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Britain orders probe into Muslim Brotherhood

The British prime minister asks intelligence to assess activities in Britain by the group outlawed in Egypt

AFP , Tuesday 1 Apr 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron (Photo: Reuters).
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British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood over concerns that the group is planning radical activities in Britain, his Downing Street office revealed Tuesday.

Number Ten confirmed a report in The Times newspaper that said he had asked intelligence agencies to gather information on the "philosophy and activities" of the Brotherhood and its potential threat to the UK.

The government acted following reports that Brotherhood leaders had met in London last year to decide their response to the Egypt crisis, triggered when one of its leading members, Mohamed Morsi, was unseated as president, according to The Times.

The group has since been blamed by Cairo for orchestrating a campaign of violence.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The prime minister has commissioned an internal government review into the philosophy and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government's policy towards the organisation."

The review is being led by Britain's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins.

The Guardian newspaper reported the review would examine whether the group was connected to the killing of tourists in Egypt's Sinai in February.

Intelligence services MI5 and MI6 will investigate the group's activists inside and outside of Britain, The Times said.

It remains too early to judge whether Britain will follow in the footsteps of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who have both designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. According to The Guardian, British officials say the move is "possible but unlikely."

The Guardian also quoted a Downing Street spokesperson as saying that "given the concerns about the group and its alleged links to violent extremism, it's absolutely right and prudent that we get a better handle of what the Brotherhood stands for, how they intend to achieve their aims and what that means for Britain."

Since Morsi's ouster from power, Egyptian security has conducted a crackdown on the Brotherhood and its supporters but has also faced a continuing spate of armed attacks by militant groups.

The Brotherhood has consistently denied any connections to the attacks, many of which were claimed by a group called Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda affiliate.

In one of the trials against him, Morsi – a Brotherhood member – is accused of speaking with Al-Qaeda leader Ayman El-Zawahiri during his term as president.

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