Daily Briefing: Seeking to Designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization: Long Overdue? (May 2, 2019)

Muslim Broterhood Rally in Australia (Source: Eye OnRadicals/Flickr)
Trump Administration Seeks to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Organization:  Rebecca Ballhaus, Courtney McBride, and Jared Malsin, WSJ, Apr. 30, 2019 — The Trump administration is seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, the White House said, a move that could complicate relations with U.S. allies where Muslim Brotherhood affiliates currently serve in parliament and other government roles.
The Egyptian Brotherhood Goes to Washington:  Hany Ghoraba, Middle East Forum, April 17, 2019 — Spring has arrived in Washington D.C. And a sure sign of the changing seasons in America’s capital is the annual parade of Islamist lobbyists, who come in March and April to the heart of Western democracy to advocate, under the guise of human rights, for Islamist causes and to misrepresent the beliefs held by ordinary Muslims.
Why Is Ilhan Omar’s Collusion With Islamists Acceptable?:  Ben Weingarten.  The Federalist, Apr. 30, 2019 — Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has distinguished herself with often offensive, outrageous, and unpatriotic rhetoric.
The Roots of CAIR’s Intimidation Campaign: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, Apr. 12, 2014 — In January 1993, a new, left-leaning U.S. administration, inclined to be more sympathetic to the Islamist clause, came to power.
 

On Topic Links

What Is the Muslim Brotherhood?: Cynthia Farahat, Middle East Forum, April 24, 2019. Video — Many people are unaware of the history of terrorism that accompanies the Muslim Brotherhood.
The New Islamist Lobby:  Oren Litwin, American Thinker, Apr. 8, 2019 — On April 1st and 2nd, the United States Coalition of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) descended on Congress for its fifth annual National Muslim Advocacy Day. USCMO is a national umbrella group for a veritable Who’s Who of Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim-American Society (MAS), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and the Muslim-Brotherhood think tank International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
‘Qatar Papers’ Book Reveals Doha’s Lavish Funding for Muslim Brotherhood in Europe [incl. Tariq Ramadan]:  Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Apr. 7, 2019 — A book recently published by two French journalists claims to reveal the details of lavish payments made by Qatar to Muslim Brotherhood organizations across Europe.
Review:  The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement by Martyn Frampton:  Daniel Rickenbacher, European Eye on Radicalization, Feb. 12, 2019 — Martyn Frampton’s The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement is unparalleled in its breadth, erudition and ambition.
Going Undercover in the Muslim Brotherhood:  Machla Abramovitz, Ami Magazine, Nov. 28, 2012 — When the call went out for volunteers to shred a basement-full of documents and memos, a collective groan was heard.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO DESIGNATE  MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AS TERRORIST ORGANIZATION

Rebecca Ballhaus, Courtney McBride, and Jared Malsin
WSJ, Apr. 30, 2019
 
The Trump administration is seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, the White House said, a move that could complicate relations with U.S. allies where Muslim Brotherhood affiliates currently serve in parliament and other government roles. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Tuesday said that President Trump had “consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process.”
 
The move comes weeks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi met with Mr. Trump at the White House, where the two leaders discussed “the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood,” the White House said. Under a designation as a foreign terrorist organization, companies and individuals could be banned from providing any type of material support or resources to Muslim Brotherhood officials, such as financial services, weapons or transportation.
 
It wasn’t immediately known whether the Trump administration’s designation would apply only to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, or to the set of Islamist movements across the world that are informally referred to as the Muslim Brotherhood. The designation would be the administration’s second such move in recent weeks. In early April, the administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time an element of a foreign state had been officially named a terrorist entity.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood includes dozens of groups across the Middle East, each with varying ties to radicalism. It has also influenced other groups, including Hamas, which the U.S. has called a terrorist organization, leading critics to call the Brotherhood a gateway to jihadism. Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, which the Trump administration has been weighing for several years, would raise a complicated set of questions for the U.S. government, including how to navigate relations with countries where Brotherhood-affiliated groups have a role in politics and government.
 
U.S. allies where Islamists currently serve in the government include Tunisia, Morocco and Kuwait. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party is also allied with the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
“What is significant about the Brotherhood everywhere is their stress on participation in electoral politics,” said Jon Alterman, a former policy planning staffer at the State Department, now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “And they do so in countries with very different records of allowing electoral politics to exist.”
 
Experts also questioned whether the Muslim Brotherhood meets the legal standards for groups that carry out politically motivated violence against noncombatants. Jason Blazakis, who served from 2008 to 2018 as director of the Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office in the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau, said the department examined a possible designation a number of times, including under then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in late 2017 and early 2018… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
 

THE EGYPTIAN BROTHERHOOD GOES TO WASHINGTON
Hany Ghoraba
Middle East Forum, April 17, 2019
 
Spring has arrived in Washington D.C. And a sure sign of the changing seasons in America’s capital is the annual parade of Islamist lobbyists, who come in March and April to the heart of Western democracy to advocate, under the guise of human rights, for Islamist causes and to misrepresent the beliefs held by ordinary Muslims.
 
