If Trump or Congress Decides the Muslim Brotherhood Is a Terrorist Organization, Brace for the Blowback
Please go over to Lawfare and read the entire article. This is important stuff to understand, regardless of one’s personal feelings about the Muslim Brotherhood. Emphasis added:
Today the Muslim Brotherhood is far from a single entity. No umbrella organization wields control over local branches, and groups have taken divergent paths and suffered from internal divisions. In recent years, Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has fractured into three groups, with two both claiming the name for themselves. Tunisia’s al-Nahda party was never a formal branch of the Brotherhood but bore many resemblances to other Brotherhood groups. Last year, however, it rebranded itself as a party of “Muslim democrats,” abandoning the “political Islam” term commonly used to describe Muslim Brotherhood groups. This does not mean that these various groups have no contact with each other, but they clearly do not even see themselves as a unified movement. One colleague who attended a gathering of Muslim Brothers from different countries a few years ago reported that they spent the bulk of the time bickering over whose priorities were more important.
Even groups that do identify strongly as branches of the Muslim Brotherhood disagree on a range of issues. Some fully reject partisan politics while others routinely participate in local and national elections. Male and female Muslim Brotherhood members have held dozens of parliamentary seats and cabinet positions and peacefully stepped down when their terms expired or their cabinets were dissolved. [..]
It is true that since the uprisings some splinters of the Muslim Brotherhood have turned to violence, but so have many liberal and progressive movements resisting the reestablishment of repressive autocracies in their countries. The context matters tremendously, as does the sharp escalation in regime use of violence against all manner of opposition. […]
Without various Muslim Brotherhood groups operating throughout the region, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda will have the monopoly on Islamist politics in many countries.
Achieving a terrorist designation for the Muslim Brotherhood could do more harm than good. Escalated repression of moderate groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (as well as liberals and progressives) will likely, and ironically, lead to an increase in support for more extremist groups as the latter become the only venue for political opposition. Without various Muslim Brotherhood groups operating throughout the region, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda will have the monopoly on Islamist politics in many countries. […]
Characterizing the Muslim Brotherhood as akin to violent extremists like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda is not only factually wrong, it is likely to be counterproductive. If the Trump administration is going to “eradicate Islamic radicalism,” it first needs to understand it. At a bare minimum, that means recognizing that the Muslim Brotherhood, like Islam as a whole, defies monolithic categorization; it’s an organization that is sometimes problematic and sometimes a U.S. partner. The terrorist designation for the Muslim Brotherhood must be rejected for what it is—an unfounded generalization that undermines our objectives abroad.