Prime Minister David Cameron.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The head of the British branch of the Muslim Brotherhood warned on Sunday that Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement last week that his government would investigate the group’s activities in the United Kingdom could invite terrorist attacks against civilians.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Ibrahim Mounir, the Brotherhood’s most senior official in the UK, said that the government’s designation of his organization as a terrorist entity could be interpreted by its followers that violence was an option.
“If this [ban] happened, this would make a lot of people in Muslim communities think that [peaceful] Muslim Brotherhood values . . . didn’t work and now they are designated a terrorist group, which would make the doors open for all options,” Mounir told the newspaper.
When he was asked if he meant the group was open to violence, he replied: “Any possibility.”
“This would make more problems than we ever expect, not just for Britain, for all Islamic organizations round the world holding peaceful ideologies. If the UK makes this option, you can’t predict [what would happen] with Muslims around the globe, especially the big Muslim organizations close to the Muslim Brotherhood and sharing its ideology.”
Earlier this week, the Muslim Brotherhood urged Britain not to bow to foreign pressure in conducting a review of the group over concerns about possible links to violence.
In a statement, the movement said that it would "openly engage" with the review ordered by Cameron but it would challenge in the British courts "any improper attempt to restrict its activity.”
The Brotherhood, a movement whose affiliated groups have deep roots in many Arab and Islamic states, said it was concerned that Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Jenkins, would be leading the review, the statement issued late on Wednesday said.
Saudi Arabia, a commercial ally of Britain and staunch foe of the Brotherhood, designated the group a terrorist organization last month following a similar move by Egypt in December.
"It is important that the British government does not bend to pressure from foreign governments who are concerned about their own people's quest for democracy," the statement released by the Brotherhood's press office in London said.