The military-backed government of Egypt has denounced the Muslim Brotherhood, calling them vile terrorists. A day after a bomb ripped through an Egyptian police station, the government has identified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Security officials said that 13 were dead and at least 130 injured. The bomb detonated an hour after midnight on December 25, killing at least 8 police officials.
Egypt is now ruled by a military-backed government after former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power in July of this year. Although Morsi had been elected in Egypt’s first democratic election, he was ousted after the economy failed and public concerns of a new constitution surfaced. Morsi was arrested on July 3 and remains in prison as charges continue to accumulate against him. The Egyptian government has announced that Morsi’s Prime Minister, Hisham Quadil, has also been arrested. Security officials claim he was captured in mountain area while attempting to flee the country for Sudan.
Declaring the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group is a moment of historic proportion in Egypt. For decades, Egypt has been governed by predominately Muslim politics and organizations. Even after democratic elections, the Muslim ideals remained in power. Now one of the Muslims’ largest organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood, has been labeled as a terrorist organization and laws and punishment have been laid out against them.
Legal experts say that this ruling would force the closure of charity and healthcare organizations throughout Egypt. Denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists puts into effect a series of legal implications. Experts stated that anyone or any organization related to or funding the Muslim Brotherhood could be subject to legal prosecution. Furthermore, anyone found to be a member of the organization can be imprisoned for up to 5 years. The penalty for providing weapons or ammunition to a terrorist group in Egypt is execution.
A statement posted on the Muslim Brotherhood official Twitter account said that the decree was baseless and issued by an illegal government. They also posted that there was no evidence supporting the military-backed Egyptian government declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. Ibrahim Elsayed, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, said that there was no value in the decision made about the Brotherhood and that it was not worth the paper it was written on. The official Twitter account also mentioned that the government’s statement did not change the reality that protesters were in the streets in defiance of the current leadership.
Recently, the security forces increased their restraint of anti-government dissidents. They have arrested non-Islamist protesters and primarily focused on arresting the Brotherhood’s leadership. The military has announced that troops will now carry live rounds while on patrols and will have permission to fire on protesters if necessary.
While Egypt denounces the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists another group, the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes, from the Sinai-based jihad group have claimed responsibility for the December 25 police station bombing. However, the government of Egypt continues to single out the Muslim Brotherhood as a target of its political and military interest.
By Anthony Clark