Just a week before American Islamists descended on the Capitol to push for Islamist-friendly policies during the fifth annual National Muslim Advocacy Day, their Egyptian Islamist allies did the same. On March 24 and 25, Egypt Advocacy Day took place in Washington D.C. Sponsored by Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski, Egyptian activists and Western human rights lobbyists came together to warn policymakers against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and encourage the U.S. government to ensure Egypt works “to uphold the democratic principle of peaceful transfer of power.”
 
Representatives of prominent human rights organizations Human Rights Watch, Project on Middle East Democracy and Human Rights First were happy to take part in this effort, seemingly unconcerned that the organizers of this lobbying day are prominent officials of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was removed from power in 2013 following enormous protests against its own abuse of powers.
 
The main organizing body behind the advocacy day is the Freedom Initiative, a group founded by prominent Muslim Brotherhood activist Mohamed Soltan, who was imprisoned in Egypt for nearly two years on terrorism charges, until President Obama pressured the Cairo authorities to release him in 2015. While critics claim Soltan was the victim of political persecution, he has a long history of involvement with hardline Islamist efforts in both the U.S. and Egypt – openly expressing support for the designated terror group Hamas, and leading chants praising the killing of Jews.
 
Other sponsors and supporters of Egypt Advocacy Day included the Egyptian Human Rights Forum, of which Soltan is among the founders. In previous years, a key Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood proxy in America, Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFAJ), has also been closely involved in the annual Egypt Advocacy Day. This year, its officials took part in the lobbying day, but the organization’s name and logo were nowhere to be found on official literature.
 
Perhaps this is a result of a series of articles and reports exposing EAFAJ’s extremism, particularly its leading officials Hani Elkadi and Ayat al-Oraby. Curiously, for example, the Project on Middle East Democracy, which sponsored this year’s Egypt Advocacy Day, notes on its own website that “A number of experts on the Muslim Brotherhood have spoken out regarding EAFAJ’s lobbying efforts and condemned al-Oraby’s views in particular. On Twitter, analyst Mokhtar Awad referred to al-Oraby as ‘a raving sectarian lunatic.’ Awad also posted a video of al-Oraby calling for an economic boycott of Christian businesses, where she states that ‘[Christians] must be made to understand that the [Islamic symbol] crescent must be on top of the cross.'”
 
In the days and weeks after Egypt Advocacy Day, EAFAJ held further meetings with congressional staffers and policymakers, to express support for deposed Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and encourage lawmakers to force the Egyptian government to release “political prisoners” – that is, jailed Muslim Brotherhood operatives. One report alleges that EAFAJ even met with Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
 
WHY IS ILHAN OMAR’S COLLUSION WITH ISLAMISTS ACCEPTABLE?
Ben Weingarten
The Federalist, Apr. 30, 2019
 
Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has distinguished herself with often offensive, outrageous, and unpatriotic rhetoric. One week she invokes classic anti-Jewish tropes. The next she trivializes the September 11 jihadist attacks. Another it is unearthed that she espouses morally relativistic if not overtly anti-American views about U.S. soldiers, the very ones who fought to defend civilians in her native Somalia to boot. Omar’s penchant for provoking millions of Americans with odious words has masked the related, equally if not more troubling, elements of her associations, ideology, and background.
 
Consider, for example, the revelation, largely unnoticed outside of conservative media, that as a Minnesota Assemblywoman Omar had a closed-press meeting in fall 2017 with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to a curiously now-deleted article from the local Somalian-language periodical in her district, the Tusmo Times, she and the Islamist authoritarian president met during his U.N. General Assembly visit to New York. Per one account, they discussed: “issues involving Omar’s native Somalia and issues for Somalis in Minnesota. She [Omar] thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s support for the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The two also discussed investment and trade between Turkey and Somalia. The meeting ended with Erdogan asking Omar to voice her support for Turkey. The report concludes by adding that Omar not only met with Erdogan, but also with the Turkish prime minister and other senior Turkish officials.”
 
A political-media establishment frenzied over foreign influence might ask many questions about this meeting, such as: Why did a state lawmaker have it? Was it appropriate for her to be discussing Turkish-Somali relations as an American representative? On whose behalf was she speaking? Did anyone bless this meeting at the federal level, and on what grounds? Did Omar have any reservations about meeting with President Erdogan given the totalitarian, bellicose, and bigoted nature of his regime? What do Omar’s Democratic colleagues at the national level make of this meeting?
 
