A week after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s terror ties, leaders of the Islamist group warned that banning the organization would have dire repercussions for the UK.
The leader of the Brotherhood in the United Kingdom, Ibrahim Mounir, said a ban on the Islamist organization would alienate moderate Muslims, open the door for radicalization and incite Muslims against the United Kingdom, The Sunday Times reported.
A ban would “make a lot of people in Muslim communities think that Muslim Brotherhood values . . . didn’t work and now they are designated a terrorist group, which would make the doors open for all options” – including violence, Mounir warned in his first statement since Cameron announced the probe.
The group has already been declared a terrorist organization in Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Mounir, 77, stressed the Brotherhood held a “peaceful” ideology, and that banning it would create “problems” for similar peaceful Muslim organizations around the world.
“If the UK makes this option, you can’t predict [what would happen] with Muslims around the globe, especially the big Muslim organizations close to the Muslim Brotherhood and sharing its ideology,” he said.
He also said such a move could turn Muslims against Britain, as it could be interpreted as “a war against Islam,” just like the UK’s involvement in the war in Iraq.
Accusing Cameron of yielding to pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which recently banned the group along with a host of other countries, he said Britain’s first priority should be to “gain back its profile in the Middle East,” not to make its relations with the region even “more complicated.”
Reuters reported Sunday that an official statement by the Muslim Brotherhood’s London office said the movement would “openly engage” with the investigation ordered by Cameron, but would challenge in court “any improper attempt to restrict its activity.”
It noted with concern that British ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins, who might be influenced by Riyadh’s decision to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, would be leading the investigation.
“It is important that the British government does not bend to pressure from foreign governments who are concerned about their own people’s quest for democracy,” the statement read.
“It is hard to see how Sir John Jenkins will be able to conduct an independent internal review of the Muslim Brotherhood and carry his brief as Ambassador to a non-democratic regime that is openly in political opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood,” the group said.