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Muslim Brotherhood dismisses alleged U.K. restrictions

A senior leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said Monday that the group “does not violate any laws in the U.K.” following reports that the U.K. government was planning to impose restrictions on the Islamist movement.

“Muslim Brotherhood members living in the U.K. do not engage in any illegal activities that the government would want to restrict,” Mohamed Soudan, leading member of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Brotherhood’s political arm, told Anadolu Agency by phone from London.

Soudan’s statement came in response to a report earlier Monday by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph that quoted well-placed sources as saying that the U.K. planned to “impose curbs on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations and block activists moving to London.”

The move, according to the newspaper, is based on a report by British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir John Jenkins, who was assigned earlier this year by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to lead a probe into the Brotherhood’s activities in Britain after Egypt and Saudi Arabia labeled it a “terrorist organization.”

Jenkin’s report concluded that “some of the movement’s activity amounts to complicity with armed groups and extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere,” a source close to the report purportedly told the telegraph.

The paper also quoted a British diplomat as saying that the government had no plans to ban the group in the U.K but that “there are other things that can be done.”

Soudan, for his part, cited Egyptian-Gulf pressure on the British government as a reason for the report’s recommendation.

“The British government recently commissioned a Brotherhood-owned foundation to supervise a mosque, which means they trust the group,” he said.

“What we felt during meetings with British officials was that there was no intent on considering the Brotherhood a terrorist group,” he added.

According to the Telegraph, Brotherhood-funded charities could face government restrictions based on Jenkins’ report, which included an inquiry into the group’s alleged funding of foreign terrorist groups through three British-based charities.

Soudan emphatically denied the allegation, saying British officials “are looking for any excuse to restrict the group amid pressure by Egypt and the Gulf.”

“The Brotherhood does not support terrorist groups in any way,” he asserted.

Last month, British daily the Financial Times reported that a delay in the publication of Jenkin’s report, first commissioned by Cameron in late March, had been due to government fears over Arab allies’ displeasure after the report stopped short of recommending a “terrorist” label for the Brotherhood.

Egypt’s military-backed government and its Gulf allies – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – all designated the Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization” over the past year.

The moves followed last summer’s ouster of Mohamed Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected leader and a Brotherhood leader – by the military.

Egypt’s government, which has launched a sustained crackdown on the group since Morsi’s ouster, accuses the Brotherhood of sponsoring deadly attacks on security personnel in Egypt over the past year – claims the group emphatically denies.

 

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