This last question would likely elicit some interesting answers, given what prominent Democrats have said about President Erdogan. Take Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for example, a critic of Erdogan and his repression of journalists. In April 2017, several months before the Omar-Erdogan meeting, a Turkish prosecutor announced he was investigating Schumer, among other Americans, for fomenting the supposed coup Erdogan crushed in 2016. Would Schumer have endorsed a meeting with a regime engaged in such an outlandish probe?
 
In May 2017, Schumer’s Senate colleague Ed Markey (D-MA) proffered a resolution “condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence…and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.” According to the resolution, Turkish officials had beaten, kicked, and choked unarmed protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., injuring at least 11 people.
 
In the House, chief collusion arbiter Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued a related statement in which he challenged the Erdogan regime, asserting: “Erdogan cannot export the violent repression he visits on his own citizens to our streets. The violence of May 16 can’t go unanswered or forgotten…I stand here today to affirm that we will not allow Turkey to beat innocent protesters on the streets of our Nation’s capital. We will continue to pursue justice and to make clear that America will always stand up for the right of peaceful and free expression.” Yet there’s no word from Markey or Schiff regarding the revelations about Omar’s meeting with Erdogan.
 
Nor has there been any comment from the man who oversees the most prominent committee on which Omar sits, House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). In July 2018, Engel questioned “whether Turkey’s autocratic ruler, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is truly committed to his country’s relationship with the United States,” citing the Turkish regime’s holding of American pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest, crackdown following the supposed coup, contemplated purchase of a Russian air defense system, and other offending acts.Last but not least, there was nary a peep about Logan Act violations from Obama administration officials.
 
Democrats would likely contend that U.S. leaders routinely meet with President Erdogan. Turkey is ostensibly a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, albeit increasingly in name only. But a state assemblywoman is not a head of state or diplomat. Nor did Omar have any business speaking as a representative of the U.S. government, which was her de facto position in discussing international relations—and perhaps most strangely, international relations independent of the United States’…
[To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
 

THE ROOTS OF CAIR’S INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review, Apr. 12, 2014
 
In January 1993, a new, left-leaning U.S. administration, inclined to be more sympathetic to the Islamist clause, came to power. But before he could bat an eye, President Bill Clinton was confronted by the murder and depraved mutilation of American soldiers in Somalia. A few weeks later, on February 26, jihadists bombed the World Trade Center. The public was angry and appeasing Islamists would have to wait.
 
Yasser Arafat, however, sensed an opportunity. The terrorist intifada launched at the end of 1987 had been a successful gambit for the Palestine Liberation Organization chief. Within a year, even as the body count mounted, the weak-kneed “international community” was granting the PLO the right to participate (though not to vote) in U.N. General Assembly sessions. And when Arafat made the usual show of “renouncing” terrorism — even as he was orchestrating terrorist attacks in conjunction with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Islamist factions — the United States recognized him as the Palestinians’ legitimate leader, just as the Europeans had done. Arafat blundered in 1991, throwing in his lot with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and that seemed to bury him with the Bush 41 administration. But Clinton’s election was a new lease on life.
 
Anxious to chase the holy grail of Middle East peace and suddenly in need of demonstrating toughness against jihadist terror, the new “progressive” president was made to order for the wily Marxist terror master. If Arafat could resell his “I renounce terrorism” carpet yet again, chances were he could cash in. And so he did, purporting to commit the Palestinians to the 1993 Oslo Accords — an empty promise of peaceful coexistence exchanged for hundreds of millions in aid (much of which he pocketed), an open invitation to the Clinton White House (where he became a regular visitor), international recognition (as a statesman, no less!), and a ludicrous Nobel Peace Prize (forever degrading a once prestigious honor into a punch line).
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, for one, was not amused. Islamists had murdered Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981 for striking a peace pact with Israel. Sure, they knew Arafat and understood what chicanery he was up to. But acceptance of the Zionist entity’s right to exist was utterly unacceptable, even if done as a ploy.Israel, the Brotherhood also realized, would not be the only thing squeezed by Clinton at Arafat’s urging. After a shaky start, the new president was winning global plaudits for his Orwellian “peace process.” Clinton must have known that Arafat was stringing him along, but with the theater of negotiation and ostensible progress drawing rave reviews, that was a problem for another day. The immediate concern was that Hamas jihadists could spoil the show with their implacable jihad, their blunt insistence that nothing less than Israel’s obliteration would satisfy them. That gave the fledgling administration a powerful incentive to crack down on them. Arafat would be the beneficiary as the Americans squeezed his rivals for power.
 
Though the United States had been a cash cow for Hamas, it was thus a perilous time for the organization when 25 of its members and supporters gathered at a Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia on October 27, 1993. They were unaware that the FBI was monitoring their deliberations. The confab was a brainstorming exercise: How best to back Hamas and derail Oslo while concealing these activities from the American government? … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]