London, Asharq Al-Awsat—British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an official investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, with the government saying it has received evidence linking the group’s members in London with attacks carried out in Egypt.
Cameron’s office said on Tuesday that “the prime minister has commissioned an internal government review into the philosophy and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government’s policy towards the organization.”
A Cameron spokesperson told the Times of London that the British government’s “understanding of the [Muslim Brotherhood] . . . its philosophy and values, has not kept pace” with the group’s rise in prominence in recent years.
“Given the concerns about the group and its alleged links to violent extremism, it’s absolutely right and prudent that we get a better handle of what the Brotherhood stands for, how they intend to achieve their aims, and what that means for Britain,” the source said.
According to the Times, Cameron has ordered the investigation in response to evidence the government has obtained showing that members of the group in the UK were using offices in London to plan attacks in Egypt following the heavy-handed treatment of the group by Egypt’s military-backed interim government.
The information received by the UK government alleges that UK-based members of the group may have planned an attack on a bus in Sinai in February that killed three South Korean tourists and one Egyptian. The Sinai-based militant jihadist group Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after, saying it was part of an “economic war” it was waging against the interim government. The government has long maintained the group and others like it are funded by the Brotherhood.
The government in Egypt has cracked down heavily on the group since the ousting of former president and high-ranking Brotherhood member Mohamed Mursi, arresting a number of prominent members including Mursi and the group’s supreme guide and blaming the Brotherhood for a series of bombings and shootings targeting security buildings and personnel.
Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December. The group, however, says it is committed to peaceful methods, and has denied accusations it is involved in any terrorist activities
Muslim Brotherhood dissidents struggling against regimes such as those of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have long had a presence in the UK, and also the United States.
However, the British government is now concerned about the group’s activities following the crackdown in Egypt and an exodus of members from the country.
Britain’s overseas intelligence service MI6 will be investigating whether or not the Brotherhood had any involvement in the Sinai attack. Domestic intelligence and security agency MI5 will be looking into members’ activities and numbers in the UK following the ouster in July.
The investigation will be led by Sir John Jenkins, the UK’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which followed Egypt in declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization last month.
Officials speaking to the Times, however, said it was unlikely the UK would also be adding the group to its own list of terror organizations.