UK report whitewashes Muslim Brotherhood: Egypt parliament

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 15 Nov 2016

The Egyptian parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee accused the UK House of Commons of doing everything possible to polish the image of the Muslim Brotherhood 'terrorist group'

The speaker of Egypt
The speaker of Egypt's parliament Ali Abdel-Aal (Reuters)

The Egyptian parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee criticised at a Monday meeting a report issued earlier this month by the UK House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee on the outlawed-Muslim Brotherhood, saying it went out of its way to exonerate the group of the charge of terrorism.

"The report contains some nonsense jargon about political Islam and it did its best to whitewash the image of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group," said the committee's chairman Ahmed Said.

Said told reporters that the Egyptian parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee will react to its UK counterpart by issuing a detailed and lengthy report about the terrorist nature of the Brotherhood.

"Our report will be different from the UK's counterproductive political theories on this terrorist group, and it will come with hundreds of documents showing that the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother of all radical and militant Islamist movements," said Said, adding that this report should be ready in one week.

Said told reporters that "what is so ironic about this flawed UK report is that it describes the Muslim Brotherhood's [now-oulawed] Freedom and Justice Party as a democratic party."

The UK House of Commons' foreign affairs committee released its report on 3 November commenting on the findings and conclusions of December 2015 review by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The 2015 FCO report had concluded that the group has long maintained a dubious position vis-à-vis the use of violence and terrorism to achieve political change.

The UK parliament committee said that the FCO review “undermined confidence in the impartiality of the FCO’s work” due to the “misguided appointment” of Sir John Jenkins, the UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to head the review effort.

The Muslim Brotherhood, banned in Egypt and officially considered a terrorist group since late 2013, has been also designated a terrorist organisation in Saudi Arabia, one of Egypt's main allies following the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The UK parliament committee said in its report that it was “rather more than unfortunate that the main findings [of the FOC review] neglected to mention the most significant event in the Brotherhood and Egypt’s modern political history: its removal from power in Egypt in 2013, the year after being democratically elected, and through a military intervention.”

The committee added that the review did not include an examination of events as a means of understanding the nature of the group following their removal from power, “including the killing in August 2013 of large numbers of protesters [in Cairo] who sympathised with the Brotherhood, and the continuing repression of the group in Egypt and elsewhere as a glaring omission.”

Egyptian MP and professor of Islamic Law and History Amina Nosseir said at the Monday meeting in Cairo that "the UK House of Commons report on the Muslim Brotherhood is so disgusting, provocative and rife with a horrible number of lies."

"I wonder why some in the West insist on polishing the image of political Islam and militant Islamist organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood," said Nosseir.

"I also wonder why some in the West insist on giving cover to radical Islamist movements to infiltrate Western societies under the false pretence that these movements are moderate."

"When Europe became fertile ground for exporting terrorists and extremists to Syria and Libya, instead of blaming their flawed reports they take the easy route of putting the blame on Arab dictators."

Emad Gad, a political analyst with Al-Ahram Press Organisation and an MP affiliated with the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said at the meeting that "the UK House of Commons report on the Muslim Brotherhood shows that British politicians still insist on making their country the world's greatest hub for Islamist terrorists and extremists."

"I recommend that the best response to these disgusting reports is that we produce a [comprehensive] report… about the terrorist nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist movements," said Gad.

"The British were here in Egypt for 70 years, and they were the first in the West to have contact with radical Islamist movements and they were also the first to ask Egyptian governments before 1952 to impose a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood."

"So what has happened to make the new generation of British politicians view political Islamist movements as moderate?" asked Gad, adding that UK reports whitewashing radical Islamist movements pave the way for creating fertile ground for recruiting a greater number of extremists in the West.

MP Dalia Youssef described the chair of the UK House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt as a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented man.

"Blunt was here in Egypt in 2013 and he decided to join the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa El-Adaweya in Cairo," Youssef said.

"Blunt stayed in Rabaa for four days, eating and drinking and living the Muslim Brotherhood experience without shame and without reviewing their radical speeches delivered throughout the day," said Youssef.

"By issuing such a false report, I think some in the West want to exert pressure on Egypt to allow the Muslim Brotherhood to be integrated into political life again," said Youssef. 

Youssef, a member of the Egyptian-British Parliamentary Association, said the report proposed that Islamist politicians who identify themselves as democratic should be allowed to participate freely in democratic processes.

"This is nonsense theoretical jargon that shows that UK politicians lack any sense of responsibility, especially after the political upheavals in the Middle East in the last five years clearly demonstrated that political Islamist movements lack any kind of democratic sense and that all have their own secret armed militias in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq," said Youssef.

Youssef said an Egyptian parliamentary delegation aims to visit London very soon to open talks on political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We aim to know from which sources do UK politicians receive their information about political Islam," said Youssef.

The Cairo meeting also discussed the results of the US presidential election and the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

MP and security analyst Hamid Bekheit said that "UK politicians and MPs should learn a lesson from the results of these elections, which showed that a major reason why Hillary Clinton lost the election was because she and the Obama administration have supported terrorist in the Middle East organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood while portraying them as moderate and peaceful."

"[US President Barack] Obama and Clinton, like naive UK politicians, also allege that political Islam movements are moderate and that they should be allowed to play politics in their country, with this devastating theory resulting in civil wars in the Middle East and the Arab world."

The secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Hussein, currently in exile in Turkey, heaped praise on the UK report, saying on the Brotherhood's official website that it has corrected the report by the US foreign desk last December on Muslim Brotherhood.

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