The Global Post has published an article titled “As Egypt Targets Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia Follows Suit” that looks at the decision by Saudi Arabia to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The article begins:
July 8, 2014 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — The Saudi government’s March designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group caused many Saudis to wonder if they now risk being seen as criminals because of their longstanding sympathies with the organization.
The Ministry of Interior decree put the Brotherhood— the oldest political Islamist organization in the Muslim world — on a par with such groups as Al Qaeda even though the Brotherhood does not condone violence. Even the slightest display of support for the group, including posting online images and slogans, was outlawed.
‘The government is now saying that people who are like you are terrorists?’ asked Bassim Alim, a lawyer in Jeddah. While there is no Brotherhood organization in the kingdom, Alim explained, there are many people ‘with the Muslim Brotherhood lifestyle and outlook on life.’
The Brotherhood’s banning appears to stem from two of Riyadh’s political priorities. First, to show support for Egypt’s military junta, which declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group last December and has been aggressively arresting and prosecuting its members since then, including hundreds of death sentences. Secondly, to quash any ambitions among Brotherhood-influenced Saudi dissidents to demand internal political reforms.
‘People know that [the banning]is done for the politicians’ interest,’ said Mohammad Al Ojaimi, a businessman and activist in Riyadh. ‘They’re afraid of the Arab Spring.’”
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported in March that Saudi Arabia had formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and was among a group of Gulf countries that had recalled their envoys from Qatar over the issue. We also reported in May that that three well-known imams in the Kingdom’s Southern Province had been banned for life from delivering sermons after they were found to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and that Saudi authorities had arrested nine university professors for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the GMBDW has also noted that since the designation, the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL), historically close to the Muslim Brotherhood, had held a global conference in the name of King Abdullah which included among its speakers two important leaders in the Global Muslim Brotherhood and that top Deputies of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi had been welcomed to the Kingdom by the Secretary-General of the MWL. Our analysis of these events suggests that for whatever reason, the MWL is being allowed to conduct itself outside of declared Saudi policy and that there is some kind of “disconnect” between Saudi domestic and foreign policy regarding the Global Muslim Brotherhood.