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The Muslim Brotherhood Is Not a Terrorist Organization

How Designating It Would Undermine the United States

Mohammed Badie, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, at a court in Cairo, Egypt, May 2016 Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

In late April, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would seek to have the State Department designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The directive came on the heels of a visit to the White House by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, one of Trump’s favorite autocrats and an enemy of the Brotherhood. Trump first directed the State Department to look into designating the Brotherhood in 2017, but it decided that the group did not meet the legal requirements of an FTO, since it is not a unitary organization and does not have an established pattern of violence. 

The Brotherhood has not changed since then. Numerous loosely affiliated groups are lumped together under its heading, but they share no central command and few principles other than a broad devotion to Islam. The Brotherhood’s national chapters include organizations as diverse as the political party Ennahda, a

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