Egypt declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
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Egypt's military-backed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted president Mohammed Morsi a "terrorist" group Wednesday, banning all its activities, including demonstrations, ministers said after a cabinet meeting.
Deputy prime minister Hossam Eissa said the movement has been declared a "terrorist" group and social solidarity minister Ahmed al-Borei said the government would ban all its activities, including "protests."
Eissa added that the implications of the declaration punish those who belong to the group, finance it and promote the group’s activities.
Eissa said that the decision was in response to Tuesday's deadly bombing targeting a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
“Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group,” He 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 is still knows nothing but violence.”
“It's not possible for Egypt the state nor Egypt the people to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism,” he added.
Eissa offered no evidence in his speech linking the Brotherhood to the attack while the Brotherhood has denied any responsibility or involvement in Tuesday's bombing.
Ibrahim Elsayed, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's political group, the Freedom and Justice Party, said the government announcement will have no impact on the work or the beliefs of the group, because it has seen repeated government repression and continued to exist with a moderate view of Islam.
“This decision is as if it never happened. It has no value for us and is only worth the paper it is written on,'' he told The Associated Press. “It won't impact us from near and far. Ideas won't be impacted by false accusations. We uphold this call only for the sake of God.”
The declaration, he said, means that those who “participate in the group's activities, in the organisation or promotion verbally or by writing or by any other means or financing its activities'' will be facing punishment according to the law. He said that the government had notified other Arab countries about its decision. The Brotherhood has organisations and political parties in other nations in the region.
Ahmed el-Borai, the Minister of Social Solidarity, told reporters in a news conference that the decision means “all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood group are - banned including the demonstrations.”
The declaration gives the armed forces and the police the right to enter universities and prevent protests, as “protection to the students,” el-Borai said.
Speaking later on Wednesday, a leader of the Islamist movement vowed that the protests would carry on.
"The protests will continue, certainly," Ibrahim Munir, a member of the group's executive council who is in exile in London, told AFP, calling the move "illegitimate".
"This is an attempt to frame the Brotherhood," he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)