions that if the U.S. takes this step, it would negatively affect Washington’s foreign relations with several Arab and Muslim countries, “If you take the case of Egypt, we were understood to be favorably disposed towards the Brotherhood, especially with former U.S. President Barak Obama's Cairo speech and his embrace of the group through it.
But, afterward, there was a general understanding on the part of some part of the Egyptian public that we were siding with the Brotherhood. Unfortunately, a lot of Egyptians were hostile to the U.S. They weren't favorable to us.” the US expert said.
Muslim Brotherhood’s experiment
“President Obama basically said let's try an experiment. Let's see if we engage with them, if we show some accommodation to the Muslim Brotherhood, let's see if we get something positive out of that" Fradkin pointed out, adding that while the whole world was going through that experiment, the Egyptians were the ones who had to live with it. “Once the Brotherhood was in power, it showed us that they weren't moderate,” he said.
The United States’ laws when it comes to designating a person or a group as terrorists have a specific definition of what that means and require specifically violent acts, according to the US expert who pointed out that; “One could say that there are certainly branches of the Brotherhood, which have committed violent acts and terrorist acts. The Egyptian Brotherhood, before it fell from power, or at the time it was falling from power, certainly committed violence acts. So too did the Syrian Brotherhood in its day, and so too does Hamas on a regular basis, which is a branch of the Brotherhood.”
During his testimony, Fradkin explained to the committee that the Banna’s Brotherhood’s project was to apply to all Muslims and the forms of government under which they lived, rejecting the nation-state as a legitimate form of Muslim governments.
Banna’s ultimate goal was to form a new Muslim state which would embrace all Muslims and would restore the authentic Muslim way of life as well as restore Muslim political powered, military power, and Muslim prestige. To use a term that has recently become familiar it was to be an Islamic and not a national state, or rather ISIS.
Fradkin emphasized that the larger issue that was not captured was the degree to which the Brotherhood contributes through its ideology and through its attempts to impart that ideology to the people, to create a basic understanding, which as often as not does wind up in violent acts, “It is very hard to part that in a very clear way as such that it comes under the American laws which was the complication in the hearing,” he said.
He noted that recently Ayman al-Zawahiri, the present leader of Al Qaeda, reached out to the Brotherhood expressing nostalgic appreciation for the fact that Al Qaeda had been born out of the Brotherhood project and welcomed its members to join his own.
“Most of the groups that gain attention in our American politics, and elsewhere, are brotherhood groups. I mean Isis and Al Qaeda cannot come out into the open, but the brotherhood can and does in the form of organizations. The Council on American-Islamic Relations “CARE” in the United States is an example which the majority of the moderate Muslims argue that those people don't represent us,” Fradkin stated.
What should be done?
“The US administration should not treat these organizations and their leaders as representatives of the Muslim community of the United States. That's the beginning point,” the Hudson’s expert emphasized.
He stressed that the Washington should be firm in dealing with the Brotherhood and the countries that support, finance, harbor, or provide a platform for the group to freely promote its ideology, The thing is countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt had banned the Muslim brotherhood movements, they considered it or they listed it as a terror group. While some of the US allies did not, and still work with the group, such as Qatar,” Fradkin concluded.