Cruz bill would designate Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group

Cruz bill would designate Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky MORE (R-Texas) is trying to force the Obama administration’s hand to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

Along with Rep. Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartWhite House eyes 7-cent gas tax hike for infrastructure plan Latino advocacy group targets 7 Republicans in push against ObamaCare replacement Lawmakers slam plan to separate air traffic control from FAA MORE (R-Fla.), the presidential hopeful on Tuesday introduced legislation calling on the Obama administration to designate the Islamist political group as a foreign terrorist organization.

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The bill, called the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, comes after a string of evidence suggesting the group supports terrorism, Cruz said, and after similar moves from a handful of foreign countries in recent years.

“As this bill details, the Brotherhood’s stated goal is to wage violent jihad against its enemies, and our legislation is a reality check that the United States is on that list as well,” Cruz said in a statement Wednesday.

The Obama administration has listed multiple members of the group on its terror list, thereby imposing special restrictions preventing Americans from dealing with them.

“Now we can reject the fantasy that their parent institution is a political entity that is somehow separate from these violent activities,” Cruz added.

The Muslim Brotherhood in recent years has been a target of conservatives, who allege that the organization is a breeding ground for radical Islam.

In 2014, former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) spearheaded a similar effort to label the group a terrorist organization, though it ultimately failed to reach President Obama’s desk. Bachmann had previously alleged that longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had links to the organization — an allegation that was widely condemned by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. 

The legislation would not automatically trigger the labeling of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

Instead, it would express a “sense of Congress” that the group meets the criteria, and have the State Department explain within 60 days whether or not it agrees. If the State Department decided against listing the Muslim Brotherhood, it would have to provide a “detailed justification as to which criteria have not been met," the bill states.

In the legislation, Cruz and Diaz-Balart noted that Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other nations have described the group as a terrorist organization over the last four decades.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was popularly elected following the country’s revolution in 2012, and then deposed by a military coup the following year.