CAIRO (AA) – A British government review into Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group has concluded that membership or links to the Islamist movement is a “possible indicator of extremism”.
“Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a written statement to parliament on Thursday. “Both as an ideology and as a network it has been a rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence and terrorism.” UK review links Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to extremism
Cameron, who commissioned the review into the Brotherhood in 2014, described the Islamist movement as “deliberately opaque and habitually secretive”.
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia law,” Cameron said. “To this day the Muslim Brotherhood characterizes Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral. It can be seen primarily as a political project.”
Egypt’s oldest Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of a harsh crackdown by the Egyptian regime since the 2013 coup against Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president and a Brotherhood leader.
In the more than two years since Morsi’s ouster, security forces have killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of Brotherhood members and Morsi supporters.
Cameron said despite the Brotherhood’s condemnation of violence, some Brotherhood supporters have been involved in violent exchanges with Egyptian security forces.
Egyptian authorities accuse the Brotherhood of condoning violence, a claim denied by the group, which insists that it is committed to peaceful forms of activism.
Cameron said the Brotherhood had influenced groups in Britain that claimed to represent Muslim communities in talks with the British government.
“But they have also sometimes characterized the U.K. as fundamentally hostile to [the] Muslim faith and identity; and expressed support for terrorist attacks conducted by Hamas,” he said.
The review said despite the Brotherhood’s opposition to al-Qaeda, the group failed to denounce the use of the work of Sayyid Qutb, one of the Brotherhood’s most prominent ideologues, by terrorist groups.
“Individuals closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.K. have supported suicide bombing and other attacks in Israel by Hamas,” Cameron said.
He went on to say that aspects of the Brotherhood’s ideology and activities “run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Sweidan has denied any link between his decades-old group and violence.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has no links to violence and never condoned it,” Sweidan told Anadolu Agency in statements by phone from London.
He said the Brotherhood has not received a copy of the findings of the British government review.
“We will wait until we see the report and we will challenge it before British courts,” he said.
Egyptian authorities have yet to comment on the British review.