Skip to main content

British Prime Minister orders investigation of Muslim Brotherhood

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Elaine Ly, CNN
updated 2:36 PM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo on January 24, 2014.
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo on January 24, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British PM David Cameron has commissioned a government review of the group
  • The review is to look at the movement's effect on British interests
  • Egypt has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
  • The Egyptian army ousted President Mohamed Morsy, of the Brotherhood, last year

London (CNN) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood over concerns about its alleged links to violent extremism, his Downing Street office said Tuesday.

Cameron has commissioned an internal government review of the "philosophy, activities and impact" on British national interests at home and abroad and the UK's policy toward the movement.

"The Muslim Brotherhood has risen in prominence in recent years but our understanding of the organization -- its philosophy and values -- has not kept pace with this," a Downing Street spokesman said in a written statement.

"Given the concerns now being expressed 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."

Amanpour slams Egypt/apartheid analogy
Unrest in Egypt
Deadly violence previews key Egypt vote

The review will be led by Britain's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins.

The Brotherhood has long had a presence in London, but there have been reports that a significant number of prominent members have fled to the British capital from Egypt.

On its official English Twitter account, the Muslim Brotherhood said it "welcomes any investigations by the British government into its UK activities, past & present, which are all within the law."

Egypt crackdown

Cairo's military-installed government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. Saudi Arabia has followed suit.

The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and, despite years of repression, remains the largest Islamist movement in the Middle East. It returned to prominence during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

There has been a crackdown on the movement, and ensuing political turmoil, since the army ousted Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's first democratically elected president, in July.

Egyptian authorities have blamed the Brotherhood for a campaign of violence since.

The group insists it remains an entirely peaceful organization, but is accused of being behind a wave of deadly attacks on the police and military. A separate militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which the United States has designated a terrorist group, has been blamed for attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. It claimed responsibility in January for four blasts that killed at least six people in and around Cairo.

Morsy and many other senior figures are imprisoned, facing charges that could lead to the death penalty.

Mass trials of his supporters, which have already resulted in an unprecedented number of death sentences, have drawn widespread criticism from international human rights groups.

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

528 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death in Egypt

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
updated 7:32 PM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT