Hamas leaders Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Why We Need Political Islam

US President Donald Trump has put on the back burner an executive order that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. He should leave it there permanently, for a simple reason: political participation is a vital tool in the fight against global jihadism.

MADRID – US President Donald Trump has put on the back burner an executive order that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. He should leave it there permanently. Inclusive governments that are seen to represent the overwhelmingly devout Muslim societies of the Arab world are a vital antidote to global jihadism.

To be sure, the Muslim Brotherhood has not always fully embodied democratic values. In Egypt, for example, President Mohamed Morsi’s government treated democracy as a winner-take-all proposition – and was ousted after little more than a year.

But addressing such shortcomings by ostracizing legitimate religious-political options merely reinforces jihadist recruiters’ argument that violence is the only way to secure reform. That’s what happened when Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – Morsi’s successor after the 2013 coup d’état – adopted a zero-sum approach to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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