Putting the Muslim Brotherhood on the Terrorist List: Pros and Cons


On Thursday, June 6, the Center for the National Interest held a discussion over the pros and cons of President Trump’s proposal to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Muslim Brotherhood has long been a pillar of political, social, and religious life in countries throughout the Middle East. However, the group’s fundamentalist beliefs have drawn significant criticism from many countries both in and outside the region. In determining whether to designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization, the Trump administration must not only evaluate the merits of such a claim, but also the potential ramifications this policy might have on America’s relationships in the region.

To weigh the pros and cons of this proposal, the Center hosted two leading experts to provide their views on the matter.

One such expert was Brian Katulis, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focuses on counterterrorism and national security strategy. He has also served on the National Security Council and with the U.S. Departments of State and Defense during the Clinton administration.

Joining him on the panel was Steve Brooke, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Louisville and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His book, “Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage” covers non-state social service provision in authoritarian regimes with a particular emphasis on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Geoffrey Kemp, the Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at the Center for the National Interest, moderated the discussion.

The National Interest’s analysis of the discussion can be found here: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/danger-labeling-muslim-brotherhood-terrorist-organization-63332