The White House has confirmed it is considering the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, after Donald Trump was personally lobbied by Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
The official designation of the Islamist movement as terrorist would have far-reaching effects, sanctioning companies and individuals who had any interactions with the group, reports MSN.com.
Such a move has been considered before, most recently by the Trump administration soon after taking office, but had been rejected as being impractical for such a diffuse and multifaceted organisation, and potentially illegal under US law.
However, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday: “The president has 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 order to look again at the designation, first reported by the New York Times, came in the wake of Sisi’s visit to the White House on 9 April.
Sisi – whose support Trump is seeking for the launch of a Israeli-Palestinian peace plan championed by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner – succeeded in winning over the US president on two issues: expressing support for the Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar, and reviewing the possibility of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a network of loosely affiliated groups across the Islamic world. In Egypt, the movement has gone underground since Sisi took power, but remains a source of determined opposition to his regime.