On Wednesday evening, Egypt’s interim government officially classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization,” and is now moving to freeze its assets and close hundreds of its offices and associations nationwide.
More than 1,000 Brotherhood-funded entities are now eligible to be shut down across the country.
This came one day after a deadly car bomb exploded at the Daqahlia Security Directorate in Mansoura, an attack which the government attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet radical militant Islamist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes claimed responsibility for the explosion, which left at least 13 dead and approximately 140 injured.
The Brotherhood issued an official statement on Tuesday denouncing the attack, and has sought to distance itself from such acts. But Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi accused it of sponsoring such violence and said that the Islamist group had “revealed its true ugly face as a terrorist organization.”
Beblawi’s interim Cabinet moved to list the Brotherhood as a “terrorist group” on Wednesday. A court had already ruled that the group was “outlawed” on September 23. This verdict paved the way for freezing the Brotherhood’s assets, and was upheld by a higher court on November 6.
Since November, the Brotherhood’s defense lawyers had been attempting to appeal against the September 23 verdict.
The Brotherhood had been listed as an outlawed organization since 1954, when President Gamal Abdel Nasser accused it of attempting to assassinate him.
Following the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood – and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party – managed to win majorities at both houses of parliament and win the presidential election of June 2012. It also succeeded in largely controlling the process of issuing a new constitution in December 2012.
However, following the June 30 mass protests this year, President Mohamed Morsi and fellow Brotherhood members were ousted from office by the military on July 3.
Since the bloody dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest sit-ins by security forces on August 14, state-owned channels have featured banners reading “Egypt fighting terrorism,” while state-owned media outlets referred to the Brotherhood as the “outlawed society.”
Established in 1928, the Brotherhood’s ranks grew over the decades, and many argue that it has proved to be country’s largest and best organized political force.