UK flays Muslim Brotherhood, defends Western policy

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


Outrage in France after teen threatens teacher with fake gun

Updated 21 October 2018
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Outrage in France after teen threatens teacher with fake gun

  • The incident, which was filmed and uploaded onto social media by one of the teen’s classmates, took place Thursday at a high school
  • In the video the 15-year-old can be seen standing over the seated teacher, brandishing a weapon that turned out to be an air gun

PARIS: French politicians on Sunday reacted with outrage to a video of a teenager in a tough Paris suburb threatening his teacher with a fake gun.
The incident, which was filmed and uploaded onto social media by one of the teen’s classmates, took place Thursday at a high school in the southeastern suburb of Creteil.
In the video the 15-year-old can be seen standing over the seated teacher, brandishing a weapon that turned out to be an air gun.
“You’ve marked me absent. Mark me as present,” he shouts as another student tries to plead his case with the teacher, who appears more weary than panicked and continues working on her laptop while exchanging a few inaudible remarks with the class.
On Friday she filed a police complaint over the incident, which was condemned by President Emmanuel Macron and members of his cabinet as well as the right-wing opposition.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a joint statement Sunday they would convene a top-level meeting next week to discuss ways to end violence in schools in low-income city suburbs.
“School is the cradle of the Republic and it is where we learn to respect the Republic,” Castaner said during a visit to a police station in eastern Paris, vowing to “recapture the Republic square meter by square meter” from lawless elements.
The suspected gun bearer, who presented himself to police on Friday accompanied by his father, was to be brought before an investigating magistrate on Sunday to face charges of aggravated violence.
Le Parisien newspaper reported that he admitted to pointing the imitation gun at the teacher, but said it was meant “as a joke” and that he was not aware he was being filmed.
The paper said he was angry that the teacher marked him down as absent when he had been merely late for class.
Another teenager suspected of bringing the fake weapon to school was also questioned by police but released without charge.
Macron on Saturday warned in a tweet that threatening a teacher was “unacceptable” and said he had ordered his ministers to take “all necessary measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.
France has so far been spared the kind of gun violence that has plagued schools in the United States and parts of northern Europe.