The Muslim Brotherhood vies for influence in the UK and the EU

Islamic radicalism has gained new grounds of late, calling to its ideology new hearts and minds – more often than not within the youth, playing disenfranchisement and identity politics to indoctrinate new demographics, and thus consolidate its thinkers’ bases not only in the UK, but across the EU. Centre-staged to this movement sits the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that remains deliberately opaque, and habitually secretive.

The institutional complex structure of the Muslim Brotherhood makes it particularly difficult for government to legislate over, never mind counteract at a grassroot level, especially since it acts as an umbrella for various iterations of the radical Islamic thought.

A transnational network, with links in the UK, and national organisations in and outside the Islamic world, the group over the decades, and even more so over the past few years has undergone dramatic structural and ideological changes, with various factions within the movement competing for control.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia (Islamic Law). To this day the Muslim Brotherhood characterises Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral – a narrative that has fed calls for violence and gave credence to the notion that Muslim in the West must exist in negation of and rejection of Western society.

Historically the Muslim Brotherhood has entertained a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. For example, Individuals closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK have supported suicide bombing and other attacks in Israel by Hamas, an organisation whose military wing has been proscribed in the UK since 2001 as a terrorist organisation, and which describes itself as the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Moreover, Muslim Brotherhood-associated and influenced groups in the UK have at times had a significant influence on national organisations which have claimed to represent Muslim communities (and on that basis have had a dialogue with government), charities and some mosques. But they have also sometimes characterised the UK as fundamentally hostile to Muslim faith and identity; and expressed support for terrorist attacks conducted by Hamas.

Recent efforts by both Turkey and Qatar to side-lined elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have largely translated in the movement’s efforts to establish new bases in the UK, and the EU – playing cultural division and claims of Islamophobia to better rally communities to their views.

The violence witnessed recently in Leicester against the Hindu community very much attest to that.

Moreover, efforts by organisations closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood have been accused this week of undermining the UK’s efforts to counter radicalism. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) — which was created circa 1963 by the man who also founded the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq, is organising lectures at universities across the country, calling for an abolition of the Prevent policy program, thus undermining Britain’s commitment to freedom of religion and multi-culturalism.

Such a push for influence in the UK warrants our close attention.


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