London – CAGE has warned that moves by the British government to crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and all groups associated with it will increase anti-British sentiment in the UK and around the world, as well as foster a culture of suspicion and polarisation.
The government review will allow for: investigations into charities deemed to be “fronts” for the MB; enquiries into the funding of the MB and alleged links to militant groups abroad; and bans on clerics from Qatar and Turkey who are linked to the MB from visiting Britain.
The review comes in the wake of a Cabinet Office report, compiled but not yet published, that alleges “an incredibly complex web” of up to 60 organisations in Britain, including charities, think tanks and even television channels, with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The review was called on the back of government claims that the Muslim Brotherhood were connected to the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, as well as claims that it was involved in a violent attack on a tourist bus in Sinai which killed three people.  In fact, the al-Qaeda-linked group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for the Sinai attack, while Rigby’s killers have no proven ties to the MB.
CAGE has numerous concerns about claims that the MB “might be a terrorist organisation”, as well as in terms of the political influences on the report, and its timing – in the wake of the group’s recent designation as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the military regime in Egypt and by its political and financial backers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Ironically, Al-Qaeda leaders have repeatedly denounced the Muslim Brotherhood for a host of charges; paramount among these is its support for democracy.
Only five countries have designated the Muslim Brotherhood a ‘terrorist organisation’: Syria, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
“The public must be assured that foreign regimes and private defense companies hold no sway over British policy. The choice of Britain’s current ambassador to Saudi Arabia to lead the review must also be questioned,” said CAGE research director Asim Qureshi.
“This review was launched just six weeks after BAE Systems struck a major sales deal with the Saudis and just three weeks after Saudi Arabia’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a ‘terrorist organisation’.”
“The UK government’s apparent confusion about the roots and role of the Muslim Brotherhood is questionable since the organisation has existed openly for over 86 years, has countless records of its activities, and David Cameron met with its leaders last year.”
“Leaks now confirm that the report states the obvious: the Muslim Brotherhood aren’t a violent organisation. The government should publish the report immediately and stop pandering to those who won’t agree with its findings.”
These concerns take place within the context of CAGE’s ongoing alarm at the British government’s increasingly broad definition of “extremism”, which targets ideology and belief as opposed to actual criminal activity, thereby threatening individual thought and freedom.
Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)