British Prime Minister David Cameron Pulls Report on Muslim Brotherhood
British Prime Minister David Cameron pulled a report on Monday that was widely expected to recommend against labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
The review, led by Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins, also was expected to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the United Kingdom should be more open and remain under review. No concrete policy recommendations were expected; however, the report was expected to name a network of linked organizations alleged to be involved in extremist activities.
This network reportedly included a complex web of at least 60 organizations, think tanks, TV channels, and charities with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. The British government decided in December that it would release only a summary of the full report.
The anticipated recommendations could place Britain at odds with Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization last year. The UAE included the U.K.-based Cordoba Foundation, headed by Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas al-Tikriti, and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) on its list of terrorist organizations.
Al-Tikriti previously served as MAB’s spokesman and has a track record of supporting Hamas. He also supported Islamist terrorists in their fight against U.S. and U.K. troops following Saddam Hussein’s fall.
British ministers worry that being too tough on the Brotherhood could annoy Qatar, which recently signed an intelligence agreement with the U.K.
Disputes over the Muslim Brotherhood’s terror connections delayed the report’s scheduled release, but the Financial Times suggests that the report is unlikely to see the light of day prior to Britain’s May 7 elections.
“I would like to update the House [the UK parliament] that a report into the main findings of the Muslim Brotherhood Review will be published alongside the Government’s new counter-extremism strategy,” Cameron told the MPs in a written statement.
Cameron’s decision to pull the report even surprised his Liberal Democratic coalition partners. They reportedly agreed to its publication on Friday.
The Muslim Brotherhood hopes to use the report as political cover in its fight against the Egyptian government’s crackdown against it.
“If the British government claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist organization, the crackdown on MB members in Egypt could be eased,” MB lawyer Mohammed al-Damatti told the Cairo Post.