Muslim Brotherhood are possible extremists, David Cameron says


Source: The Guardian

David Cameron has described members of the Muslim Brotherhood as possible extremists but stopped short of banning the group after a long-delayed official inquiry into its activities in Britain.

The prime minister said the review found the Islamist organisation, of which the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is a senior member, had had significant influence in groups claiming to speak for British Muslims.

He added that the Brotherhood, which is opposed by some Gulf states, characterised the UK as fundamentally hostile to Muslim faith and identity and had expressed support for terrorist attacks by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

“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,” Cameron said in a written ministerial statement to MPs. “Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism.”

The prime minister’s statement went far further than expected, and the report ends by claiming that “aspects of Muslim Brotherhood … are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security”.

The review was undertaken by the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins, and Charles Farr, the director general of the office for security and counterterrorism in the Home Office. The findings were due to be published in July 2014 but have been long delayed, with no explanation from Downing Street.

An 11-page summary makes it clear the government accepts that the “Muslim Brotherhood has not been linked to terrorist-related activity in and against the UK” and has “often condemned terrorist-related activity in the UK associated with al-Qaida”.

However, the report raises concerns over the “sometimes secretive, if not clandestine” way the Brotherhood operated in the recent past and noted it sought to shape – by stealth – Muslim thinking through three UK mainstream organisations: the Muslim Association of Britain, theMuslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain, which has now disowned its roots.

The Jenkins report says that “for some years the Muslim Brotherhood shaped the [then] new Islamic Society of Britain, dominated the Muslim Association of Britain and played an important role in establishing and then running the Muslim Council of Britain.”

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