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Hotspots and Incidents » Conflicts

The Muslim Brotherhood's European controversies and Russia's position

22.04.2014
 
Pages: 123

By Giovanni Giacalone

The Muslim Brotherhood's European controversies and Russia's position. 52636.jpeg

The British inquiry on the Muslim Brotherhood

The British government has ordered the opening of an inquiry on the Muslim Brotherhood's activity in the country.

Prime minister David Cameron said that the decision was taken at the end of March, after it was concluded that the British intelligence did not have enough information about the activities of the Islamist organization in the United Kingdom and in Egypt.

Downing Street has asked Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to prepare a report on the Muslim Brotherhood's "philosophy and values and alleged connections with extremism and violence".

Speaking at a No 10 news conference, Mr. Cameron said that the government was committed to encouraging people away from the path of extremism.

"We want to challenge the extremist narrative that some Islamist organizations have put out," he told reporters following talks with new Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

"What I think is important about the Muslim Brotherhood is that we understand what this organization is, what it stands for, what its beliefs are in terms of the path of extremism and violent extremism, what its connections are with other groups, what its presence is here in the United Kingdom. Our policies should be informed by a complete picture of that knowledge..." he said." [1]

Reactions were almost immediate; the secretary-general of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim Mounir,  who is based in London, condemned the inquiry, saying that it will increase terrorism risks: [2]

"If this [ban] happened, this would make a lot of people in Muslim communities think that [peaceful] Muslim Brotherhood values... didn't work and now they are designated a terrorist group, which would make the doors open for all options," he said.

When asked if he was referring specifically to the use of violence, he replied: "Any possibility."

And again:

"This would make more problems than we ever expect, not just for Britain, for all Islamic organizations round the world holding peaceful ideologies. If the UK makes this option, you can't predict [what would happen] with Muslims around the globe, especially the big Muslim organizations close to the Muslim Brotherhood and sharing its ideology." [3]

In the meantime there have been rumors about the possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood is preparing to flee their London headquarter for Graz, Austria and three other European cities. [4]

On April 13th Ibrahim Mounir denied such news to the Anadolu Agency: "I cannot imagine or accept to leave Britain for any other country".

According to Mounir the decisions of the Muslim Brotherhood are not made in London and he denied rumors about fifteen Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood members who had applied for asylum in the United Kingdom, as recently reported by the Egyptian media. [5]

It is interesting how Downing  Street suddenly realized that there was insufficient intelligence information on an organization that has been hosted in the country for decades and with whom they have maintained relations that root back to the early '20s during colonial times in Egypt.

The chairman of the board of trustees of the Birmingham-based Islamic Relief Worldwide, was Essam El-Haddad, one of the closest assistant on Foreign Relations to former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. The current chairman is Mr. Ibrahim El-Zayat, indicated by several institutional reports as one of the major leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe; German authorities openly say that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also link him to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi non-governmental organization.[6] [7]

El-Zayat married Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Mehmet Sabri Erbakan, the nephew of Necmettin Erbakan, "father" of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey .[8] [9] [10] [11]

The controversies in central Europe and the case of Milan

Although some analysts do believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is currently looking for new headquarters, possibly in central Europe and one of the potential cities could be Milan.

In the last few months there have been heavy controversies linked to the possible construction of the first big mosque in Milan, one year away from the 2015 Expo.

A group that goes by the name Caim, who is well-known for its pro-Morsy positions, is presenting a project to Milan's municipality in order to build the mosque on a public space but the issue has raised concerns among all those who are not in line with the group's ideas.

Several members of its board have been photographed and filmed while leading pro-Morsy protests in the city, including its coordinator who is often speaking at the Mili Gorus meetings in Milan.

Mili Gorus is a Turkish organization known for its strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood. [12]

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