Britain not doing enough against the Brotherhood

UK newspaper The Times recently published an article on Muslim Brotherhood activities in Britain, and how they could influence the country’s relations in the Middle East. The article also exposed the pressures aimed at decreasing the severity of the report.

“Britain’s relations with key Gulf allies could be put in jeopardy as the government cracks down on the activities of the world’s largest Islamist movement but stops short of proscribing it as a terrorist organisation,” wrote political editor Sean O’Neill, and crime and security editor Francis Elliott.

Questions raised

This begs certain questions. Will the Brotherhood be affected by this report? Have Brotherhood pressures, via its network of prominent interests and relations, succeeded in preventing the movement from being pursued? Does this reveal American and British support for the Brotherhood despite the toppling of the latter in Egypt?

What will happen in Britain is an attempt to legitimize the Brotherhood, although it is strange to set the condition of condemning terrorism rather than not carrying it out

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Could the refusal to pursue the movement explain the West’s confused viewpoint regarding terrorism in the Middle East, particularly that of the Brotherhood, which many Arab countries have declared a terrorist group?

According to the article, the Brotherhood, “which is linked to Hamas and groups fighting for power in Libya, will be told to come clean about its ‘opaque’ network of affiliates in Britain, which range from mosques and media outlets to businesses, charities and campaign groups.”

The article adds that a unit “has been created to enforce a consistent policy on the Brotherhood, cut its affiliates’ access to public sector grants, examine its financial and tax affairs and demand that groups linked to it disavow terrorism and promote social integration.”


Therefore, what will happen in Britain is an attempt to legitimize the Brotherhood, although it is strange to set the condition of condemning terrorism rather than not carrying it out. The Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt, may condemn the explosions there, but its members carry them out. The Fajr Libya group is killing Libyan civilians, and the Brotherhood does not mind condemning these acts as its leaders have gotten used to lying.

According to the article, Lorenzo Vidino, an expert on the Brotherhood who contributed to the review, said: “This represents a new approach to the Muslim Brotherhood - both the organisation and its ideology. Britain will be using Al Capone tactics - like pulling them up for their tax affairs - to keep the Brotherhood in line.”

The article added: “Westminster sources said that the movement was being put ‘on notice’ and its activities were being closely scrutinized and that David Cameron was said to have been enraged last year after the group’s leadership met in London without British intelligence being aware.”

We do not expect a serious stance from Britain, as it seems that its complicated interests in the Middle East are bigger than its stance against terrorism.

This article was first in al-Masry al-Youm on March 7, 2015.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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