UK Report on Muslim Brotherhood Shows 2014 BBC Article Was Misleading, Erroneous
On December 17, the UK government published the main findings of an internal review of Muslim Brotherhood activity, which was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron also made a written statement to Parliament on the topic.
The findings were the subject of a report titled “UK will not ban Muslim Brotherhood, says David Cameron,” which appeared on the BBC News website’s UK page.
Another article relating to the same topic and published in October 2014 still appears on the same webpage, under the headline, “Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Cleared of UK terrorism link’.” The opening paragraph of that report tells readers that:
A review of the Muslim Brotherhood’s UK activity has cleared it of links to terrorism, its lawyers have said. [emphasis added]
Later analysis by the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner includes the following:
Whitehall insiders have been saying privately that – while there are concerns about some individual members – nothing has emerged to link the Brotherhood as an institution to any acts of terrorism. [emphasis added]
That article was published long before the review’s findings were made public, and, as can be seen below, those findings now call the accuracy of the above statements into question, both in terms of material and ideological support.
In his statement to Parliament, Mr. Cameron noted that:
Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism.
Individuals closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK have supported suicide bombing and other attacks in Israel by Hamas, an organisation whose military wing has been proscribed in the UK since 2001 as a terrorist organisation, and which describes itself as the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The published main findings state that:
The Hamas founding charter claims they are the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood treat them as such. In the past ten years support for Hamas (including in particular funding) has been an important priority for the MB in Egypt and the MB international network.
…the Muslim Brotherhood at all levels have repeatedly defended Hamas attacks against Israel, including the use of suicide bombers and the killing of civilians. The Muslim Brotherhood facilitate funding for Hamas. The leadership of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, its Jordanian counterpart and Hamas are closely connected. There are wider links with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates throughout the region. Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood routinely use virulent, anti-Semitic language…
They have deliberately, wittingly and openly incubated and sustained an organisation – Hamas – whose military wing has been proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation (and which has been proscribed in its entirety by other countries).
The report goes on to state:
Many Brotherhood groups have raised funds in the UK. A complex network of charities associated with the Muslim Brotherhood has developed here over many years. Whilst some of these seem to be raising funds only for the Brotherhood in the UK others have been linked to Hamas. In 2003 the UK charity Interpal was designated as a terrorist entity by the US Treasury, primarily on the grounds of alleged links to Hamas. Interpal has been investigated three times by the Charity Commission in the UK. In 2006 the Charity Commission found that Interpal was a member of the Union of Good, a wider group of charities believed to have Hamas links and that in 2003 an Interpal partner was designated as a terrorist entity under UK law. The Charity Commission took regulatory action against Interpal in 2009. Though never publicly acknowledged by the Muslim Brotherhood charities in the UK are an important part of the Hamas and Brotherhood infrastructure in this country. […]
The Muslim Brotherhood has not been linked to terrorist related activity in and against the UK. […] However, in common with the Muslim Brotherhood elsewhere, Muslim Brotherhood-related organisations and individuals in the UK have openly supported the activities of Hamas. People associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK have applauded suicide bombing by Hamas, in some cases against civilians. Hamas terrorist activities have not been publicly disowned or condemned.
Among the report’s conclusions is the following:
…aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security.
The statements from the October 2014 article highlighted above obviously do not present BBC audiences with an accurate picture of the Muslim Brotherhood’s approach to and relationship with Hamas terrorism, according to the findings of the government review. The BBC’s editorial guidelines on the subject of online content management state:
News pages and any content that advertises its topicality, or where users might reasonably expect it to be topical, must be kept up to date. Content that appears to be topical but is, in fact, clearly out of date may undermine the BBC’s reputation for high editorial standards. This includes databases of material gathered over time.
Clearly, then, this article requires appropriate amendment in order for it to be accurate and up to date.