The Muslim Brotherhood is Officially Declared a Terrorist Organization

On December 25, 2013, Egypt’s interim government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and warned that all those found guilty of membership in the organization will be prosecuted. The Interior Ministry decree allowed the state to seize all assets of the Muslim Brotherhood, and will “shutter hundreds of charities and non-governmental organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood.” According to Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa who spoke on the decree at a news conference, the classification of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization was based on Article 86 of Egypt’s penal code, which “indicates that being a member of a terrorist organization is punishable with a jail sentence of a maximum of five years; punishments for financing and occupying leadership positions in any terrorist organization could be as severe as life imprisonment or the death penalty.”

The declaration also allowed troops to enter university campuses for the purpose of preventing and dispersing protests in the name of campus and student security. Ibrahim El Sayed, a member of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, immediately expressed frustration with the decree but insisted that it would not have any real effect on the Muslim Brotherhood’s operations. This intensification of the state-led campaign to suppress the Islamic movement came in the wake of the prior day’s suicide bombing at the Dakahliya Security Directorate in Mansoura, a region north of Cairo. The bombing resulted in 16 deaths and at least 134 injuries. While the Ministry of Interior and other state officials implied that the attack was orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack.