Statement of the Honorable Ranking Member John Conyers for Markup of HR 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015”
“For several reasons, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in opposing H.R. 3892, the ‘Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015.’
“Most importantly, our Committee is marking up this bill without holding a single hearing and without considering the serious diplomatic and foreign policy ramifications of our actions.
“Less than one year ago, our Committee marked up a bill expressing the sense of Congress that the Taliban ought to be designated a terrorist organization by the United States government.
“At that time, my Democratic colleagues and I appealed to the Chairman and to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to reconsider. Over our objections and calls for a reasoned consideration of the subject matter, the Majority moved to a vote and reported the bill out of the Committee.
“Once again, without holding any hearings or even receiving a briefing from the Department of State or the intelligence community, the House Judiciary Committee is marking up a bill that would have the United States designate a foreign organization as a terrorist organization.
“It is very worrisome that the Majority appears to be making a habit of bringing up measures for consideration that have received no deliberative process.
“Another concern I have about our Committee’s process is that it is taking action today without any real consideration of the facts.
“I want to be clear that my opposition to this measure does not in any way mean that I would hesitate to condemn the Brotherhood’s anti-Israel rhetoric.
“However, since swearing off violence in the 1950s, the Brotherhood has become a predominantly non-violent religious, political, and social service organization. Before rushing to conclusions that can lead to unknown or unintended consequences, our Committee should weigh and consider the specific facts that pertain to this complex organization.
“When the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood five years ago, every expert witness cautioned against taking the kind of action our Committee is taking today.
“Any terrorist designation must be based on the facts, not innuendo and supposition. Moving this bill out of our Committee today is precisely the kind of provocative action that all five witnesses at that hearing, the Department of State, and every foreign policy expert warns against.
“Finally, I fear that this bill appeals to our base fears. Islamaphobia may be good politics - time will tell - but it is certainly not good policy. It does not serve our national security or foreign policy interests. And it will not make us safer.
“This bill paints with a broad brush all members of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists. But we know that in Kuwait and Jordan, members of the Brotherhood served in Parliament and in the cabinet. The Muslim Brotherhood has the support of millions of Egyptians.
“Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian-Americans who have family in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East would be subject to draconian consequences due to the foreign terrorist designation.
“Instead of hastily passing such flawed legislation out of this Committee, we should be taking steps to counter the growth in anti-Muslim sentiments, targeted rhetorical attacks, and violence against the Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American communities.
“Those efforts will strengthen our Nation’s security and not undermine it, as this ill-conceived legislation will certainly do.”
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Click here to watch video of markup of H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015.”