London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The British government will release the findings of an official investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood and its activities in the UK soon, a British government source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood’s operations in the UK in April 2014, tasking British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir John Jenkins to draw up an in-depth report into the Brotherhood’s “philosophy and values and alleged connections with extremism and violence.”
Speaking at a press conference during which he announced the government inquiry, Cameron said: “We want to challenge the extremist narrative that some Islamist organizations have put out. What I think is important about the Muslim Brotherhood is that we understand what this organisation is, what it stands for, what its beliefs are in terms of the path of extremism and violent extremism, what its connections are with other groups, what its presence is here in the United Kingdom.”
However, more than eight months later the findings of the investigation have yet to be released, though British sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that it will be published in early 2015.
Sources from within the Muslim Brotherhood, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that the British government was seeking to delay announcing the results of the investigation as long as possible amid Gulf and Arab pressure to outlaw the Brotherhood.
“[The British government] is trying to hold the stick from the middle,” the source said, using an Egyptian expression meaning to take the middle ground between two opposing positions.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in September 2013, with a number of Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, following suit in 2014.
The report on the Muslim Brotherhood will not advise banning the group, but will acknowledge that the Brotherhood has ties to some extremist groups in the Middle East and will call for more stringent restrictions to be placed on its affiliates, including charity organizations, British sources close to the investigation informed Asharq Al-Awsat.
The British government could seek to impose some restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood activities and members in the UK, in addition to blocking the entry of foreign Muslim Brotherhood figures, the British sources added.
Commenting on claims that the UK report into the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities will be published soon, British Foreign Office spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We don’t have anything new.”
However, Mohamed Ghanem, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood living in Britain, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the investigation will exonerate the group of all accusations that it is involved with violence.
He said that the Muslim Brotherhood has received assurances from the British government that the report will not implicate the group, adding that the UK only took this step in reaction to Gulf pressure.
Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, warned that “restrictions will be placed on the sheikhs and imams in terms of their appearances in the media and granting them visas to come to Britain for the purposes of participating in conferences, as previously happened with Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.”
This has already begun under the amendments to the new anti-terror laws, he said.