The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is using a series of front organisations to push for serious political power in the UK, many of which have links to Hamas. That is the conclusion of an investigation by Sunday Telegraph journalist Andrew Gilligan, released shortly before the government’s own review of the MB is published.
Whilst the government’s report is now expected to say the group has no “direct” links to terrorism, wrangling over that conclusion is believed to be the reason for the delay in the publication of its summary. However, there are still significant concerns that the group has close links to Hamas, which is banned in almost all western countries.
An official source told Gilligan the report, which is chaired by the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir John Jenkins, will demonstrate “clear links” between the Brotherhood and Hamas. It is expected to “trigger further action” against some of the groups that link the two.
Another source with links to counter-extremism said: “When you start forensically going through the names and locations, there’s no way the Brotherhood can keep up the denials,” raising fresh concerns about the group’s activities across the United Kingdom.
Gilligan said: “The Sunday Telegraph has established that the main hubs for the Brotherhood’s operations in Europe are Westgate House, a serviced office block at the Hangar Lane roundabout in Ealing, west London, and Crown House, about half a mile north of it on the North Circular Road.
“The two buildings contain at least 25 organisations linked to the Brotherhood, or to Hamas. A third building very close by – Pinnacle House on Old Oak Common Lane – houses Interpal, another major charity which has had close links to the Brotherhood and Hamas. Interpal is banned by the US government as a terrorist organisation.”
Interpal has been accused of having links to Hamas, but the Charity Commission accepts its claim that these links no longer exist. However, its managing trustee, Essam Mustafa, was pictured just over a year ago accompanying the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, on an official visit in Gaza. They were later shown singing together, and appeared to have a strong relationship.
Westgate House is also home to an organisation called the Cordoba Foundation. It is run by Anas al-Tikriti, a spokesman for the MB, and Cordoba itself was described by David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”. Mr al-Tikriti has said publicly “the Brotherhood supports Hamas. I believe that if you are occupied you need to fight back.” He is not believed to have suffered any form of disciplinary action for making the link.
The building is also home to The Muslim Charities Forum, an umbrella organisation which represents charities that have donated to Hamas. The Forum’s activities raised so much concern in central government that they were stripped of a £250,000 grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.
At the time Pickles justified removing the grant by saying his department will “cease funding any organisation that supports or is linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence.” Six of the ten charities linked together by The Muslim Charities Forum gave money to the 101 Days Campaign.
The US Treasury claimed the campaign was established “in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Hamas” and it is banned in America. It is headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is banned from the UK and is a leading figure in the MB.
Although the British government has treated the MB and Hamas as two separate organisations Hamas’s 1988 founding charter states that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine”,
The MB itself claims to be working democratically but it is known to be using the system to work towards implementing Sharia Law in Britain. Historically this short-term commitment to democratic campaigning in the UK has protected it from being banned, but the Gilligan report is likely to lead to pressure from the US to take action against it in London.
Britain has long been accused of being a haven for Islamists, and London even acquired the nickname Londonistan. Security services took the view the groups should be allowed to operate in exchange for them agreeing not to attack the UK. However, if they are shown to be using front organisations to subvert democracy and funnel money to Hamas the government may be forced to act.