Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Are Potential Extremists, British Government Says

In a statement to MPs, prime minister David Cameron said the UK would not ban the group, but considered support or membership to be an “indicator of extremism”.

The UK government has concluded that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are possible extremists but has stopped short of banning the organisation, David Cameron announced on Thursday as he published his long-awaited review.

The UK government has concluded that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are possible extremists but has stopped short of banning the organisation, David Cameron announced on Thursday as he published his long-awaited review.

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The review, which was ordered by the prime minister in 2014, found that the Muslim Brotherhood – an Islamic political group founded in Egypt in 1928 – had provided a “rite of passage for some individuals and groups who had gone on to engage in violence and terrorism”. It also said that “aspects” of its beliefs “ran counter to British values”.

In a written ministerial statement to Parliament, Cameron said parts of the organisation have a “highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism”.

“The main findings of the Review support the conclusion that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism,” he said.

The review did not call for the organisation to be banned at this stage. Cameron said the government would “keep under review whether the views of activities of the Muslim Brotherhood meet the legal test for proscription”.

Other measures include “refusing visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments,” and to monitor charities linked to the organisation suspected of funding the group’s activities overseas.

The report also says that the Muslim Brotherhood has “selectively used violence and sometimes terror in pursuit of their institutional goals”.

“Their public narrative, notably in the West, emphasised engagement not violence.But there have been significant differences between Muslim Brotherhood communications in English and Arabic,” the report says.

Although it concedes that the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK has “publicly committed to political engagement” it warns that “even by mid-2014, statements from Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-linked media platforms seem to have deliberately incited violence.”

Though the report was commissioned early last year, publication of its findings have consistently been delayed, prompting accusations the government was withholding it to avoid upsetting allies in the Middle East.

Though the report was commissioned early last year, publication of its findings have consistently been delayed, prompting accusations the government was withholding it to avoid upsetting allies in the Middle East.

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The review was led by Britain’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins. Although little has been said about what prompted it, some have speculated that it was called after pressure from Saudi Arabia and other key partners in the region.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt all list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, where membership can result in long prison sentences or even the death penalty.

The review found that the organisation has had a “significant influence” on the main national groups that represent Muslim communities, charities and mosques in the UK.

Individuals associated with the group in this country had also characterised the UK as “fundamentally hostile to Muslim faith and identity” and expressed support for Hamas terrorist attacks, Cameron said.

It said its primary aim of creating a Caliphate under Sharia law should be seen “primarily as a political project”.

Although the review does not accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of being a violent organisation and acknowledges that it stated its opposition to al-Qaeda, the PM’s statement said the organisation had “never credibly denounced the use made by terrorist organisations of the work of Sayyid Qutb, one of the Brotherhood’s most prominent ideologues”.

One member of the Muslim Brotherhood, based in London, told BuzzFeed News that the group did not support violence, adding that the UK “was taking sides with the Egyptian regime”.

Additionally, they said that Sir John Jenkins had not been in the UK due for most of the time the review was taking place, and had not made efforts to contact the London-based branch of the organisation.

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