Egypt’s military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group on Wednesday, criminalizing all its activities, its financing and even membership in the organization, from which the country’s ousted president hails.
The announcement is a dramatic escalation of the fight between authorities and the group, which has waged near-daily protests since the July 3 military coup that toppled democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi.
The unprecedented executive decision likely ends any chance of reconciliation between the government and the 85-year-old Brotherhood, still Egypt’s most organized political group.
It marks a stunning reversal of fortunes for the long-outlawed organization that saw member Mohammed Morsi reach Egypt’s highest office in the country’s first democratic election, only to be ousted in a popularly backed military coup in July. And it takes a step that not even autocrat Hosni Mubarak took in his nearly 30-year rule.
“Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group,” Eissa said. “This was in context of dangerous escalation to violence against Egypt and Egyptians [and] a clear declaration by the Muslim Brotherhood group that it still knows nothing but violence.”
The Brotherhood has staged near-daily protests since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army in July following widespread popular protests. Thousands of its members have been killed and jailed since then, and the group has faced mounting legal problems.
“We might witness another insurgency, an Algeria scenario. You might see the emergence of a violent faction in the Brotherhood,” Anani said.
(Additional reporting by Tom Perry in Cairo and Douwe Miedema in Washington; Editing by Tom Perry and Sandra Maler)