David Cameron has delayed the publication of a report into the links between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which operates a number of front organisations in the UK, and Islamic terrorism.
The Jenkins Report was due to be published this week, but officially it will now be published at the same time as the Government’s new counter-extremism strategy after pressure from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The two countries are said to be worried that under British law the Brotherhood cannot be proscribed as a terrorist group despite being the centre of a web of extremist groups. Had the report been published without the mechanisms in place to ban the Muslim Brotherhood, both Saudi and Egypt may have felt pressurised to end their own crackdowns on the group.
The Brotherhood operates through a number of front organisations in the UK, most of which are based in two buildings in West London. According to the website Stand For Peace these include the Muslim Association of Britain and Interpal, which has been accused by the US government of being the “fundraising coordinator of HAMAS”.
They also include the Cordoba Foundation, which is run by Anas al-Tikriti, a spokesman for the Brotherhood. Cordoba itself was described by David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”.
The Director of the London-based Islam Channel, Mohammed Ali Harrath, was also accused of being a “leading member” of the Brotherhood by the Gatestone Institute. The book ‘Medina In Birmingham, Najaf In Brent, Inside British Islam’ claims the Islam Channel itself regularly gave members of the Brotherhood a platform. This enabled them to give their radical views a far wider audience in the UK.
Despite the extremist views expressed by the Brotherhood across the world the UK was always thought unlikely to ban them. This is because they do not fit the “proscription criteria” that qualifies them as a terrorist group. The Conservatives have privately suggested they will introduce legislation if re-elected to alter the criteria in order to ban the Brotherhood. In practice this would mean including a much broader definition of what constitutes supporting terrorism, particularly abroad.
The Jenkins report was ordered by David Cameron in April last year as a result of concerns expressed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in London. It is chaired by the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins.
Earlier this year Andrew Gilligan reported that Jenkins will demonstrate “clear links” between the Brotherhood and the terrorist group Hamas. He said the report was expected to “trigger further action” against some of the groups that link the two.
The announcement of the delay was made in written form to the House of Commons yesterday. Submitting statements on paper makes it hard for MPs to ask questions, but parliamentarians may use the Leader of the House of Commons appearance on Thursday to demand a debate on the Muslim Brotherhood.
London has long been considered a haven for all manner of radical groups, leading to it aquiring the nickname “Londonistan”. Steven Merley from the Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch echoed this view. He told the Financial Times: “Britain is the command and control centre for the Brotherhood in Europe. Nowhere else comes close — that is undeniable.”