The Muslim Brotherhood has always been a center of attraction for terrorist leaders like the Caliph of ISIS or the current leader of Al Qaeda. Notwithstanding, Islamic terrorism is only a sideshow in the Muslim Brotherhood’s record. Primarily, the organization in focused on Islamizing nations and thereby gets much support by Western governments.
However, at the moment, the Muslim Brotherhood is quite unpopular in Egypt and polls show that 61 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the organization as well. Despite these figures, US-President Obama is still a great supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its front groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) thus have open access to the media and dominate the debate about Islam. The Muslim Students Association (MSA) dominates American campuses although it has a history of terror ties. Furthermore, groups with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were allowed to dismantle the counterterrorism training in the USA and have a strong influence on foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the British government published a report that contradicts the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood is peaceful and a viable partner in the fight against terrorism. Instead, the Brotherhood is considered as a group that is prepared to engage in violence and aims at the Islamization of all countries. The Brotherhood is not moderate and actually pursues similar goals like ISIS but with a long term strategy. In the UK, the government did not decide to ban the Brotherhood but Prime Minister Cameron said that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be regarded as a possible indicator of extremism and that some aspects of its activities are not in line with values of democracy.
While the UK is thinking critically about the international influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the USA any criticism is considered as Islamophobia.
The Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Islamic organisation, is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what a government report, commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron, has revealed recently. The study was conducted by a group of senior civil servants, including Sir John Jenkins, the former UK’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The review of the Muslim Brotherhood refrained from calling the group a “terrorist organisation”, but says that it was founded on the premise that secularisation and westernisation were the cause of all recent problems of Arab and Muslim societies.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and aims at the political unification of all Muslims in a Caliphate under Sharia law. Despite suspicion that the Brotherhood has links to extremism the Prime Minister has refused to ban it. The Muslim Council of Britain is an umbrella organisation for more than 500 Islamic organisations and according to the report it has established close links with individuals who are Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Those people were even politically active in conflict zones such as Palestine and Iraq. In 2009, the government cut its ties with the Muslim Council of Britain because it signed a public document which appeared to endorse violence against any country that supports the arms blockade of the Gaza Strip. Now, that the Muslim community is actually under increased pressure to counter Islamic extremism, the review even found that Brotherhood groups have been raising funds in the UK. Some of the funds have allegedly been linked to the terrorist group Hamas.
Notwithstanding the Muslim Council of Britain states on its website that it has no affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other foreign organisation. The group even claims that, contrary to what the report says, it resumed relations with the government in 2009. Furthermore the Muslim Council of Britain considers those who question the group’s legitimacy as fanatics.
Former FBI counter-terrorism Special Agent John Guandolo says that the majority of over 2,200 Islamic institutions in the USA belong to a broader Jihad network that aims at imposing Sharia law. Perpetrators of acts of terrorism like the San Bernadino terrorists, the Chattanooga shooter, the Boston bombers or the UC Merced stabber can all be traced back to Islamic centers where they were not only supported but also trained. Many of those centers are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood or to Al-Qaeda. Guandolo even reported that over 75 % of the Islamic institutions are part of the Muslim Brotherhood network because they are owned by the North American Islamic Trust, the Brotherhood’s bank in the USA. Furthermore, he mentioned that the leaders of Islamic organizations have been interfacing with government leaders and have been active in advising the government on matters related to the “war on terror”. According to him, many Muslim leaders are working with the Pentagon, the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security. Guandolo said he realized that the enemy itself advised the USA on how to investigate and deal with the enemy. He further emphasized that it is a big mistake to try to tie Islamic terrorism to ISIS or other terrorist groups because they are all part of a broader movement and this network is not being touched. Guandolo pointed out that many senior government officials have no idea what is going on inside the USA because they are advised by leaders of organizations that are identified as part of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas or Al-Qaeda-network. Obviously those organizations are hostile to the Western system and way of life.
Tim Farron, the Christian leader of the Liberal Democrats, requested that the delayed report into the Muslim Brotherhood shall be published before the Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament support a vote for a British military intervention in Syria.
The controversial report was launched by David Cameron in April 2014 due to political pressure from Saudi Arabia that has banned the Brotherhood since it considers the group as a terrorist organisation. Notwithstanding the review is expected to say that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist group. Thus the release of the report could be an embarrassment for the British government’s diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and a setback to its economic interests in the region. Since Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are allies and partners for lucrative arms trade deals they expect Great Britain to act against the Brotherhood.
The Liberal Democrats further demand to put more pressure on Gulf States to stop the funding of other jihadi groups in the Middle East as well as worldwide. Additionally, they shall engage more in the fight against ISIL, help to establish peace in Syria and be cooperative in the refugee crisis.