David Cameron has said the UK will not ban the Muslim Brotherhood, but stressed that having links with the group could be a “possible indicator of extremism”.
In a written statement, the British Prime Minister on Thursday said the Brotherhood would continue to be reviewed to ensure that it does not break UK laws linked to terrorism and terrorism financing.
The statement was a summary of the findings of the Jenkins report on the group, the publication of which has been repeatedly delayed and will now not be released in full.
Cameron on Thursday stressed that the government’s understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood must adjust to the group’s evolution.
“The findings have revealed much that we did not know but work will continue to ensure we keep up to date with developments,” he said.
Cameron’s statement was released without a parliamentary debate and just hours before MPs broke up for the Christmas holidays.
“Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism,” Cameron said in a statement. “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.”
“It has stated its opposition to al-Qaida (AQ) but it has never credibly denounced the use made by terrorist organisations of the work of Sayyid Qutb, one of the Brotherhood’s most prominent ideologues.”
Sayyid Qutb was a key member of the Egyptian Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s.
The review was completed last summer after UK allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE urged London to follow suit and ban the group. It was then subsequently delayed a number of times.
Middle East Eye reported that British intelligence had previously warned Cameron that reviewing links between terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood would be “fruitless” and not a matter of national security.
MI5 cautioned the prime minister that the launching the review risked damaging relations with elements in the British Muslim community, whom they have used in the past to oust “Salafi Jihadis” from mosques in Britain.
Cameron said that some aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and activities are not tolerant of “British values of democracy, individual liberty, and the mutual respect of different faiths and beliefs.”
“I have made clear this government’s determination to reject intolerance, and to counter not just violent Islamist extremism, but also to tackle those who create the conditions for it to flourish,” he said.
The government has not introduced any changes in dealing with the group, as Cameron went on to list a number of existing policies that the UK is already implementing towards the group, such as refusing visas to members or associates who have made “extremist remarks” and monitoring associated charities to make sure funds are not being channelled to finance the group itself.
The prime minister invoked the UK’s Counter Extremism Strategy that will make use of insights from the government’s overseas posts in order to better understand drivers, networks and ideologies.
“We will continue to consult, and share information and analysis with, governments in the Middle East and North Africa as appropriate,” he said. “We will then take further decisions and actions as needed.”
Source: Middle East Eye