UK review clears Muslim Brotherhood of terrorist links: solicitor
The Brotherhood's lawyers say leaks to the media aim to reverse the findings of Whitehall's investigation
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood during a July rally in Cairo to mark the anniversary of the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi (AFP)
Wednesday 3 December 2014 15:15 GMT
Despite recent media reports claiming that Downing Street plans to crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, lawyers representing the group say a review into the organisation's activities has cleared them of terrorist links.
Sources close the Whitehall's investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood, launched in April, told ITN Solicitors that there is "no evidence of links between the Muslim Brotherhood and acts of terrorism," according to a statement from the law firm released on Thursday.
However, on Sunday, The Telegraph reported that the UK government
planned to initiate an "Al Capone method of law-enforcement" after the review revealed a complex web of 60 organisations in the UK with links to Muslim Brotherhood.
"Given the concerns now being expressed about the group and its alleged links to extremism and violence," a Cabinet Office source told The Telegraph, "it's absolutely right and prudent that we have a more thorough understanding of the group and its impact on both our national security and on our interest in stability and prosperity in the Middle East."
The report in The Telegraph, published with several related pieces under the newspaper's newly launched Stop the Funding of Terror campaign, cited former M16 Chief Sir Richard Dearlove as an advisor to the review as well as academic Lorenzo Vidino as someone who had "worked on the Cabinet Office report".
“It is clear that the Brotherhood has many dark spots, ranging from its ambiguous relationship with violence to its questionable impact on social cohesion in Britain,” Vidino was quoted in the piece as saying.
But neither Dearlove, nor Vidino have worked on the review as the report claimed, according to ITN Solicitors. Vidino told MEE this week
that he has not read the review and said The Telegraph
incorrectly portrayed his role in the investigation.
“There is a legitimate concern that despite the findings of the review,” ITN Solicitors said in its statement, “that the goalposts are changing.”
It is unclear when the review will be published, but it was widely reported to have been completed in July. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood have offered to meet with UK Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss its findings, according to ITN.
It was in April that UK Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the investigation into whether an attack on tourists in Egypt was organised by the Brotherhood in Britain. Cameron came under a hail of criticism when it was revealed that he had appointed Sir John Jenkins, the UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to head the review.
In justifying the reason for the inquiry, Home Office ministers said it was about the government “forming its own view”.
Downing Street was at pains to deny that Britain had come under the influence of Riyadh, with whom it has lucrative defence contracts. The kingdom has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and has placed the organisation in pole position on its threat list, above al-Qaeda.
In August, the Financial Times (FT) reported that the review concluded that “the group should not be labelled a terrorist organisation and in fact […] found little evidence its members are involved in terrorist activities.” The FT report went on to say the review’s release had been delayed because of its conclusions and their diplomatic implications.
“Sir John will say that the Brotherhood is not a terrorist organisation. The Saudis and Emiratis will then be very upset with us,” a source told the FT.
The Telegraph report, however, contradicted the FT, describing their analysis as “politically motivated speculations”.
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