UK won't ban Muslim Brotherhood

UK’s Prime Minister says Muslim Brotherhood will not be banned but links to group should be viewed with suspicion

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels on December 17, 2015

Updated Dec 18, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday that the British Government considered membership or links to the Muslim Brotherhood as "a possible indicator of extremism" but the group would not be banned in the country.

The long-delayed report was first commissioned in April 2014 in an attempt to find out whether the group put British national security at risk.

Cameron said that aspects of the group’s ideology and activities "run counter to British values" and the membership was "a possible indicator of extremism." However, the government found the group’s views and activities did not meet the legal tests for a ban.

"Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. 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," Cameron said in a statement, describing the group as "deliberately opaque, and habitually secretive."

"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 added.

After there were reports last year suggesting the Brotherhood was using London as a base to plan militant activities following a crackdown in Egypt, Cameron ordered Britain’s intelligence agencies to investigate the philosophy and activities of the group.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful charitable and political organisation. However, opponents accuse the group of organising attacks on Egyptian police and military targets.

The group is listed as a terrorist organisation by British ally Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was toppled as president in 2013.

The British report said that the Brotherhood’s use of religion is primarily "a political project," but a minority of its supporters in Egypt have engaged in violent acts of militant.

Cameron said that the government would closely observe Brotherhood’s activities and continue to refuse visas to members and associates who have made extremist comments.

"We will also intensify scrutiny of the views and activities that Muslim Brotherhood members, associates and affiliates - whether based in the UK or elsewhere - promote overseas," Cameron said.

TRTWorld and agencies