British Muslim scholars reject Sisi’s visit to London

Muslim Association of Britain denounces British invitation to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi to visit London

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi has received official invitation to visit London, over which the Muslim Association in Britain highly criticised, specially that the invitation comes only days after June 16 death sentence to deposed president Mohamed Morsi, and dozens other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Vice-President of the Muslim Association of Britain, Muhammad Kuzbar has expressed extreme surprise at the call, especially as it came after the death sentence on Morsi.

Kuzbar said "Britain stands usually against death penalties, and therefore we expect a stronger stance in the face of Sisi’s government after Morsi’s death sentence, but it gave him an invitation to visit instead of exercising pressure on him to revert the sentence."

“The invitation shows the hypocrisy of Western countries," said Kuzbar, “the British government gives trade a greater regard that democracy, human rights.”

The British media reported last Thursday that Prime Minister David Cameron called Sisi to visit London and hold talks with him, despite widespread concern about what the Guardian called "authoritarianism and human rights violations record," by the former army general.

Deputy director of Amnesty International for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahrao, called the British invitation surprising and short-sighted, and that human rights violations are "horrifying" in Egypt.

She added, "We want to see Cameron discussing with Sisi and face-to-face human rights violations in Egypt."

The British Foreign Ministry released a statement recently in which it expressed "deep concern," over the death sentences and life imprisonment issued against Morsi, pointing out that they "are aware of appeal process, and will closely follow the legal process."

On June 16, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced the deposed president to death for breaking out of jail in 2011 despite revising a previous death sentence for espionage down to 25 years in prison.

The Muslim Brotherhood's grand leader Mohamed Badie was also sentenced to death for breaking out of jail after he too had his previous death sentence for espionage lifted.

Meanwhile, 17 others were sentenced to death in the espionage case, including Khairat al Shater and Mohamed al Beltagy. Thirteen more defendants were additionally sentenced to death in absentia.

The Egyptian judiciary accused the defendants of sending Muslim Brotherhood members to Gaza through tunnels to receive military training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah. The court claimed that the defendants ultimately intended to return home and execute what it described as “terrorist acts and disrupting the lives of peaceful citizens.”

The court took note of the opinion of the Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt’s highest religious authority, who “did not find sufficient room for mercy” when he reviewed the cases.

Morsi was elected as Egypt’s president in June 2012, making him Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Within a year, however, pressure was placed on him to leave office amid street protests against his rule demanding early elections, as the country struggled against economic problems. A brutal military crackdown forced Morsi out of office, followed by the bloody dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood camps at the Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the dispersal of the camps, and since July 2013 hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers have been arrested and given inexplicably harsh sentences.

TRTWorld and agencies