President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 31, 2013, during a ceremony to honor the 2013 NCAA Women s Basketball Champion team, the University of Connecticut Huskies. Credit: AP
The White House said President Barack Obama had no plans “at this time” to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, responding to overseas press reports that Obama would meet with members of the Islamist group at the White House.
“Egyptian press reports that the president has agreed to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood are completely false,” White House National Security Staff spokeswoman Catlin Hayden told The Blaze. “The president has no such plans at this time.”
The Egyptian Independent first reported Tuesday that Obama agreed to meet with Muslim Brotherhood officials at the White House, and cited unnamed officials. The Jerusalem Post picked up the report, citing the Egyptian newspaper.
The Egyptian report said Obama was ready to meet to “hear their opinion.” The story said that Turkish diplomats were also set to attend the meeting, which was expected to take place in August. According to the story, the Turkish diplomats were expected to lobby for ousted President Mohamed Morsi's reinstatement.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist group in the Middle East that has expressed support for Hamas, a terrorist group. It was founded in Egypt. Once marginalized there, the organization took power after the Egyptian elections, but was later ousted from power in Egypt's second popular uprising in less than three years.
In July 2012, Obama administration officials met with Hani Nour Eldin, a then-elected member of the Egyptian Parliament and member of the Egyptian Islamic Group, Gamaa Islamiya, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. The group, however, is a recognized Islamist political party in Egypt. The administration's meeting with Eldin was originally reported by The Daily Beast. This group's spiritual leader was the “blind sheik" Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 for the first bombing of the of World Trade Center.
Billy Hallowell and Sara Carter contributed to this report.