The House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorism Designation Act” in a party line vote of 17-10 today, with all Republicans voting in favor. The bill calls for the U.S. State Department to either designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group or formally state their reasons why the group cannot be listed.
To open the hearing, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), read directly from “An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood strategic document seized in a terrorism raid, and submitted at the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial. Goodlatte quoted the memo’s author, Mohammed Akram Adlouni, who wrote that the Brotherhood’s “Work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Goodlatte noted the Brotherhood’s role in extorting and materially supporting global terrorism and pointed out that designation of the Muslim Brotherhood would require the Obama Administration deny admission to foreign aliens with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Obama Administration’s willingness to admit Muslim Brotherhood members with ties to terrorism has been a point of contention with Congress. In May of 2014 the Senate Oversight Committee began an investigation into a reported DHS “Hands Off List” which permitted high ranking Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi to enter the country, despite terrorism ties. Early in the Obama Administration, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally waived a ban on entry for Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim Brotherhood leader in Europe and the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al Banna. Ramadan had been banned from the U.S. under President Bush for providing funds to Hamas-linked charities.
The bill was opposed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who accused the bill of “Islamophobia” pushed for political purposes. Conyers took the opportunity to submit into the record statements on behalf of John L. Esposito, a Georgetown University professor, and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR.)
Perhaps ironically, both Esposito and CAIR have extensive Muslim Brotherhood ties. Esposito was a former advisory board member for the Hamas/MB think tank known as the United Association for Studies And Research (UASR), founded by Deputy Hamas Chairman Mousa abu Marzook. UASR is actually explicitly named in the bill, which makes Esposito’s statement particularly self-serving. Esposito also has ties to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think tank investigated for ties to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Esposito has made something of a career defending the Muslim Brotherhood from accusations of terrorism, including at the Holy Land Foundation Trial and during the UK report on the Muslim Brotherhood carried out last year at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Council on American Islamic Relations on the other hand isn’t just supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, they are the Muslim Brotherhood, a fact noted within the text of the bill’s findings.
According to testimony of FBI agents and documents submitted as evidence in federal trial, CAIR was founded subsequent to an October 2-3, 1993 meeting in Philadelphia of the Palestine Committee,which the Department of Justice described as a covert organization established by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States to order to support Hamas.A 1994 Palestine Committee document submitted at Federal trial identifies CAIR as one of its “working organizations.” An FBI affidavit obtained by FOIA request identifies Omar Ahmad (a.k.a Omar Yehya) one of CAIR’s founders as a “one of the leaders of Hamas.” The same affidavit notes that Palestine Committee members “were also active US MB members.” CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad were both named by the FBI during Federal trial as Palestine Committee members. Both men’s names appear in a phonebook of Palestine Committee members submitted at federal trial. In 1994, CAIR executive Director Nihad Awad was videotaped publicly announcing his support for Hamas.
Conyers himself has a long history of associating with CAIR, including attending annual banquets. According to “Islamist Money Watch”, a program of the Middle East Forum, Conyers has received thousands of dollars from individuals linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, including $2000 from Muthanna Al-Hanooti in 1998. Al-Hanooti was director of CAIR Michigan suspected of being paid with oil contracts to cooperate with Iraqi intelligence in the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. Hanooti was convicted of sanctions violations. Hanooti’s late father, Mohammed Al-Hanooti was also a major Muslim Brotherhood leader, who was reported by the FBI to have raised $6 million for Hamas.
The Muslim Brotherhood Terror Designation bill was briefly amended in order to streamline the bill by removing the bill’s “Findings” section, which provided an extensive list of facts regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and its role in Islamic terrorism around the globe, including in Egypt where it has overtly engaged in terrorist activities against the government, and in the United States, where it has conducted terrorism finance and recruitment activities.
In the House the bill is authored by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and has 28 Co-Sponsors. In the Senate, the companion bill S.2230 is sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).