A controversial report on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, which is already six months late, will be finally released in heavily redacted form next month amid accusations that it has been the subject of political pressure to not offend the Qataris.
Keen to preserve fragile alliances in the Middle East, the British government appears to have found itself tangled in a complex web of allegiances over the Brotherhood, which played a significant part in the Egyptian Revolution and has flourished in the permissive environment of the United Kingdom. While new-found ally Qatar supports the Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia has banned the organisation and affiliate groups, and persecutes its members.
The United Arab Emirates banned the Muslim brotherhood only last week. Remarkably they have even proscribed the Muslim Association of Britain, an organisation that is legal in the United Kingdom.
The report was supposed to create a definitive response to the Muslim Brotherhood, and to decide whether to classify the organisation, which purportedly encourages extremist acts as a terrorist group. Government figures are, reports the Financial Times frustrated at the final version of the report which has been neutered to appease Qatar and may now pose more questions than it answers.
Although the final judgement appears to have come down in the side of Qatar, the government appears to be in a difficult position of making offence whichever way it goes on the matter.
According to government insiders who are familiar with the report, it will make no policy suggestions and will merely lead to further more reports, giving groups that could have been declared illegal terrorist organisations more time to continue their activities unhindered.
In the meanwhile it is reported the government will pursue undesirables with a technique described as the “Al Capone method”. The phrase refers to the downfall of a notorious American gang boss of the early 20th century, who was suspected to several heinous crimes, including murder, but was eventually prosecuted on tax evasion. One source said “We cannot get them for terrorism but I bet you they don’t pay their taxes”.