A report recently issued by a U.K university praising police cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood was co-authored by the wife of the Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The University of Birmingham report, titled “Police-Muslim Engagement and Partnerships for the Purposes of Counter-Terrorism: An Examination”, concluded that “religion could play a positive role in counter terrorism”:
Contrary to traditional policing and academic perspectives, the research has highlighted the importance of religious knowledge for counter terrorism, not only in understanding communities within which extremists may operate, but also in motivating the work of police and community members who wish to prevent violence. Dr Salwa el-Awa, who co-led the investigation, said the study showed that religion could play a positive role in counter terrorism. The team found strong evidence that an effective counter message to Al-Qaeda’s propoaganda must offer a convincing and reliable alternative for religious people to turn to, and that the knowledge and expertise of religious community leaders was essential.
The report suggested that groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood would be appropriate in bringing such “religious knowledge” to bear on terrorism and included the following statements:
- Certain Muslim groups are particularly demonized, including those labeled as „Salafi? and „Islamist?, and used to illustrate the inherent threat from „fundamentalist? Muslims
- The MCU?s [Muslim Contact Unit] ability to engage with „radical? and marginalized groups such as Salafis and Islamists allows for counter-terrorism work that many other policing and security units are unable to achieve. This approach has also facilitated counter-terrorism work by communities themselves, opening another important avenue in the prevention of violence that has otherwise been closed down.
- This study has documented direct examples of „success? in terms of partnership work helping to counter terrorism – reclaiming a mosque from an infamous cleric?s hard-core extremist supporters, launching community based counter-violent extremism initiatives in London, supporting Muslim minorities – especially Salafis and Islamists – against widespread stigmatisation as terrorist ‘fellow travellers’ or ‘suspect communities’,
The reference to”reclaiming a mosque” likely refers to the decision by the U.K. government to turn over the notorious Finsbury mosque to individuals associated with the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) an important part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood. According to the University, the report was funded by U.K public research councils and the research findings were disseminated at a Parliamentary seminar that included MPs and Parliamentarians, police representatives from as well as think tanks, community and religious groups and academic experts.
Co-author of the study was Dr Salwa el-Awa, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham and wife of Dr. Muhammad Salim al-`Awwa, the Sec. Gen. of the IUMS and co-founder of the MB offshoot al-Wasat Party. Dr Salwa is also the daughter of Hassan el-Ashmawi, a former Brotherhood leader. The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Qaradawi is perhaps the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood and the IUMS board of directors is comprised of many leaders of the global Brotherhood. According to the MEMRI research institute, Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Awa is a member of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue and is a founder of Egypt’s Islamic “Al-Wasat” party. He frequently appears on Egyptian television and on Al-Jazeera TV and his articles are published by many Arab papers. The same MEMRI analysis discusses Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Awa’s harsh attitudes towards the Egyptian Copts and an earlier post discussed a lecture by by him in which he argued that no action against Israeli citizens should be called terrorism and that condemning such actions is “one of the tricks of the enemy.”