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Muslim Brotherhood labelled 'terrorist' by US politicians

House of Representatives committee passes bill against Brotherhood described as 'global threat' in first step to outlaw group
A Brotherhood supporter holds a placard showing Mohamed Morsi during a demonstration in the Cairo (AFP)

US politicians have taken the first step to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, after a Congressional committee passed a bill describing it as a "global threat".

The House of Representatives' judiciary committee passed the "Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015," which says the group's aim is to destroy Western civilisation "from within”.

The bill's author, Republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, said: “The United States must recognise and sanction the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization as part of our national security strategy.

“The jihadist movement actively supports and finances terrorist networks around the world, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.”

Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, also a Republican, said: “The Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of terrorism and the very real threat it poses to American lives and the national security of the United States make it long overdue for designation."

Opposing the legislation, Democratic Congressman John Conyers said the measure was a result of an ongoing Islamophobia campaign in the US.

Not enough research was made to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, Conyers said, adding that the committee put forth the bill “without holding a single hearing and without considering the serious diplomatic and foreign policy ramifications of our action”.

“I fear that this bill appeals to our base fears. Islamophobia may be good politics – time will tell – but it is certainly not good policy,” he stated. “It does not serve our national security or foreign policy interests.”

The vote was approved 17-10.

The bill must be debated and voted on by the full House before it moves forward. Republican presidential contender Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, which must also be approved.

If both chambers pass the bill, it will be presented to President Barack Obama who will have 10 days to sign or veto the legislation.

If approved, anyone with connections to the Brotherhood will be denied entry to the US. Furthermore, individuals who provide material support to the organisation will be tried under federal criminal penalties.

Lastly, the US Treasury Department has authority to demand US financial institutions that possess or control any assets belonging to the MB to block any financial transactions involving these assets.

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