LONDON (RNS) If England bans the Muslim Brotherhood it will leave itself wide open to terrorist attacks, warned one of the group’s senior leaders, Ibrahim Mounir.
His warning on Saturday (April 5) came a few days after Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an urgent investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood amid growing fears that the organization is planning extremist activities in England.
Mounir, 77, said that a ban would damage England’s reputation in the Muslim world and make people think peaceful Muslim Brotherhood values don’t work.
He said that when England gave its support to the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 it had been widely interpreted by Muslim communities around the world as being at war against Islam.
Subsequently, 52 people were killed and 700 injured in a London bomb attacks on July 7, 2005; 191 people and 1,800 were injured after explosions in Madrid on March 11, 2004.
The British review will be conducted by MI5, the domestic intelligence agency. The aim is to find out how many senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are based in England.
A court in Cairo last month sentenced to death 529 Muslim Brotherhood members and banned it as a terrorist organization.
In an interview Monday, Maha Azzam, an expert in Egyptian politics at the Chatham House think tank in London, said England was mistaken if it believed the Muslim Brotherhood was a security threat.
She said the Muslim Brotherhood had a commitment to nonviolence and warned that England risked alienating peaceful pro-democratic Brotherhood supporters if it implied the Brotherhood had tendencies towards violent extremism. She described its members as “peaceful religious men and women who condemn violence.”