Muslim Brotherhood review not fully published

26th Feb 2016
Muslim Brotherhood review not fully published

(Photo: Hamada Elrasam VOA/ Creative Commons)

Hamed Chapman

The Government’s long-awaited review into the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain came and passed without the findings of the two-year investigation being published. Instead Prime Minister, David Cameron, issued just a summary of what were said to be the “main findings” just ahead of Parliament going into recess for the Christmas break on December 17.

“Much that we did not know” was learnt in what was a “complex subject,” Cameron said. Among the conclusions were that it was a “deliberately opaque, habitually secretive” organisation. “Both as an ideology and a network it has been a rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence.”

The review was coincidentally launched in Britain when the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power in Egypt in a military coup. Many of its leaders and activists have since either been sentenced to death or life imprisonment in a series of summary trials. Cameron told MPs that his Government would treat membership of, or influence by, the Muslim Brotherhood as a “possible indicator of extremism”.

Significantly the report did not propose banning the Brotherhood or simply designating it as a terrorist organisation. Instead, Cameron’s statement makes sweeping generalisations and often negative characterisation of British organisations allegedly as a threat to national security.

Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins, who chaired the inquiry concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood have “preferred non-violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamisation is complete.” But he insisted it was “prepared to countenance violence -including, from time to time, terrorism – where gradualism is ineffective.”

Yet the report’s other co-author, Charles Farr, offered a more lenient view of Brotherhood-inspired groups working in Britain. “Such groups had in the past held out the prospect and ambition of an Islamic state in this country as elsewhere” but there was “no indication that the Muslim Brotherhood still held this view or at least openly promoted an Islamic state here.”

Organisations linked by the review have totally rejected such allegations. In a joint statement, Muslim Association of Britain, the Cordoba Foundation and Finsbury Park Mosque said that despite believing the Brotherhood to be the “most important democratic Islamic political actor of our time, which counters the nihilistic rhetoric of the likes of ISIS,” they operated under and were “regulated by British laws and regulations exclusively.”

“None have ever previously received any caution or notice of wrong doing throughout their respective years of service. Indeed, all three organisations have been commended for their efforts in serving various causes and upholding values of community, charity, democracy, dialogue, outreach and transparency.”

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) also said it “rejects entirely the insinuation that it is either soft on terrorism” or “have consistently opposed programmes by successive Governments to prevent terrorism”. “Our record is clear. Since we were established we have initiated campaigns to encourage Muslim communities to cooperate with the police to confront terrorism.”

The largest Muslim umbrella organisation of over 500 affiliates, which was founded by a cross-section of British Muslim organisations belonging to various traditions, found other faults in the review. These included the claim that one of its national affiliates the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) had “distanced itself from the MCB”. The ISB like the Muslim Association of Britain are represented in the National Council, and the previous Secretary General was a former President of the organisation, it said.

Some 250 affiliates came together to form the MCB in 1997. All are “as important as each other.” All are encouraged to “seek the common good and uphold the rule of law.” Not one single organisation dominated the founding, it said contradicting the Muslim Brotherhood review

“Many bigots have tried to label the Muslim Council of Britain as a foreign organisation. It is a shame that our loyalty and commitment to this country of ours continues to be questioned. We are concerned that the findings of this review is at risk of treading that path.”


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