LONDON: The UK should proscribe the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization or risk escalating terrorist activities from the group, an expert has argued.
At an online event attended by Arab News and hosted by UAE-based think tank Trends Research and Advisory, Dr. Jassim Mohamad, head of the European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, also said Europe may have become the Brotherhood’s most important area of operations as much of the group’s financing comes from its network there.
The Brotherhood is “the main source of extremist ideology used by terrorists and terror groups,” he said.
“Many Al-Qaeda leaders, such as (Ayman) Zawahiri, originated in the Muslim Brotherhood. The history of the Brotherhood is filled with violence, terrorism and political assassinations,” Mohamad added.
“I believe that right now Europe — and particularly Britain — need to take a strong policy to counter terrorism and political Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, or risk further attacks similar to what we saw recently in France.”
He said the Brotherhood “now consider Europe their most important region, maybe even more so than the Middle East,” because “they finance their network all around the world from Europe.”
They “know the law, and know how to go around the law. They act within the law but abuse it,” he added.
For these reasons, “the UK should follow in the Arab world’s footsteps and proscribe the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and shut down their schools and mosques, which they use to radicalize European Muslims.”
The British government has faced a recent backlash for its lack of a strategy to counter the Brotherhood.
Last month, Home Officer Minister James Brockenshire revealed that there “there has not been formal inter-ministerial engagement on the Muslim Brotherhood.”
MPs from the governing Conservative Party have urged the government to ban organizations such as the Brotherhood that use Britain as a base to raise funds and radicalize Muslims through community-based organizations and institutions. “I think we have been far too soft for far too long,” Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said.
Following the controversy, a Home Office spokesperson said: “The government is taking action to stop the spread of extreme ideologies that glorify terrorism, promote hatred and division and threaten our communities, and will use all the tools available to us. The activities of those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK are kept under review.”
The Brotherhood is designated a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Russia and Syria.
But it receives significant financial and logistical support from Qatar and Turkey, and has ties to various political parties in North Africa.