According to a 2004 article by The Washington Post, U.S. Muslim Brotherhood supporters "make up the U.S. Islamic community's most organized force" by running hundreds of mosques and business ventures, promoting civic activities, and setting up American Islamic organizations to defend and promote Islam. In 1963, the U.S. chapter of Muslim Brotherhood was started by activists involved with the Muslim Students Association (MSA). U.S. supporters of the Brotherhood also started other organizations including: North American Islamic Trust in 1971, the Islamic Society of North America in 1981, the American Muslim Council in 1990, the Muslim American Society in 1992 and the International Institute of Islamic Thought in the 1980s. In addition, according to An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America, the "Understanding of the Role of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America", and a relatively benign goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America is identified as the following:
Establishing an effective and a stable Islamic movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims' causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims' efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic state wherever it is.
The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process' with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the 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 [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.
During the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2007, several documents pertaining to the Brotherhood were unsuccessful in convincing the courts that the Brotherhood was involved in subversive activities. In one, dated 1984 called "Ikhwan in America" (Brotherhood in America), the author alleges that the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US include going to camps to do weapons training (referred to as special work by the Muslim Brotherhood), as well as engaging in counterespionage against U.S. government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (referred to as Securing the Group). Another (dated 1991) outlined a strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States that involved "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within".
Penned in May of 1991 by a man named Mohamed Akram Adlouni, the 'Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America' was discovered during an FBI raid of a Virginia home in 2004. The document was admitted as an exhibit to the court during the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial, in which that group was charged with laundering money. After the trial, the document became public. But, according to a 2009 opinion by the presiding judge, the memo was not considered 'supporting evidence' for that alleged money laundering scheme, nor any other conspiracy.
The documents continue to be widely publicized in American conservative circles.
U.S. Congress attempts to pass legislation criminalizing the group, put forward by the 114th Congress, were defeated. The Bill, called the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015, was introduced to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). In it the bill states that the Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. If passed, the bill would have required the State Department to report to Congress within 60 days whether or not the group fits the criteria, and if it did not, to state which specific criteria it had not met. Senator Cruz announced the legislation along with Representative Mario DíazBalart (R-FL) in November 2015. However, it did not pass.
This bill came after a handful of foreign countries made similar moves in recent years including Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others, and after, according to Cruz, recent evidence emerged suggesting that the group supports terrorism. The senator further alleged that the group's stated goal is to wage violent jihad against its enemies, which includes the United States, and the fact that the Obama administration has listed numerous group members on its terror list. Cruz further stated that the bill would "reject the fantasy that [the] parent institution [of the Muslim Brotherhood] is a political entity that is somehow separate from these violent activities".
The bill identifies three Muslim Brotherhood entities in the U.S. including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a non-profit group denounced by the UAE for its MB ties. This group is regarded by the Egyptian government as a Brotherhood lobby in the United States. The other two entities are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). Conservatives in the Congress believe that the group is a breeding ground for radical Islam. Previous attempts were made in the previous year by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), but it failed largely due to her allegation that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide, had links to the organization, a statement which was dismissed by establishment Democrats and Republicans. In February 2016, the House Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in a 17 to 10 vote, which if enacted could increase grounds for enforcing criminal penalties and give permission to the Secretary of Treasury to block financial transactions and freeze assets of anyone who has showed material support for the group. Scholars against this classification claim that the group simply promotes Islamism, or the belief that society should be governed according to Islamic values and Sharia law.
Past U.S. presidential administrations have examined whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and have decided not to do so. During the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. government investigated the Brotherhood and associated Islamist groups, but "after years of investigations, ... the U.S. and other governments, including Switzerland's, closed investigations of the Brotherhood leaders and financial group for lack of evidence, and removed most of the leaders from sanctions lists." The Obama administration was also pressured to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, but did not do so. During the Donald Trump administration, there were serious steps towards designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Designation as a terrorist organization
Countries and organizations below have officially listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.