The Tamarod movement that toppled Mohammed Morsi through the strength of stacks of petitions and massive peaceful protests called the Christmas Day decision to brand the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group “better late than never.”
The Brotherhood, meanwhile, lashed out at the declaration of the Egyptian interim government, which came after a Tuesday bombing at the security directorate headquarters in Mansoura that killed 16.
And the Obama administration scolded the Egyptians for the move while indicating it won’t be following suit.
In the designation read Wednesday after a cabinet meeting, Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa said “Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group.”
“This was in context of dangerous escalation to violence against Egypt and Egyptians — a clear declaration by the Muslim Brotherhood group that it is still knows nothing but violence,” Eissa added. “It’s not possible for Egypt the state nor Egypt the people to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.”
“This classification came without investigation, without evidence…. No entity should be so classified or disbanded, except through legal procedures. Thus naming the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization is completely groundless in the absence of any evidence to prove this description which is vehemently rejected by the group,” the Brotherhood said in a statement.
“The decision is invalid and illegal, because so far no court made any definitive judgments about the group and its leaders. The Brotherhood’s Legal Committee is considering an appeal of this decision. It will announce its course of action and legal position later.”
The Free Egyptians Party said the “historic” move against the Brotherhood will help stop “one of the most horrible fascist and racist groups.”
The liberal Wafd Party said is was a tardy designation and the Egyptian people know that the Brotherhood is bad news regardless of how many bombings it conducts. Egyptian Social Democratic Party head Mohamed Abul-Ghar said the decision “calmed the Egyptian people, especially after the terrorist attacks this group has been doing in the Egyptian street.”
Tamarod pointed to the upcoming referendum on the new constitution as the next step against the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We believe that the great Egyptian people will conquer terrorism; the 14 and 15 January will be the greatest evidence on how the Egyptians support the roadmap and revolution’s constitution,” the group said in a statement.
Coptic Catholic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Giza told newspaper Al Youm Al Sabea that he expects the Brotherhood to keep attacking Christians, but “these explosions will not prevent the mass mobilization for the referendum on the constitution. On the contrary, they increase our determination … to follow through with advancing the nation.”
Among the rights guaranteed to women and Christians in the new document is the right for Christians to build churches without the permission of the president, something that would be new in modern Egypt.
The bishop called weathering the Brotherhood’s attacks “the price we know we have to pay” for “Egypt to get back up on its feet again.”
“We are telling our children, our life is the life of the cross, and no one can build the country except her children. The youth have to work with the country and when the level of the country rises, so will the level of its Christians and Muslims, together,” he said.
Today, Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets to clash with police and residents, killing three and resulting in 265 MB arrests. Among those injured was Raed Abdeen, a Tamarod member who said a member of the Muslim Brotherhood shot at him.
Those who participate in a protest organized by a terrorist group face up to five years behind bars.
Secretary of State John Kerry called Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Thursday and “expressed concern about the interim Egyptian government’s December 25 terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recent detentions and arrests,” according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
She said Kerry “underscored the need for an inclusive political process across the political spectrum that respects the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians in order to achieve political stability and democratic change.”
An administration source indicated to Reuters that the White House has no intention of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and sees Egypt as going “way too far” against the MB.