UK flays Muslim Brotherhood, defends Western policy

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Updated 08 December 2017
0

UK flays Muslim Brotherhood, defends Western policy

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson singled out the Muslim Brotherhood and its associates for criticism on Thursday in a speech calling for a renewed Western diplomatic push in the Middle East to tackle extremism.
Speaking to diplomats and experts at the Foreign Office in London, Johnson called for better engagement with Muslim populations worldwide and argued that blaming Western intervention for the rise of extremism played into the jihadi narrative.
He said the West needed to collectively re-insert itself in the process toward peace in Syria and called for the US to bring fresh impetus to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Johnson said the Muslim Brotherhood — a global radical organization which started in Egypt in 1928 — was one of the most politically savvy operators in the Muslim world, but he also criticized its conduct in the Middle East and Britain.
“It is plainly wrong that Islamists should exploit freedoms here in the UK — freedoms of speech and association — that their associates would repress overseas and it is all too clear that some affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood are willing to turn a blind eye to terrorism,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was designated as a terrorist organization in that country in 2013.
A 2015 British government review into the organization concluded that membership of or links to it should be considered a possible indicator of extremism but stopped short of recommending that it should be banned.
Johnson admitted there had been policy missteps in Iraq and Syria interventions, but said that did not justify a diplomatic retreat from the region.
“British foreign policy is not the problem, it is part of the solution,” he said, calling for a renewed role in Syria, more work to halt conflict in Yemen and progress in bringing factions together in Libya. “We need more engagement, not less,” he said.


Strawberry sabotage akin to ‘terrorism’: Australia PM

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 10, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 September 2018
0

Strawberry sabotage akin to ‘terrorism’: Australia PM

  • The scare has prompted a slew of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries

SYDNEY: The tainting of supermarket strawberries with sewing needles is comparable to “terrorism,” Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday, as he demanded tougher sentencing in response to a nationwide scare.
Urging Australians to make a strawberry pavlova this weekend to help struggling farmers, Scott Morrison demanded a change in the law to put the perpetrators behind bars for 15 years.
“We’re not mucking about” said Morrison, after at least 20 pieces of fruit were found to be contaminated with needles or pins. “This is not on, this is just not on in this country,” he said.
Calling the perpetrator a “coward and a grub,” Morrison called on parliament to quickly raise the maximum sentence for such deliberate food contamination from ten to 15 years behind bars.
That, he said, would put the crime on par with “things like possessing child pornography and financing terrorism. That’s how seriously I take this.”
The scare has prompted a slew of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries.
Farmers have been forced to pulp fruit and layoff pickers because of slower sales and lower wholesale prices.
“Just go back to buying strawberries like you used to, and take the precautions that you should,” Morrison told Australians in a televised address.
“Make a pav this weekend and put strawberries on it,” he suggested.
Authorities have suggested strawberries be cut up before they are eaten.
Australian police on Tuesday said they still did not know the motive behind the attacks and were still looking for suspects.
They have asked the public for help with their investigation and are expected later Wednesday to increase a reward for information that helps resolve the case.