Egypt Court Bans Muslim Brotherhood

In a dramatic crackdown that is likely to enrage Islamist supporters, an Egyptian court made the Muslim Brotherhood and all its activities illegal Monday, as pro-Morsi protests continue.

"The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," Judge Mohammed al-Sayed told Reuters on Monday.

It also ordered the state to seize the organization's funds and take control of its assets.

The move comes as both the military and Adli Mansour's government continue to tighten their grip on pro-Morsi supporters. Last Thursday, Egyptian police, decked out in bullet-proof vests and machine guns, raided a largely Muslim tourist town and arrested 55 people. And a few weeks ago, a state prosecutor charged former President Mohammed Morsi with "committing acts of violence, and inciting killing and thuggery" last December, leading to the death of ten civilians. Many other senior Brotherhood members have been detained on charges of inciting violence at protests, and on September 17, Egyptian prosecutors froze their assets.

Meanwhile, an official said Sunday that the government-appointed committee in charge of reviewing the country's Morsi-era constitution is likely to completely rewrite the charter.

"The general drive inside the committee is for total change of the constitution, so probably every single article of the constitution is going to be amended or changed or deleted or a new one added," said committee spokesman Mohamed Salmawy.

The Muslim Brotherhood — which has existed outside Egyptian law for decades — was only officially registered as an NGO in March 2013. After ex-leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011, it was able to work openly, and eventually the Brotherhood won both parliamantary and presidential elections. But following the military's ouster of Morsi in January of this year, the Brotherhood has been the target of an increasingly intense government crackdown, as it continues to organize demonstrations calling for Morsi to be reinstated.

The ruling — which is possible to appeal — gives the government the power to monitor and potentially entirely halt the Muslim Brotherhood's system of social services.