Problems on hold
After nearly one-and-a-half years of dithering that raised not a few apprehensions, UK Premier David Cameron earlier this month announced the findings of a report on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). In April 2014, Cameron had commissioned the British security apparatus to review the MB, their origin, dogma, activity and operations, and organisation inside and outside the UK.
On 17 December, Cameron made public his government’s review of the long-awaited report, citing its most important findings as well as the policies the UK government intends to adopt directly or in the future so as to closely survey the MB and curb terrorism and violence.
Those who still doubt the connection between the MB and violent terrorist groups in the Arab World and in Europe, especially in the UK which has over recent years offered the MB a safe haven, are invited to read the “Muslim Brothers: the origin of terrorism” report issued by the International Criminal Law Bureau’s9 Bedford Row (9BR) last April. The 9BR report was reviewed by the media the world over, and in detail in Watani [http://en.wataninet.com/opinion/editorial/muslim-brothers-the-origin-of-terrorism/13600/]. The report establishes that “the history of the MB since its inception in the 1920s has been closely linked to its ‘secret apparatus’, the group’s military arm. This remained the inspiration for all terrorist organisations and groups around the world, from al-Qaeda and IS, to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in Sinai, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia, and others”. In my review of the 9BR report, I commented that albeit offering nothing new to Egyptians, the 9BR is especiallyimportant since it was issued by the London based International Criminal Law Bureau, and may possibly alert international powers that still embrace the MB to their potential peril.
I will shed light on the most important points that featured in Cameron’s statement on the 9BR report and the UK government’s plan:
- In April 2014 the Prime Minister commissioned an internal review of the Muslim Brotherhood, including its origins, ideology, record in and out of government; and its organisation and activities in the UK and abroad.
- The review was conducted by two of the UK’s most senior and expert civil servants: Sir John Jenkins, until recently Ambassador to Riyadh, and Charles Farr, at the time of writing Director General of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism in the Home Office.
The review was completed in July 2014.In preparing its policy response to the Review the Government has continued to assess developments in the MB in Egypt and elsewhere, including through the new Extremism Analysis Unit.
- Through the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s experience in power in Egypt between 2011 and 2013, the Egyptian MB did not do enough to demonstrate political moderation or a commitment to democratic values, it failed to convince Egyptians of their competence or good intentions, and subsequently struggled to draw lessons for what its failure in Egypt meant for its future.
- From at least the 1950s the Egyptian MB also developed an international network, within and beyond the Islamic world. Europe became an important base for the growing Muslim Brotherhood global network. International Muslim Brotherhood organisations received financial and other support from the Gulf. In the 1950s, the 1970s and again today, their dispersed international presence has provided the means for the MB to regroup and recover from setbacks in Egypt and elsewhere.
- Material still being promoted by UKIM as of July 2014 continued to explicitly claim that it is not possible for an observant Muslim to live under a non-Islamic system of government (and anticipated the forthcoming ‘victory’ of Islam over communism, capitalist democracy and secular materialism).
In 2010 a television documentary showed members of the Islamic Forum for Europe privately advocating sharia law in Tower Hamlets and actively seeking influence in the Council.
The Muslim Association of Britain have consistently opposed programmes by successive governments to prevent terrorism.
- UK official engagement with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood produced no discernible change in their thinking. Indeed even by mid 2014 statements from Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-linked media platforms seem to have deliberately incited violence.
- Aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security.
Cameron in his statement did not ban the Muslim Brotherhood altogether in Britain. The Prime Minister said Britain “will keep under review the views that are promoted and activities that are undertaken by Muslim Brotherhood associates in the UK”, to assess whether they meet the banning criteria.
27 December 2015