WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Donald Trump is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), the White House said on Tuesday, which would bring sanctions against Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked Trump to make the designation during an April 9 visit to Washington, a senior US official said, confirming a report in the New York Times on Tuesday.
After the meeting, Trump praised Sisi as a “great president” while a bipartisan group of US lawmakers raised concerns about Sisi’s human rights record, his efforts to stay in office until 2034 and Egypt’s planned Russian arms purchases.
The White House did not say on what basis it might label the group a terrorist organization and former officials questioned whether the group met the legal standard of engaging in “terrorist activity” that threatens US citizens or national security.