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US Changes Stance on Egypt's Human Rights Abuses and Labels Muslim Brotherhood Terrorists

A congressional committee just approved legislation to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and Obama seeks to waive human rights conditions on aid to Egypt.

A Republican-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved legislation to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation last Wednesday, reports Ahram Online. If enacted, the US state department would have to ban non-US citizens with ties to the organisation from entering the United States.

The move has been hailed by Egypt whose presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef was quoted as saying, “The move shows that the entire world has started realising Egypt’s point of view.” Egypt’s cheers do not seem to be echoing on the other side of the Mediterranean, however, as Turkey’s presidential spokesman slammed the decision, according to Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.

The move comes as the Obama administration seeks to waive human rights conditions which restrict aid to Egypt, reports CNN. In congressional budget hearings last week, John Kerry acknowledged that "there are disturbing arrests, there are disturbing sentences." He pointed out the US’ clear strategic interests which justify the administrations' position, saying "We've got a huge interest in making sure that Egypt doesn't go down into a more difficult status than it is […] There is a major challenge of extremism, bombs that have been going off in Cairo, bombs that have gone off in Sharm el-Sheikh, different challenges."

The endeavour has attracted widespread criticism among human rights groups, most notably executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy, Stephen Mclnerney who described it as “disappointing” and said that Egypt is witnessing unprecedented human rights abuses.   

(Photo Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)