Washington- President Donald Trump has — for the time being — put on the back burner an executive order designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization after the issue became highly controversial, US media reported.
The Washington Times quoted US officials close to the heated debate as saying that the administration backed down from a plan to designate the Brotherhood last month after an internal State Department memo advised against it.
The memo said the movement has a loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East.
The memo “explained that there’s not one monolithic Muslim Brotherhood,” according to one of the officials, who told The Washington Times that while the movement may well be tied to terrorist groups such as Hamas, its more legitimate political activities would complicate the terrorist designation process.
The White House has declined to comment publicly.
The report came as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will make an official visit to Washington on April 3.
Sisi’s visit to Washington would be the first to the White House since the former army chief became president in 2014.
“President Trump and President Sisi will use the visit to build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.
In 2013, an Egyptian court declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalizing all its activities, its financing and even membership to the group.
Republicans are the main supporters to the US designation of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
Three US lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) who was a presidential candidate, proposed in January a measure calling for the group’s blacklisting.
“Proud to introduce Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act,” Cruz has said.