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 10:58 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT