The new President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) is an individual who is likely the head of two other organizations in the U.K. tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood. An Eid (Islamic festival) greeting issued this week by the MAB identifies Alamin Belhaj as the new MAB president. A U.K academic report on North African immigrants and their links to terrorist organizations identifies Dr Alamin Belhaj as the leader of the Libyan Islamic Group in the UK and the Head of the Tunisian Islamic Front. The U.S. State Department has identified the Libyan Islamic Group as the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The origins and nature of the Tunisian Islamic Front (TIF) are unclear. One U.K media report says that the TIF was established in 1986 by Mohamed Ali Harrath who was identified in an earlier post as the CEO of Islam Channel, a U.K. media company which frequently promotes the works of individuals associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Harrath is wanted by Interpol on charges of terrorism in Tunisia. According to the U.K. report, Mr Harrath was said to have originally joined the Islamic Tendency Movement, now called Ennahdha, in the 1980s but in 1986 created the Tunisian Islamic Front, which he describes as “a non-violent political party founded . . . to oppose the one-party state in Tunisia and to seek change through peaceful means”. However, a 1998 analysis reported that the TIF was created by Rachid Al-Ghannoushi (now in exile in Great Britain), and the founder of Ennahdha ((aka Ennahda, Al Nahda). That report claimed that Mr. Al-Ghannoushi “demanded a change in the movement’s platform and its embrace of democracy” but when rebuffed set up the TIF as a rival. A previous post notes that Mr. Al-Ghannoushi has been called a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad by an Egyptian news report and is tied to several global Muslim Brotherhood organizations. Other reports link the TIF to violent activity. In 1995, the U.S. State Department reported:
Tunisian authorities maintained effective control of the internal security situation and, in particular, closely followed the activities of the Tunisian Islamic Front, which claimed responsibility for the murders of four policemen and has warned all foreigners to leave Tunisia.
A U.S. Defense Department memo calls the Tunisian Islamic Front the “armed wing” of the En-Nahda.
The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) had for many years been the most active organization in the U.K Muslim Brotherhood. Many of the leaders of the MAB left in 2007 to form a new organization known as the British Muslim Initiative (BMI). According to sources in the U.K, the breakup appeared to be the result of a conflict between traditionalists in the MAB who were unhappy with the high level of involvement in U.K left-wing politics while those who who formed the BMI wished such activity to continue. Prior to the split, the MAB often joined in coalitions with far-left U.K groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and the Respect Party. The MAB is still part of the European Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group known as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) as well as the U.K. umbrella group the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), also dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. After a period in which the MAB appeared to be moribund and only active in Scotland, the web site was reactivated in February 2008 and announced one month later that Ahmed Al-Rawi had been chosen as the new MAB President. Al-Rawi himself had been the long-time president of FIOE and was replaced sometime following the assassination of his brother in Iraq.
The Center for Social Cohesion has reported that the new MAB President was featured in a one day course feature sponsored in 2008 by the Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF), also part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood:
In January 2008, the SIF held another one-day course on ‘Self-Leadership’. A flyer advertising the event read”this event aims to lay out a practical strategy for successful and happy lives. It will show how Muslims canbe rooted in their faith, and at the same time, active and empowered citizens.” The course was given byAlamin Belhaj who is described only as having “a post-graduate diploma in management who has lecturedwidely on topics such as self-leadership, strategic planning and self-development.” In fact, Belhaj is the leader of the Libyan Islamic Group, the Libyan wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.